Making sense of international faith-based disaster relief volunteer experiences: Barriers and contributors to successful operations




international disaster relief volunteers, phenomenology, barriers, contributors, communication, sensemaking theory


This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of five deployed international disaster relief volunteers from a faith-based group in Thailand. This study explored what participants perceived as contributors and barriers to their successful operations and how they made sense of their roles in the disaster recovery process. Organizational and cross-cultural barriers were identified. Through the lens of sense-making theory, four additional themes emerged: participants’ first assignment, the motto of being part of the solution, their firm belief in the organization’s values and practices, and their perception of necessity. Implications for faith-based organizations and directions for future studies are provided.

Author Biography

Piyawan Charoensap-Kelly, PhD

Assistant Professor, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Division, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas


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How to Cite

Charoensap-Kelly, PhD, P. “Making Sense of International Faith-Based Disaster Relief Volunteer Experiences: Barriers and Contributors to Successful Operations”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 19, no. 4, July 2021, pp. 339-54, doi:10.5055/jem.0559.