From the 2016 Elevating Impact Summit at Portland State University Pitch Fest, presented by Dr Erin Moore co founder.
Participaid is a new non-profit that’s changing the way communities are rebuilt after natural disasters, by empowering survivors to lead their own rebuilding. We’re doing it because the most vulnerable communities don’t recover from disasters. We’re doing it now because climate-related disasters are on the rise and the global community needs solutions.
ParticipAid was born from my personal experience. I was living in a village in Nepal last April when a huge earthquake devastated the country. In our village, 90% of the homes crumbled. We had injuries and deaths, I was the only doctor, and it was the hardest time of my life. But I stayed and for the following 2 months facilitated a successful emergency relief plan for my community.
When things stabilize after a disaster, most international nonprofits and TV crews go on to the next global need. ParticipAid stays with communities during this vulnerable time, and our approach is different in two ways – ownership and research.
First, we cultivate local ownership.
Our 5 year training and mentorship program teaches communities the skills and tools they need to self-determine and manage their rebuilding. So we’re not the ones digging water wells. We’re the ones training locals to determine what their unique water needs are, and what solutions will work best. The community is then an equal partner in their water project.
The difference is small but so powerful - because the community holds the decision-making power from the start, the solutions are embedded in the community for the long haul.
The second way our approach is different is that our programs are framed in research.
Community-based action research – we’re training the survivors to be the researchers. They ask the questions, and analyze and prioritize the things that matter most to them. This way, we get to share what we’re learning with the global community and improve outcomes for everyone. This is low cost, high impact, long term, and locally owned.
And it’s working !! - We’re already serving almost 800 families, and are just getting started! We’re onto something big here, and I’m lucky for the opportunity to share it with this group of big thinkers. With the body of knowledge we’re creating – our donors money will further, and our international nonprofit partners will have lower costs with greater impact.
YES, a disaster is tragic, but it can be a catalyst for survivors to create vibrant communities that are socially just and resilient. We are up to the challenge, and invite you to join us.