An Evaluation of Save the Children’s Building State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) Capacities to Protect Children in Emergencies Project

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Project Purpose: Save the Children U.S. programs recently launched a new project called the Building State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) Capacities to Protect Children in Emergencies. The goals of this larger project are to: 1) increase VOAD and emergency management knowledge and awareness of children’s needs as well as their abilities to meet children’s needs in emergencies; 2) to influence increased prioritization of children’s needs in VOAD and emergency management organizations both through representation and organizational culture; and 3) to assess the proof of concept behind the project model in two Midwest states (Arkansas and Nebraska) through a formative outcome evaluation.

Project Outcomes: Our research team at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder is designing and conducting a formative outcome evaluation to assess the proof of concept behind the project model and ascertain its potential for replicability across states. As part of the evaluation project, our research team will identify and map the location of VOAD members in Arkansas and Nebraska, which are the two focal states in the project. In addition, we will conduct social network analyses to (1) identify the current areas of expertise of the target state VOADs to better understand who is currently involved in disaster response and (2) analyze these existing networks to understand how individuals and organizations are already connected and where meaningful connections are lacking. Survey research and geospatial and social network analyses will provide the foundation for the project and be supplemented with focus group interviews, observations, and participatory strengths mapping activities.

At the conclusion of this evaluation, the research team will provide Save the Children U.S. with a final report and aid in the creation and review of basic state-level indicators that measure a state’s progress in addressing key recommendations by the National Commission on Children and Disasters as well as a Joint Children’s Needs Response Assessment and Referral Pathways.

Project Deliverables: The Natural Hazards Center team has begun producing a number of deliverables for this project, including a survey for state-level VOAD representatives and emergency managers, an asset mapping protocol, and a series of maps to illustrate the location and potential vulnerability of children in the focal states.

Save the Children Map Guidance: Click here for map icon explaination

Arkansas

Nebraska

Principal Investigator: Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center

Co-Principal Investigators: Jamie Vickery, Mason Mathews, Haorui Wu, Natural Hazards Center