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