Understanding the Role of Diaspora Advocacy Coalitions, Non-Governmental Organizations and Networks: A Focus on Haiti's Disasters

Principal Investigators:

Project Period: 9/1/2012- 8/31/2015

Project Summary:

This research focuses on Haitian diaspora groups and their networks within the U.S. and transnationally to understand their role in fostering disaster resilience and recovery after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. We focus on two main questions:

  1. How do diaspora groups influence long-term post-disaster recovery and resilience through transnational advocacy efforts?
  2. How do diaspora groups function as organizational and social networks in the context of disaster recovery?

The study area will focus on areas with large concentrations of Haitian-American populations and diaspora groups: South Florida, New York, Boston/MA, and the Atlanta area in Georgia.  These areas are where approximately 80% of the Haitian-American diaspora reside and are also where most Haitian-American diaspora coalitions and groups are based. In-depth interviews and online surveys will serve as the primary research method, and will be conducted with members of Haitian-American community groups, as well as other key stakeholders including: non-profit organizations, local, state, and federal officials, international aid organizations, and immigration officials and advocates. We will also conduct secondary data analysis of pre-existing plans and policies and relevant government documents. Social Network Analysis (SNA) will be used as a tool to map the structure and type of diaspora networks, including familial, kinship, and social networks, along with formal coordination and cooperation patterns with government and non-governmental organizations.

This research will transform and extend knowledge and theories related to the international dimensions of recovery. Studying diaspora networks in host countries and in the international community is also new and unique and will advance scholarly and practical understandings of transnational social capital, capacity, and coordination in the continuum of disaster response to long term recovery and rebuilding. Potential contributions span and benefit those in disciplines that are involved with disaster planning and recovery, social network ties and related analyses, emergency management, homeland security, infrastructure planning, post-disaster economic development, evacuation, sheltering, and housing recovery. This research will ultimately help host communities, advocacy groups, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and international aid agencies in developing mechanisms to foster disaster recovery, development, and for effective resource allocation, along with informing responses to future disasters and disaster-induced migration.

Funding Agency: CMMI Division, National Science Foundation

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