SEI Publication

Author(s): Barquet, K., F. Thomalla, M. Boyland and M. Osbeck

Year: 2016

In: SEI Working Paper No. 2016-10

Type: Working paper



Link to SEI authors:

Using learning to harness social and organizational culture for disaster risk reduction

This paper, an output of the project EDUCEN: European Disasters in Urban Centres, provides an overview of learning in the context of disaster risk reduction (DRR).

It explores when and how learning takes place within and across organizations and people, introduces prominent concepts, approaches and methods for learning, and links existing literature on learning in DRR with EDUCEN’s work with learning across cultures.

Key factors that may foster learning within DRR include highly engaged and committed organizers; a technically skilled, competent and engaging mediator or facilitator; a high level of commitment of the leaders; establishment and maintenance of the legitimacy and openness of the project; and continuous feedback.

Key barriers to learning that are relevant for EDUCEN include unclear status and aims of an initiative; failure to include all stakeholders; lack of clarity about the involvement and role of stakeholders (e.g. form and timing); lack of stakeholders’ belief that their inputs would make a difference; and differences in the scale of the project and the scale of interest of the stakeholders.

Many of the principles of learning derived from the literature are well aligned with the hypotheses of the EDUCEN project itself: that there is a need to better integrate different communities of science, practice and policy, and between different sectors, and efforts need to focus more strongly on the needs and priorities of people at risk. Moreover, lessons from on-the-ground learning need to better inform decision-making by translating (tacit) knowledge into policy and practice.

Download the paper (PDF, 2.27MB)

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