A study of the effectiveness of international non-governmental organisation capacity building activities for the Lao government at national, sub- national and local levels to be prepared to handle natural disasters in Laos

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Chanhthamaly, Lalongkone
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Social Practice
Unitec Institute of Technology
Rennie, Gavin
Elliott, Susan
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes (Lao PDR)
Save the Children International
Bolikhamxay Province (Lao PDR)
International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs)
rural communities
building reconstruction
post-disaster reconstruction
Chanhthamaly, L. (2015). A study of the effectiveness of international non-governmental organisation capacity building activities for the Lao government at national, sub- national and local levels to be prepared to handle natural disasters in Laos. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Social Practice, Unitec Institute of Technology.
Overcoming the effects of natural disasters and disasters created by human being has caused huge struggles in development in our society. In developing countries, where resources are limited, those unexpected events have had a tremendous effect on the countries’ economy. However, with cooperation among governments and international development organizations, Disaster Risk Reduction Programmes have been implemented in many developing countries in order to lessen the impact and risks of those disastrous events. Consequently, thousands of peoples’ lives have been saved by the capacity building activities of these development organizations. This qualitative study examines the effectiveness and important elements of conducting and implementing disaster risk reduction training by Save the Children International in Bolikhamxay Province, Laos. Laos is a developing country and is categorized to be among the fourteen Least Developed Countries in Asia. There are many development issues facing Laos today. Therefore, Laos has long been eligible for loans and grants from many international organizations and these are expected to continue to increase in the future to support the National Poverty Alleviation Programme of the country. Two qualitative data collection methods, namely interviews and documents review were employed in order to gain important information for this study. The research participants are the project’s stakeholders, such as project’s beneficiaries (government officers) and disaster risk reduction practitioners. In this research project, twelve individuals were interviewed, including eight government officials, two Save the Children staff members, and two other NGOs staff members (Child Fund and Oxfam—one each). In addition, the project documents, such as project proposal, needs assessment and baseline survey reports were also studied. The research findings reveal that the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programmes of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) are vitally important to the Disaster Risk Reduction Programme of local government in Laos. The capacity building activities of Save the Children Disaster Risk Reduction (SCI DRR) programme had brought about new DRR knowledge to both government officials and people at remote communities, in a such way that people learned about the disaster risks in their communities, and how to protect themselves. Moreover, the findings also show that the participants are satisfied with the training methodologies of the INGOs. However, although the SCI DRR Programme’s target groups provided lots of benefits to the local government and rural communities, there were some constraints associated with the training methods that emerged, such as language barriers, lack of interaction in presentation, and no appreciation regarding the usefulness of games. Also, poor transportation conditions during the rainy season, and changes in government and community participant in the INGOs’ activities were additional factors reducing the effectiveness of the activities. To address the issues, some recommendations are provided by the research participants, such as using vocabularies from local languages which match with the DRR technical words to handle the problem of language barriers, and shortening the presentation and adding more learning by means of activities such as group discussions and drills or simulation activities in order to increase participation and to help trainees to understand the lessons better.
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