Some Lessons Learned From Two Decades of Promoting Natural Disaster Risk Reduction
IPGP - Îlot Cuvier
Séminaires généraux de l’IPGP
The California-based nonprofit organization GeoHazards International (GHI) has been attempting to initiate self-sustaining methods of reducing the consequences of natural disasters in developing countries for two decades. When GHI started its work, we thought that merely describing the benefits of these methods and training people in their use would be sufficient to have them widely and permanently adopted. We were wrong. We’ve subsequently learned the validity of the principles of the Diffusion of Innovations, as described by Everett Rogers in his book of that title. These principles include such things as: (1) inter-personal communication from a “near peer” is needed for someone to decide to adopt an innovation and to change behavior, and (2) more than just the demonstration of an innovation’s benefits is needed for the adoption of that innovation. GHI has attempted to apply these principles in projects ranging from seismically retrofitting schools in Kathmandu, India and Peru, improving the structural engineering curriculum in universities in Pakistan, and training engineers in Delhi’s Public Works Department on methods of seismic retrofitting, to our most recent venture of designing and (we hope) constructing a vertical evacuation structure for tsunami risk reduction in Sumatra, Indonesia. This talk describes some of GHI’s projects and summarizes the lessons learned.