Faith-based NGOs, FEMA, Collaborative Planning, and Building Resilience Communities

Dauda Adamu, Graduate Student, Department of Religion

There is a claim that public sectors do not have adequate understanding of the activities of faith-based NGOs and that this have compounded accountability for resources deployed during emergencies.* Therefore, the need to create more visibilities and access to these organizations’ activities is pertinent in advancing their relationships with the public sectors and also in building resilient communities.

This research will find out how accessibility and visibility can help create understanding and enhance collaborations between these organizations and the Federal/State emergency response agencies such as FEMA and SEMA or any other entities that may require their information in light with Federal Emergency Management Agencies (FEMA)’s 2045 vision one of which is to improve collaboration between the agency and faith-based organizations.* This work assumes that making the activities of these organization well accessible to FEMA through maps, charts, and graphs will be a useful step towards improving collaboration between them. This research therefore intends to find answers to the following questions: What are the activities of faith-based organizations in Houston? Where are these offices of organizations located in Houston? When were these organizations founded? Are all these organizations based in Houston? What are the places in Houston prone to environmental disasters like flood? How do these organizations respond to disasters in these places? Are these places categorized as floodplains? If yes, Is the categorization on the basis of insurance or vulnerabilities? How do these organizations collaborate among themselves? How can their relationship with FEMA/SEMA be described? Do these organizations engage in creating awareness or they only engage in response and recovery? How does the public agencies provide support for these organizations? What is the relationship of these NGOSs with the people? How do they get their manpower? What are the sources of resources of these organizations? What are the challenges of these organizations? How can this information be represented on maps, charts, and graphs?

Houston is the research area and the researcher will tentatively engage with twenty (20) faith-based organizations that have been responding to environmental trauma in Houston. Their websites will be searched for information and where necessary, telephone, email, and face-to-face interviews will be conduct. FEMA, SEMA, and other relevant organizations, private or public, will also be contacted for information and their consents will be sought either via telephone or email correspondence. Where organizational or individual anonymity is required, anonymous names would be used in place of the real names of such respondents, organizational or individuals. Data that can be represented through maps, charts, or graphs will be examined. Existing maps on floods and other forms of disasters will be inspected. Video documentary about disasters in Houston will also be accessed and investigated. Population data of the affected arears will be analyzed.