Comparative Discussion of Case Studies

As part of the programme of work case study contributors were able to meet through the kind support of the Global Fund for Community Foundations in Kathmandu, Nepal, for a workshop to discuss findings from the papers. The method for this discussion and subsequent analysis is described in this paper, and findings from the analysis of individual case studies, comparisons between them and from the case studies taken as a whole are discussed. The discussion focused on two research questions:

1. What understanding of the nature of underlying risk drivers and the structures which frame them is brought through this experiential perspective?

2. What proposals for influencing change to address underlying risk drivers emerge from this experiential investigation?

A backdrop to these discussions was the knowledge that the lifeblood of many NGOs is project funding to finance their operations, which in turn focusses them typically on service delivery activities, often as “sub-contractors” of INGOs and other large agencies. Project cycles, funding bids, service delivery and accountability are often “front of mind” for small NGOs. Nevertheless, these themes appear infrequently or not at all in the discussions, where the overarching concerns appear to be both local-level social change and influence of other scales of governance and power, aimed at addressing disaster reduction as an activity integrated with development.

Terry David Gibson
Aka Festus TongwaSarwar BariGuillaume ChantryManu GuptaJesusa Grace MolinaNisha ShreshaJohn NortonBhubaneswari ParajuliHepi RahmawatiRuiti Aretaake, (2019) “Drawing the case studies together: synthesis of case studies and group discussions”, Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 28 Issue: 1, pp.93-105,

Download an unformatted version of the comparative discussion paper here

Discussion and conclusions

Discussion suggested that governments, other institutions and agencies tend to regard DDR as a programme focussed primarily on large-scale disasters, preparedness and response, rather than addressing underlying risk factors. In contrast, an underlying theme of the case studies and discussions has been that disasters are a development issue; disasters and development are intimately linked; and therefore it is of primary importance to address underlying risk factors impeding development through social change. It is suggested that practical mechanisms relevant to local-level NGOs for achieving progress in this are based in varying degrees on ‘legitimate subversion’ through creating local collaborations, stimulating action through innovation, communication and information, and strengthening local voice to influence different scales of governance to address underlying risk factors impeding development.

The studies and their analysis and discussion raise a number of proposals for means of “legitimate subversion” based on the more detailed observations emerging from analysis. These, in the nature of qualitative case study work, are rooted in a limited number of cases. We hope to stimulate further discussion on this idea, drawing on wider experience.  We also hope that practitioners might draw on these ideas to experiment and innovate in their work.

Terry David Gibson
Festus Tongwa AkaRuiti AretaakeSarwar BariGuillaume ChantryManu GuptaJesusa Grace MolinaJohn NortonBhubaneswari ParajuliHepi RahmawatiNisha Shresha, (2019) “Local voices and action: concluding discussion”, Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 28 Issue: 1, pp.126-142,

Download an unformatted version of the final discussion paper here