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Collaboration on new disaster prevention, readiness, response and recovery guide

28 May 2024   /   News & reports
TaskForce Kiwi in action in Hawke's Bay February 2023. Photo supplied by Eastern & Central Community Trust

A new guide released by Philanthropy New Zealand | Tōpūtanga Tuku Aroha o Aotearoa aims to help the philanthropic and grantmaking sector to front foot support for communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

Foundation North contributed funding towards the research phase, and was involved in the reference group that steered this work.

Philanthropy New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rahul Watson Govindan said that while the sector already helps communities significantly in the aftermath of an event and to rebuild after a disaster strikes, the new Prevention, Readiness, Response and Recovery from Disasters guide helps them to consider ways to reduce community vulnerability to disaster and respond more effectively and rapidly if the worst happens.

“Disaster events in Aotearoa, like the devastating flooding in Auckland and the Hawke’s Bay last year, have highlighted the value in funders from any sector investing in prevention and recovery planning sooner rather than later to help further reduce the negative impacts on communities,” Watson Govindan said.

“We have drawn on the learning of funders, like Eastern & Central Community Trust, who have experienced disaster events first hand, along with other organisations and leaders who have worked closely with impacted communities.”

Philanthropy New Zealand collaborated on the updated guide, which builds on a 2019 version, with Massey University’s Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR) with funding from Auckland Council, Auckland Emergency Management, Foundation North, Eastern & Central Community Trust (on behalf of the Hawke’s Bay Funders Forum), Trust Waikato, Clare Foundation and Rotorua Trust.

Aside from Philanthropy New Zealand’s own data on disaster philanthropy, research for the guide undertaken by JCDR included a range of interviews with funders, Iwi/Māori, and community organisations.

The guide also highlights the need for funders to always have a long-term focus with funding decisions, to support initiatives that strengthen a community’s resilience to natural disasters and to build strong relationships locally and within wider funding networks that can enable collaboration in times of need.

“Any efforts the philanthropic and grantmaking sector puts into building strong relationships in communities and strategising with other funders and partners on a good day will help to deliver under pressure when a bad day comes, it’s important that funders don’t wait for a disaster to happen to start these relationships.”

Educating donors and the public about the longer-term impact of disasters on communities, rather than just the immediate needs, along with funders needing to keep money aside for disaster response and recovery is also important.

“Past disasters in Aotearoa showed that the public wants donations to be spent on disaster relief as quickly as possible. However, the negative impacts felt by communities and their post-disaster needs can last for months and years.”

Watson Govindan said that alongside providing members in philanthropic and grantmaking sector with tools and information to support their work, Philanthropy New Zealand wants to recognise the amazing mahi that members are already doing to help communities across the country.

“Philanthropy New Zealand members know the importance of understanding and being present in the communities that they support, especially knowing the needs of the most vulnerable groups within those communities. These local relationships help funders to be more effective in natural disaster response and recovery.”

Philanthropy New Zealand has also launched a two-page Disaster Response Quick Funders’ Guide that lists key actions to take if a disaster event happens.

Read the full Prevention, Readiness, Response and Recovery from Disasters report here or the Disaster Response Quick Funders’ Guide here.