Shifting Private Sector Perspectives On Disaster Philanthropy In Asia

Give2Asia's Director of Disaster Preparedness Program Matt Grager writes in Forbes Magazine about the important role of private sector philanthropy in disaster resilience.

Even though it is known that Asian countries are prone to natural disasters, they still lack funding and support for Disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs. Most of the help that they receive are more often than not targeted toward relief and recovery after a disaster has already occurred.

In the article, Matt urges for more attention to developing disaster preparedness within the community. The private sector philanthropy can play an important role  in grassroots community-based programs that educate people about disasters as well as in creating projects with long-term goals of reducing or even avoiding climate change related disasters altogether.

Here is an excerpt:

While financial support for natural disasters is necessary, it is also only part of a puzzle. In order to lessen the need for large relief and recovery investments, private philanthropy must shift its focus in two ways. First, the private sector must prioritize funding disaster preparedness and risk reduction in addition to relief. This has proven not only to save lives, but also money. Secondly, community-based approaches must begin to replace the top-down models put forth by governments and other international organizations. These approaches are the key to long-term resilience.  This shift toward preparedness and risk reduction is the best way to alter the outcome when hazards hit Asia’s vulnerable communities.

We already know the effects of climate change, where hazards are most likely to strike, and who will be affected. Therefore, we must be forward-thinking in addressing these issues before horrific images and death tolls hit the news cycle.

Private sector philanthropy generally aims to improve the lives of stakeholders, including employees, customers and the communities around them. Local NGOs and CBOs are created to serve, and widely known by, the stakeholders that private sector philanthropy aims to help. They have the community knowledge and local political capital to generate initial support and to sustain preparedness and resilience projects beyond the funding period. By engaging with increasingly effective local programs, private sector philanthropy receives a positive community response that aligns with its philanthropic goals, while building resilience that will ultimately save lives and money.

Read the full piece from Forbes here