Capacity building for popular involvement in emergency response

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This presentation regards the development of capacity to involve citizens as spontaneous volunteers in emergency response in Denmark. Capacity building is an ongoing process drawing on existing resources in the organisation undergoing the development (Jensen & Krogstrup, 2017, p. 59 p). In this understanding, the project presented is a step on the way in a participatory turn (Strandh, 2019).
Emergency response is not a single organisation in Denmark but rather a family of organisations working together in response, which makes this case of capacity building atypical. Police and emergency management organisations are “close relatives” in the family as lead actors in emergency response. Some are more “distant cousins” as emergency management in a wider perspective is done according to a principle of sectoral authority, in principle involving alle public sectors, private and civil society actors. However, the capacity has to be build for the “family” to be able to perform together, rather than for the enhancement of a particular branch of the family.
In this context, a capacity building project, understood as the enhancement of the emergency management systems ability to engage citizens as spontaneous volunteers in emergency response (Jensen & Krogstrup, 2017, p. 58 p) has been undertaken as a joint venture by the Danish Red Cross and the University College Copenhagen in the period 2020-2023.
The need for capacity building, and the driver of the Danish Red Cross as an actor taking the initiative in this field is based on:
- The framework for emergency response with spontaneous volunteers in Denmark is not very well-described.
- Experience of spontaneous volunteer involvement in emergency response in Denmark is scarce, and there is no systematic capacity building based on the experience so far.
- Danish Red Cross is aiming at rebuilding its capacity to contribute to emergency response.
Research contributions in the project is a remedy for the lack of systematic capacity development and systematic collection of experience from relevant Danish cases. The research contributions aim is to establish a firm foundation for the initiatives. and contribute to the development of a best-practice approach for the Danish context, as this must necessarily be developed for each country specifically (Paciarotti & Cesaroni, 2020). The research contributes to proposals on how to integrate spontaneous volunteers, where (that is in which branch of the family) they should be integrated, and who should be the practitioners of involvement.

Jensen, J. B., & Krogstrup, H. K. (2017). Capacity building i den offentlige sektor. In H. K. Krogstrup (Ed.), Samskabelse og Capacity Building i den offentlige sektor (1st ed., pp. 57–74). Hans Reitzels Forlag.
Paciarotti, C., & Cesaroni, A. (2020). Spontaneous volunteerism in disasters, managerial inputs and policy implications from Italian case studies. Safety Science, 122(September 2019), 104521.
Strandh, V. (2019). Crisis Volunteerism is the New Black?—Exploring the Diversity of Voluntary Engagement in Crisis Management. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy.

Periode2 nov. 2023
BegivenhedstitelNEEDS CONFERENCE 2023: BUILDING DISASTER RESILIENT SOCIETIES : Northern European Emergency and Disaster Studies Conference
PlaceringEnschede, HollandVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


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