A Competency-based Post-disaster Reconstruction Process: Findings from Sri Lanka

By Jason Kyle von Meding, Lukumon Oyedele, David Cleland, Riona McGrath and John Bruen.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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As natural disasters continue to escalate in frequency and magnitude, NGOs are faced with numerous barriers as they attempt to implement post-disaster reconstruction (PDR) projects. In many cases, a lack of competency in key areas leads to a reduction in overall project success. This paper utilizes the competency-based framework of von Meding et al. (2010) as the starting point of its inquiry. In this context, a leading NGO responsible for the implementation of reconstruction and rehabilitation in Sri Lanka following the Asian Tsunami has been investigated in depth using a causal mapping interview procedure with key project staff. The combined barriers within this organization’s PDR operations have been identified and measured and solutions articulated. The study found that within this organization key objectives were to achieve the ‘build back better’ mantra and to effectively plan interventions in advance. The primary barriers to successful reconstruction were identified as the high turnover rate of humanitarian staff and a poor level of communication and co-operation between agencies. An essential strategy employed to combat these barriers is the consideration of staff capabilities, which links us back to competence-based theory. The results are highly valuable in the context of an ongoing wider research study on competence within humanitarian organizations.

Keywords: Disaster Management, Framework Model, Post-disaster Reconstruction, NGOs, Competency

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.51-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.345MB).

Jason Kyle von Meding

Lecturer, School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Antrim, UK

Jason Von Meding is currently a lecturer in Construction Management at Queen’s University Belfast. Having been involved in teaching and tutoring at tertiary level for over 5 years, he delivers a broad base of taught content while furthering his extensive research endeavours in a range of areas including Disaster Management, Strategic Management and Organisational Behaviour. He is widely published in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and is part of a progressive research team at QUB in construction management. Close links established with international NGOs during his period of doctoral research have enabled Jason to develop an academic presence in the field of Disaster Management and a particular specialty in the area of Post-Disaster Reconstruction.

Lukumon Oyedele

Lecturer, School of Planning, Architecture & Civil Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Antrim, UK

David Cleland

Head of School, School of Planning, Architecture & Civil Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Antrim, UK