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Understanding and measuring scalability in disaster risk reduction

Hannah Vaughan-Lee (IRMA, LLC, Tucson, Arizona, USA)
Lezlie Caro Moriniere (IRMA, LLC, Tucson, Arizona, USA)
Isabelle Bremaud (IRMA, LLC, Tucson, Arizona, USA)
Marilise Turnbull (IRMA, LLC, Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 28 June 2018

Issue publication date: 12 July 2018




Despite increased attention to, and investment in, scaling up of disaster risk reduction (DRR), there has been little detailed discussion of scalability. The purpose of this paper is to respond to this critical gap by proposing a definition of scaling up for DRR, what effective scaling up entails, and how to measure and plan for scalability.


A literature review of debates, case studies and good practices in DRR and parallel sectors (i.e. education, health and the wider development field) unveiled and enabled the weighting of key concepts that inform scalability. The mixed methods research then developed, validated and employed a scalability assessment framework to examine 20 DRR and five non-DRR initiatives for which a minimum set of evidence was accessible.


Support from national, regional and/or local authorities strongly influenced the scalability of all initiatives assessed. Currently, insufficient to support effective scaling up, monitoring and evaluation were also found to be critical to both identify potential for and measure scalability.


The paper ends with a scalability assessment and planning tool to measure and monitor the scalability potential of DRR initiatives, highlighting areas for corrective action that can improve the quality and effectiveness of DRR interventions.



This paper is based on research commissioned by Save the Children International and funded by the C&A Foundation. The authors would like to thank Save the Children for their support with this research and the Research Assistants, Vani Xaxa, Research Associate and Syeda Abida Farheen who provided assistance during the field visit workshops in India and Bangladesh, respectively.


Vaughan-Lee, H., Moriniere, L.C., Bremaud, I. and Turnbull, M. (2018), "Understanding and measuring scalability in disaster risk reduction", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 407-420.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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