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A Survey of NGO Participation in Reconstruction after the Wenchuan Earthquake: The Social Work Perspective

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After the Wenchuan earthquake, large numbers of NGOs entered the quake area and provided large amounts of social services. Analysis of survey responses from 149 NGOs has allowed three basic models to be identified among NGOs engaging in post-quake reconstruction: (1) university social work stations; (2) civil organizations; and (3) government-embedded organizations. Because reconstruction is a long-term task, adjustments to current strategies may merit consideration. First, the disproportionate weight currently placed on heavy infrastructure over social services and society-building must be rebalanced. Second, all of society ‐ and especially the government ‐ should recognize the enormous significance and the enormous role NGO services have played in post-quake reconstruction. Third, cooperative arrangements should be explored between grant makers like the government, enterprises, and foundations and NGOs. Fourth, trial introduction of people-run non-enterprise units to the quake area should be explored. Fifth, relations between NGOs and the government should be smoothed to ensure that NGOs have a legal space in which to conduct their social work. Sixth, NGOs must put more work into capacity building.


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