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Individuals Using Customary Practices in Times of Crises Annotated Bibliography

Pages:17 (4950 words)



Topic:Disaster Management

Document Type:Annotated Bibliography


Allen-Meares, P. & Garvin, C. (Eds.). (2000). The Handbook of Social Work Direct Practice. New York, SAGE. This is not a primary source, but the definition of crisis could be used in the proposal.

An assessment of the customary practices utilized by individuals in times of crisis would not be complete without a clear definition of ‘crisis’ in the context of the said practices. In seeking to define the term crisis, the cited authors of the relevant piece in the volume are definite that we must base our perspectives on subjective reality. This is more so the case given that “what precipitates a crisis episode in one individual might not generate such a response in another person” (327). This is true for communities as well. It, therefore, follows that this is an essential resource in the definition of what constitutes a crisis at both the individual and community levels. This particular resource is a collection of perspectives from diverse authors in social work practice.

Ayeb-Karlsson, S., Knveton, D., Cannon, T., Geest, K., Ahmed, I., Derrington, E.M., Florano, E. & Opondo, D. (2019). I will not go. I cannot go: cultural and social limitations of disaster preparedness in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Disasters, 43(4), 752-770.

This paper explores the influence of cultural and social contexts on perceptions of hazards and disaster and the responses to them using case studies from Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, the Phillipines, and Saipan. The premise behind this paper is that early warning systems (EWSs) often fail in countries where social and cultural determinants prevail and because disaster risk reduction institutions (DRRs) misunderstsood how people perceive risks and how they behave in relation to different hazardsd and warnings. This was seen when people were warned to prepare for earthquakes, floods, and volcanis eruptions. The authors provide evidence of 2 determinants limited the success of early warning systems: social and cultural. In Keyna, the EWS was said to fail because of social determinants because people mistrust authorities and there were problems with how the warnings were designed or delivered. In Bangladesh and Nepal, cultural determinants were to blame because people who believe God will save them no matter what will not evacuate when warned of a disaster.

KENYA Case Study: In Kenya, where floods are common, many older generations rely on indigenous traditional knowledge to cope with climatic shocks. For example, elders observe the behaviors of birds and insects and fisherman observe wind patterns to predict rainfall and floods. While indigenous traditional knowledge has served the older generations of Kenya well, there are social limits. For example, elders are hesitant to pass on knowledge to younger generations or will only pass on knowledge for payment. Thus, younger generastions rely on messages broadcasted from the government on the radio. However, lack of coordination between government agencies resuled in delayed radio broadcasts and EWS were not successful. These differences have caused tensions between older and younger generations, which has heightened the mistrust on EWS.

It is important to note that most of the resources highlighted in this annotation have primarily focused on the relevance of customary practices in crisis and disaster management. It is therefore clear that minimal effort has been put in attempts to unravel how culture could get in the way of effective crisis or disaster management. In the present study, the authors seek to piece together the local insights of inhabitants from three different regions in an attempt to map the most prevalent social and cultural limitations to disaster preparedness. Insights from this particular study will enable me to suggest ways through which the efficiency of traditional crisis and disaster management approaches could be enhanced to promote better outcomes on this front. The article appeared in a reputable peer-reviewed journal.

Bang, H.N., Miles, L.S. & Gordon, R.D. (2019). Disaster Risk Reduction in Cameroon: Are Contemporary Disaster Management Frameworks Accommodating the Sendai Framework Agenda 2030? International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, 10, 462-477.

