Practical aspects of capacity development in the context of disaster risk reduction

Magnus Hagelsteen, Joanne Burke
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Year of publication: 

Capacity development for disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been identified as one of the main ways of substantially reducing disaster losses. In previous research, several elements have been identified that are important in capacity development for DRR. For this study, documentation from nine international capacity development projects for DRR has been analysed. The projects were undertaken by a Swedish civil governmental agency, during the period 2007–2013. The documentation analysis was complemented with seven interviews with the organisation's project managers. The purpose was to understand to what extent the previously identified elements are reflected and dealt with in DRR projects conducted by the organisation. The analysis further sought to understand whether any developments can be observed during the period studied, and if additional challenges or opportunities were identified by the professionals running these projects.

The findings show a complex and progressive picture regarding the organisation's familiarity with and use of the elements from 2010 and onwards. The elements are noted to be useful in guiding the design and implementation of capacity development projects for DRR. Positive developments can also be noted on the part of the organisation e.g. a more structured way of working with capacity development and conducting capacity assessments. The organisation, however, faced challenges translating its capacity development guidance into a practical tool. Other noted challenges included staff turnover, project management limitations and funding restrictions.