Perspectives from nongovernmental organizations on education and training needs for community disaster recovery


  • Michelle Annette Meyer, PhD
  • J. Carlee Purdum, MA
  • Kyle Breen, BA
  • John K. Aggrey, MPhil
  • Danequa Forrest, BA
  • Cristian Nunez, BA
  • Walter Gillis Peacock, PhD



recovery, nongovernmental organizations, education, training, disaster, resilience


Objective: Individuals leading nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) often lack adequate training to best serve their communities’ needs during disaster recovery even as they are often tasked with filling in gaps left by governmental and private resources. Thus, it is essential that education and training initiatives address NGO efforts specifically. This paper identifies training and education needs as proffered by organizational representatives that have themselves been involved in long-term recovery efforts following disasters in the past 10 years across Texas.

Design, Setting, and Subjects: Qualitative interviews with nearly 100 local NGO representatives, government officials, and regional and state-level NGO representatives were conducted using purposive and snowball sampling. The participants conducted recovery activities in six different locations in Texas since 2008.

Results: Many respondents noted that they had little experience in disaster recovery and a lack of understanding of what recovery involved. Interviewees identified needs for training including how to coordinate recovery tasks among multiple organizations and agencies (eg, who to involve, what skillsets are needed, what group structure should be formed), how to distribute financial and nonfinancial resources (eg, how to prioritize needs, how to distribute funds, who should receive funding), and how to manage media and external organizational attention.

Conclusion: This paper provides recommendations for augmenting existing NGO training and educational activities and developing new training schemes offering practical advice from recovery leaders who have been on the frontline of recent disasters.

Author Biographies

Michelle Annette Meyer, PhD

Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

J. Carlee Purdum, MA

Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Kyle Breen, BA

Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

John K. Aggrey, MPhil

Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Danequa Forrest, BA

Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Cristian Nunez, BA

Sociology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Walter Gillis Peacock, PhD

Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas


Kreps GA, Bosworth SL: Organizational adaptation to disaster. In: Rodriguez H, Quarantelli EL, Dynes R, editors. The handbook of disaster research. New York: Springer; 2007. p. 297-315.

Dynes RR: Organized behavior in disaster. Lexington, MA: Health Lexington Books, 1974.

Brouillette JR, Quarantelli EL: Types of patterned variation in bureaucratic adaptations to organizational stress. Sociological Inquiry. 1971; 41(1): 39-46.

Stallings RA, Quarantelli EL: Emergent citizen groups and emergency management. Public Admin Rev. 1985; 45: 93-100.

Anita Chandra JDA: The role of nongovernmental organizations in long-term human recovery after disaster. Virginia: The RAND Corporation, 2009.

Robinson SE, Murphy H: Frontiers for the study of nonprofit organizations in disasters. Risk Hazards Crisis Public Policy. 2013; 4(2): 128-134.

Hull P, Bowan S, Buttress T, et al.: Heralding unheard voices: The role of faith-based organizations and nongovernmental organizations during disasters. DHS HSI Publication# RP006-44-01. 2006.

FEMA: A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2011.

Gibbons DE: Maximizing the impact of disaster response by nonprofit organizations and volunteers. In: Gibbons DE, editor. Communicable Crises: Prevention, Response, and Recovery in the Global Arena. US: Information Age Publishing Inc., 2007. p. 203-240.

Ranghieri F, Ishiwatari M: Learning from Mega disasters. Lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake. Washington DC: The World Bank, 2014.

Telford J, Arnold M, Harth A: Learning lessons from disaster recovery: The case of Honduras: World Bank, Hazard Management Unit, 2004.

De Vita CJ: After Katrina: Shared Challenges for Rebuilding Communities. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2007.

Salvesen MTN, David: Disaster recovery among multiethnic immigrants: A case study of Southeast Asians in Bayou La Batre (AL) After Hurricane Katrina. J Am Plan Assoc. 2014; 80(4): 385-396.

FEMA: Emergency Support Functions Annexes Washington, DC: FEMA; 2008. Available at Accessed May 1, 2017.

DHS: National Disaster Recovery Framework. Washington, DC: Department of Homeland Security, 2016.

Drabek TE: Managing the Emergency Response. Public Admin Rev. 1985; 45: 85-92.

