The potential role of nonprofit organisations in building community resilience to disasters in the context of Victoria, Australia

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Building community resilience to disasters is promoted by governments and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction as a means of enabling communities to cope with and recover from disasters. This study was an applied research project, which aimed to explore how the actions of Australian nonprofit organisations (NPOs) contributed to building community resilience to disasters. To do this, resilience theory in the disaster setting, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and social capital theory were used to build a study framework for ‘what matters most’ when building community resilience to disasters. This framework was then applied to stakeholder noted NPO actions and strengths, to identify and critique how these organisations were perceived by stakeholders to build community resilience before, during and after disasters. This study enhances the evidence base of the role of NPOs in the disaster setting. Actions of the NPOs studied provide valued support to impacted communities and demonstrate how these organisations can enable communities to respond more effectively before, during and after disasters. Actions of the NPOs studied included: running fire and risk awareness workshops, coordinating Food Banks, establishing other community support organisations such as Men's Sheds, funding vaccinations, operating community barbeques, establishing and running tool libraries, and enabling speedy access to local assets. Strengths of the NPOs were identified by representatives of the organisations themselves and by emergency management personal. Unanimously, NPOs were recognised for their: community connections, access to vulnerable people, local knowledge, motivated volunteer base, and their creative, flexible solutions to tricky problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102530
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Disaster resilience
  • Social capital
  • Nonprofit organisations
  • Actions
  • Strengths
  • Not-for-profit organisations

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