The commitment of volunteers is, in India as well as in Germany, a vital part in the machinery that is disaster prevention and management. Both countries, however, face serious challenges. In Germany, the conditions of volunteer-led civil protection are changing rapidly: while the willingness of the population to help spontaneously and temporarily is increasing, ever-fewer volunteers bind themselves to a certain organization in the long term. Simultaneously, the demands facing volunteers are becoming more multi-faceted as needs are becoming more varied and the number of people in need of substantial care at times of disaster is increasing. Yet detailed knowledge of these varied needs, of their distribution within the population and of the capacities to fulfill them, is missing. Thus, it is becoming more and more difficult for care services to fulfill the needs of a heterogeneous population during prolonged disaster situations. In India, meanwhile, disaster management is faced with a rapidly growing population and simultaneous changes in the distribution and severity of risks. Yet volunteer work is only tenuously institutionalized within the country; there is a lack of differentiated concepts for the training and integration of volunteers. Therefore in India too it is both necessary and beneficial to consider and examine new and changed forms of organizing civil protection and disaster management.
In the face of changing social, ecological and economic parameters, it is necessary to develop new and more suitable forms for volunteer work and to mesh these with already existent structures of disaster management. The aims of the project are therefore:
- To analyze and evaluate vulnerabilities and resiliencies of different regions for various scenarios;
- To identify the requirements for successful volunteer work within disaster management;
- To create concepts for trainings and education that are suited for current and emerging circumstances;
- To initiate trans-cultural learning processes in the field of disaster research, mitigation, and management.