According to the authors of this present study, most disasters in Africa have severe implications on the developmental and fiscal fronts. Many factors act together to exacerbate hazardous events in Africa. One of the critical factors that have been identified by the authors of the present journal article is the vulnerability of the continent’s rapidly increasing population. As other authors elsewhere in this annotation have pointed out, specifically Bonye and Jigsay (2011), Dube and Munsaka (2018), and Hiwasaki, Luna, Syamsidik and Shaw (2014); customary approaches to crisis and disaster management are often deemed unreliable and primitive. What is, however, surprising is that the authors of the present article observe that both contemporary and customary disaster management systems have not also been fully embraced or appreciated. There appears to be a systemic failure in this particular region in as far as a disaster and crisis management ideals, both customary and contemporary, are concerned. It, therefore, follows that this specific article will be instrumental in the advancement of the need for policymakers to go back to the drawing board and strategize on the most effective approach to minimize the impact of disasters on vulnerable populations. The relevance of utilizing customary practices in crisis scenarios will be restated. The utilization of the case study design in the present study permitted the collection of more information relating to disaster management approaches and mitigation practices. Comment by Author: What are these customary practices and how were they adapted at the invididual level?

Bonye, S.Z. & Jasaw, G.S. (2011). Traditional Coping Mechanism in Disaster Management in the Builsa and Sissala Districts of Northern Ghana. European Journal of Social Sciences, 25(2), 78-84.

No community is immune to occasional disasters and crises. It is for this reason that various communities and individuals have, over time, applied diverse tactics to not only manage but also reign in occasional stresses. In the present study, the authors highlight some of the customary practices that have been deployed in the study area to cope or deal with crises. Some of the coping approaches that have been highlighted on this front are inclusive of household solidarity. For instance, individuals can retreat back to a supportive family network and lean on one another. The authors also point out that “informal social networks based on neighborhood, kinship, clansmen, friends and relatives and church ties” often come in handy. In challenging situations (with some of routine challenges highlighted in this case being losses as a consequence of floods, diseases, and hunger), individuals could rely on strong religious inclinations and a supportive network of persons in both the familial and social settings to hold together. It is, however, essential to note that as the authors of the present study observe, some of the customary practices highlighted herein are often an underappreciated capability. In the words of the authors, “external support agents, however, usually are not aware of these existing mechanisms and tend to descend into disaster-affected communities in a ''firefighting'' mode (79). Thus, this particular resource will enable me to reiterate the need to embrace customary practices and their relevance in contemporary crises. Given the study setting, the resource will come in handy in attempts to gather a broader perspective of the subject matter. Both authors are respected scholars and are affiliated to the University for Development Studies. Comment by Author: What customary practices are discussed in this study and how did the individuals adapt them for use at the individual level?

Dube, E. & Munsaka, E. (2018). The contribution of indigenous knowledge to disaster risk reduction activities in Zimbabwe: A big call to practitioners. Jamba, 10(1), 26-34.

As Bonye and Jasaw (2011) have found out in a research piece titled Traditional Coping Mechanism in Disaster Management in the Builsa and Sissala Districts of Northern Ghana, which has also been referenced elsewhere in this annotation, customary approaches of dealing with disaster and crises are often viewed as being primitive and outdated. They are, thus, routinely ignored by external players, i.e., aid agencies. This is the very same assertion that the authors of the present article advance. Indeed, in the words of the authors, “the current discourse underrates the use of indigenous knowledge of communities by practitioners when dealing with disasters’, as the knowledge is often viewed as outdated and primitive” (27). There are various capacities that the local people have operationalized for centuries in as far as disaster mitigation and recovery is concerned. For instance, in response to food disasters, communities have routinely made use of temporal foot bridges referred to as amazibuko to facilitate river crossing. This is, to a large extent, a communal response. At the individual level, the authors cite community-wide support in which case individuals can tap support in an accepting framework founded on a culture of sharing. This is yet another resource that will come in handy in my attempt to underline the relevance of being supportive of customary practices as a coping mechanism at both the individual and community levels. The fact that…

Sample Source(s) Used

Roberts. A.R. (Ed.). (2005). Crisis Intervention Handbook: Assessment, Treatment, and Research (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Sama’ila, A. (2019). Economic crisis and the coping strategies of indigenous automobile entrepreneurs in northern Nigeria, 1983-2014. Sociology International Journal, 3(6), 437-442.

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