The role of educators in community resilience in natural disaster-prone communities

Jendayi N. Edmeade, Christine N. Buzinde

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    Educators' perceptions of community resilience have generally remained absent in scholarship on the nexus between community development, natural disasters, and resilience. Thus, building on extant research and drawing on resilience theory, the purpose of this qualitative study is to understand perceptions related to community resilience held by resident educators, located in the US Virgin Islands. In-depth interviews were conducted with educators (elementary and secondary schools) and the findings indicate that participants' role in coping and recovery entailed the following themes: Community Alliances for Social Recovery and Learning for Social Recovery. The former speaks to the educators' (in)direct provision of basic resources (e.g. teachers' union offering materials), in the aftermath of the disaster. The latter deals with teachers' provision of assistance to students experiencing psychological distress induced by the disaster as well as their work in teaching about and/or seeking educational materials related to natural disasters. In the aftermath of a hazard, access to formal counselling services is likely constrained accordingly; informal counselling services rendered by various members of the community are the most effective approach to obtain help with disaster-induced psychological distress. A key contribution of this study is that educators took on important informal counselling-like roles, in addition to their formal didactic duties, so as to better help youth with coping and recovery. Recovery requires many actors, but this study highlights educators' integral role in effective disaster mitigation through the formal and informal roles they enact, particularly as relates to youth.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)411-429
    Number of pages19
    JournalCommunity Development Journal
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Development


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