Disaster risk reduction in Liberia
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United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) has created a concept for reducing disaster risks, strengthening capacities of vulnerable societies and bringing those into a transformation of sustainable development. The purpose of this thesis has been to take a closer look at this concept, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and how it is implemented and practiced in humanitarian operations in Liberia. Furthermore, the research will show if, and how, local capacities and especially women are involved and promoted in the organizations’ projects and activities. The majority of the empirical data is collected through fieldwork in Liberia in April 2012. The theoretical foundation for this thesis describes the normative way of how humanitarian organizations should support local capacities in their disaster risk reduction programs. Furthermore, this thesis presents theoretical approaches about how organizational characteristics can contribute to a failure to achieve the program objectives, and several factors hampering the optimal way of supporting capacities. One of the main findings in this study is that the understanding of Disaster Risk Reduction is very varied, as is the organization’s perception about how their activities are reducing risks. These organizations need to seek one unified understanding to do as much good as possible in a cohesive manner. Another finding is that the organizations mostly focus on the local communities’ vulnerabilities, and fail to recognize the capacities and existing structures. Women’s involvement is limited to being beneficiaries, and they are rarely taking part in decision making in the organizations’ projects. This study points at several challenges regarding disaster risk reduction activities and the promoting and utilizing of the local capacities, especially the women.
Master's thesis in Risk management and societal safety