The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects carried out by a Korean NGO in Ayeyarwaddy, Myanmar. The paper discusses project effectiveness, community participation and sustainability in disaster preparedness as well as the “build back better” concept.
The findings are drawn from a mixed methods approach consisting of focus groups, interviews of key stakeholders and a cross-sectional community household survey comparing project and neighbouring villages.
Project villages were better prepared in terms of increased awareness and participation in DRR activities. However, the qualitative data showed a low level of participation, facilitating limited changes and leaving the element of sustainability in question. Most activities were responsive rather than preventive.
The study faced unavoidable constraints. The author was invited to assess the project only after implementation, precluding a controlled trial. With time at the site limited, an alternative systematic post hoc evaluation strategies were not feasible. The triangulation of data manages these methodological challenges to the extent possible. Still, that the positive findings on preparedness and capacity changes derive from self-assessment should be kept in mind.
Where appropriate, DRR projects should include measurable evaluation tools from the project design stage. DRR as a goal in of itself is not adequate to transform the region. Instead, DRR projects should consider “development-centred disaster resilience” as the ultimate goal to aim toward.
There have been virtually no assessments of regional DRR project effectiveness in Myanmar. The study applies the Sendai Framework as an analytical framework to assess community-based DRR, which could also be applied to other contexts.
The author thanks everyone who has participated in this research, including villagers and school teachers. Special thanks go to the staff of both Korean and local NGOs concerned and field project managers for sharing their sincere experiences and honest opinions. This research was commissioned and coordinated by Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC) with a fund from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). The author thanks Mr Jihong Song and Ms Junyoung Park at KCOC Humanitarian Partnership Team. The author indebted to many good-will people and competent local assistants on the journey. Many of my students have also contributed in one or another way: among them, Peter, Mingu, Juwon deserve special appreciation for their assistance despite a short and tight schedule. This research was conducted during my sabbatical (2018) and is also supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) research fund. The author also thanks two anonymous reviewers who provided encouraging and valuable comments that helped to improve this paper.
The opinions and conclusions from the findings are solely of the author’s and the author is responsible for the contents, which have no conflict of interests with the sponsors. The research has been conducted in an ethical manner and received ethical approval by HUFS ethical committee (HIRB-201810-HR-001).
Yang, Y. (2020), "Gaps in post-disaster community changes in “building back better” in Ayeyarwaddy, Myanmar", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-08-2019-0262Download as .RIS
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