Quarantelli EL: Ten criteria for evaluating the management of community disasters. Disasters. 1997; 21(1): 39-56.

Waugh WL, Streib G: Collaboration and leadership for effective emergency management. Public Admin Rev. 2006; 66: 131-140.

Drabek TE, McEntire DA: Emergent phenomena and multiorganizational coordination in disasters: Lessons from the research literature. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 2002; 20(2): 197-224.

FEMA: FEMA Emergency Management Institute Training Courses Washington, DC: FEMA, 2017. Available at Accessed September 23, 2017.

TDPS: Texas Emergency Management Preparedness Website Course Catalogue Austin, TX: Texas Department of Public Safety, 2017. Available at Accessed October 1, 2017.

Taylor K, Priest S, Sisco HF: Reading Hurricane Katrina: Information sources and decision-making in response to a natural disaster. Social Epistemol. 2009; 23(3-4): 361-380.

Blanke SJ, McGrady E: From hot ashes to a cool recovery: Reducing risk by acting on business continuity and disaster recovery lessons learned. Home Health Care Manag Pract. 2012; 24(2): 73-80.

Robinson MK: Disaster recovery planning for nonprofits. US: Hamilton Books, 2003.

Smith GP, Wenger D: Sustainable disaster recovery: Operationalizing an existing agenda. In: Rodríguez HD, Quarantelli EL, Dynes RR, editors. Handbook of Disaster Research. New York: Springer, 2007. p. 234-257.

Haas JE, Kates RW, Bowden MJ: Reconstruction following disaster. Reconstruction following disaster: US The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1977.

Stys JJ. Non-profit involvement in disaster response and recovery. Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources at the University of North Carolina School of Law, 2011. Available at

FEMA: Voluntary Agency Liason Washington, DC: FEMA, 2012. Available at Accessed May 14, 2017.

FEMA: Disaster Declarations by State/Tribal Government Washington, DC: FEMA, 2017. Available at Accessed September 28, 2017.

NVOAD: Long Term Recovery Guide. National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, 2012.

Biernacki P, Waldorf D: Snowball Sampling: Problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Sociol Methods Res. 1981; 10(2): 141-163.

Weiss RS: Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies: Simon and Schuster; 1995.

Saldaña J: The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Los Angeles: Sage, 2009.

Van Zandt S, Peacock WG, Henry DW, et al.: Mapping social vulnerability to enhance housing and neighborhood resilience. Housing Policy Debate. 2012; 22(1): 29-55.

Olshansky RB, Hopkins LD, Johnson LA: Disaster and recovery: Processes compressed in time. Natural Hazards Rev. 2012; 13(3): 173-178.

Meyer MA: Social capital and collective efficacy for disaster resilience: Connecting individuals with communities and vulnerability with resilience in hurricane-prone communities in Florida: Colorado State University, 2013.

Drabek TE: Predicting disaster response effectiveness. Int J Mass Emerg Disasters. 2005; 23(1): 49-72.

Aldrich DP: Building resilience: Social capital in post-disaster recovery. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.

Aldrich DP, Meyer MA: Social Capital and Community Resilience. American Behavioral Scientist. 2015; 59(2): 254-269.

Kapucu N, Arslan T, Demiroz F: Collaborative emergency management and national emergency management network. Disaster Prev Manag: Int J. 2010; 19(4): 452-468.

Chandrasekhar D, Zhang Y, Xiao Y: Nontraditional participation in disaster recovery planning: Cases from China, India, and the United States. J Am Plan Assoc. 2014; 80(4): 373-384.

Simo G, Bies AL: The role of nonprofits in disaster response: An expanded model of cross-sector collaboration. Public Admin Rev. 2007; 67(s1): 125-142.

Koliba CJ, Mills RM, Zia A: Accountability in governance networks: An assessment of public, private, and nonprofit emergency management practices following Hurricane Katrina. Public Admin Rev. 2011; 71(2): 210-220.



How to Cite

Meyer, PhD, M. A., J. C. Purdum, MA, K. Breen, BA, J. K. Aggrey, MPhil, D. Forrest, BA, C. Nunez, BA, and W. G. Peacock, PhD. “Perspectives from Nongovernmental Organizations on Education and Training Needs for Community Disaster Recovery”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 17, no. 3, May 2019, pp. 225-38, doi:10.5055/jem.2019.0422.