A Competence-Based Post-Disaster Reconstruction Process: Findings from Sri Lanka

Jason Von Meding, Lukumon Oyedele, David Cleland, Riona McGrath, John Bruen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-66
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of the Constructed Environment
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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