Disaster Health Management Role of NGOs in Disasters

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					Disaster Health Management:

Role of NGOs in Disasters
Dr Peter A. Leggat
MD, PhD, DrPH, FAFPHM, FACTM, FACRRM Associate Professor and Deputy Director Anton Breinl Centre for Public Health and Tropical Medicine James Cook University Townsville, Australia

About the author

Dr Peter Leggat is co-ordinator of the postgraduate course in disaster and refugee health at James Cook University in Australia. He has also served on the World Safety Organization (WSO) Board of Directors from 1989-1999 and from 2003-Present. He was Director General of the WSO from 19971999. He is currently assisting with their terrorism and counter-disaster initiative. Dr Leggat undertook his studies in disaster health as part of his postgraduate studies in aeromedical evacuation at the University of Otago, New Zealand

In this session, we will
 Revisit the

potpourri of NGOs definitions and acronyms  Examine some of the core values of NGOs and how NGOs operate  Gain some insight into new directions in accountability of NGOs  Examine the civil-military relationship  Appreciate how NGOs may fit into the disaster health management equation

What are non-governmental organisations (NGOs)?
In the current context:  A civic or public advocacy organisation, which generates, transfers, or administers humanitarian and other aid (development / relief)  Generally, NGO's are organised as nonprofit corporations (charities)  Can be local or international (INGOs)  May work with or independent of government  Generally, do not include professional associations, businesses, and foundations

Examples of NGOs involved in disaster & humanitarian crisis response
 Care  MSF  Oxfam
 Red

Cross (not ICRC)  Save the Children  St John Ambulance  World Vision

Who are the other players in disaster health management?
 Government

• National • State/Provincial • Local
 United  Donors
 Hybrid

organisations with own defined status

• International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Related Acronyms
CBO: Community-Based Organization  CSO: Civil Society Organisation  DONGO: Donor-Organised Non-Governmental Organisation  GONGO: Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organisation  IO: International Organisation  NGDO: Non-Governmental Development Organisation  PDO: Private Development Organisation  PSO: Public Service Organisation  PVO: Private Voluntary Organisation  QUANGO: QUasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation  VO: Voluntary Organisation

Every NGO is different and is governed largely by their own individual charter

How do they operate?
 NGOs

vary greatly  Organizational structure is similar to businesses
• Usually non-rigid hierarchy; significant flexibility and authority at the field level
 International

NGOs often team up with local NGOs or have regional or local branches

Core values
 Neutrality

• Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint
 Impartiality

• Aid is given regardless of race, creed, or nationality • Aid is based on need alone
 Independence

• Aid agencies shall not act as instruments of government foreign policy

Core values
 Core

values may impact on NGO’s willingness to work with other agencies
• Even perception of value violation will be avoided

What do they do?
 Operational verses

Advocacy  Grassroots, long-term projects, development work  Willing to work in high risk areas; not constrained by sovereignty  In theory, emphasis on sustainability  Full integration with local population  Good positioning for disaster response

What do they do well?
 Usually

have excellent advocacy or lobbying capacity  Can fill gaps-specialised skills/capacity  Usually mobilise quickly  Often well connected at local level

What don’t they do well?
 Can

duplicate services  Turf wars can erupt  May step outside their areas of specialty  Often overcommit/overextend capacities  May not be so good at sustainability

The extent to which an NGO can contribute to any disaster relief operation is often dictated by context

What is the context?
is the situation?  How robust or resilient is the community?  Who is there? What is  Are there plans in their capacity? place?  Are their tensions  Are the roles clarified? between players?  What voice does the  How well are they NGO have? Are they recognised there? recognised by other  What frameworks are in place on the ground? NGOs?  How are they funded?
 What

Who pays them?
 Funding


• Private Donations (citizens, businesses and foundations) • International Organizations (UN) • National Governments
 Perceptions

are important

• Importance of public relations and the Media

Where international assistance required in disasters
also rely on NGOs, because of their access to the populations in need • And again, their access is dependent on their neutrality • NGOs, as implementing partners of donor organisations, are the legs on which disaster response stands
 Donors

 How

do we know that NGOs are doing the right thing?
monitors NGOs?

 Who

Who monitors NGOs?
Little External Monitoring  Self-Regulation: NGO Standards

• Red Cross Code of Conduct • InterAction PVO Standards • Sphere Minimum Standards in Disaster Response

Sphere Project
www.sphereproject.org  Launched in 1997  Humanitarian NGOs and related organizations, including Red Cross and Red Crescent movements  Three elements

• Handbook • Collaboration • Expression of commitment to quality and accountability

Sphere Project
 www.sphereproject.org  Includes

• Humanitarian Charter • Minimum standards in disaster response
 One

example of a standard to aspire to/be measured against

NGO Culture
 Independent:

need to cooperate  Decentralised authority  On-the-job training (changing however)  Often develop a range of field guidelines, e.g. MSF, Red Cross  Hopefully develop long-term perspective

How do NGOs coordinate?
team  Other Government Agencies  UN Coordination Entities [UNHCR, WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, OCHA, Special Humanitarian Coordinator]  NGO-Only Coordination Bodies/Fieldlevel coordination meetings  Host Government Ministries / Authorities  Civil-Military Cooperation or Operation Centres
 Australian Embassy


Host Countries Religion



Zone of Collaboration/Coordination

Civil-military cooperation
 Most

disasters and humanitarian emergencies do NOT involve the military
• The need for civil-military cooperation may be the exception rather than the rule

 However

the logistic support provided by larger NGOs or the military in support of smaller NGOs can be invaluable

Civil-Military Co-operation Services typically requested by NGOs
 Security Services  Landmine

Locations  Security Briefings  Convoy Support  Guidance on Local Security  Technical Assistance  Access to Remote Areas, Ports, and Airfields

How effective are NGOs?
 What

have they chosen to do?  What is their mandate  Do they add value?  What will the other players allow them to do?  How do you measure these? Are they accountable?

The capacity of an NGO to contribute to disaster response depends on their own ability to
their role within the broad context of disaster health management,  Effectively communicate that role (are other players aware?), and  Ensure that they add value
 Define

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