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ALNAP Innovations Case Study No. 4 - PKNR

Supporting community-based emergency response at scale: innovations in the wake of Cyclone Nargis


About this resource

Resource type:Research, reports and studies
Keywords:Capacity development, Cash, Innovation
Author(s):Justin Corbett
Date published:March 2010


This case study describes how appropriate support for local civil-society interventions following a rapid-onset emergency can enable very fast and responsive relief at a scale commensurate with needs. After the impact of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, local civil-society efforts were found to have greater penetration and much lower costs than conventional direct implementation by international agencies.


A brief period of what might be described as ‘creative chaos’ after the cyclone eased the normal organisational constraints to risk taking, enabling a number of innovations in the process of aid delivery. In particular, field teams:

  1. developed new methodologies for rapid funding and monitoring of proposals submitted by local civil-society organisations (CSOs), at scale
  2. designed and delivered options for capacity development relevant to disaster response and subsequent recovery
  3. introduced ‘do-less-harm’ initiatives, to try to minimise the negative side-effects of rapid grant disbursal
  4. established mechanisms and structures for communication and linkages between mainstream international responses and local civil-society initiatives.


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