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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Change Generation

Discouraged by the lack of follow-up aid in disaster zones Emma Taylor founded EDV (European Disaster Volunteers) as an organization that would be volunteer driven and could provide long term aid to troubled regions. Her frustration was that, after a natural disaster, aid tends to pour in. This immediate aid saves lives and is vitally important, but it doesn't address the long-term issues that prevent communities from recovering on their own. Emma's big idea was to help communities which have been devastated by natural disaster recover sustainably and become more able to meet their own needs after aid workers leave. She advocates that volunteers are a powerful force in long-term disaster recovery, and her organization encourages anyone who's interested in helping to sign up with no registration or participation fees.

Traditional Aid does not address the long-term issues that prevent communities from recovering on their own.

Emma's goal--and EDV's goal--is to do more than provide aid after a disaster. They focus on addressing the underlying issues that made communities vulnerable to disaster in the first place and are inhibiting their long-term recovery. This means that they aim to do more than just takes weak communities back to their pre-disaster state. They "build back better" by designing programs and projects which meet core needs. Without a focus on these long-term issues communities can become trapped in a cycle of disaster, poverty, and aid dependency.

At 25 years old, Emma has been really making a positive impact. "I think our generation is powerful beyond measure. I work closely with EDV's volunteers, most of whom just find us online and then choose to give up their vacation time to come live in a disaster zone and volunteer helping strangers. That's an incredibly brave and generous choice and it never ceases to amaze me that people make it every day. The combination of our generation's online tools that connect us to the world and our willingness to get our hands dirty has limitless potential."

Follow EDV on twitter @EDVMedia.

Read more about Emma and EDV

Emma and EDV have started something inspiring. Not only do they recognize the need for sustainable development and long term recovery, they are focused on engaging a new generation of change makers. Do you know of another organization that has taken a new, progressive approach to disaster relief? Tell us about change makers you admire.

-GlassFrog Blogger Vanessa

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