Who We Are
The Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN) is a network of anthropologists, social scientists, and practitioners interested in working to build and integrate cultural comprehension into the work of disaster risk reduction and disaster recovery. The initial group was established in Fall 2016 following a workshop designed to bring academics and practitioners concerned with these topics into conversation geared toward actionable outcomes.
What We Do
The CADAN network operates as a point of contact for disaster professionals in government, NGO’s and the private sector to connect with researchers and educators from academic institutions, to float ideas, identify collaborators, and create partnerships.
Many projects are now underway among subgroups of the CADAN network including the development of a learning module to demonstrate how cultural considerations can be integrated into US-based disaster response and recovery efforts and the development of a flexible, operational plan for integrating culture into disaster risk reduction for use among international disaster specialists. A CADAN team presented “Culture-based DRR” in May 2017 at the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
DRR practitioners can learn the methods to prioritize cultural knowledge, inclusiveness, and participatory approaches. CADAN seeks to partner with communities of practice to share this knowledge and to enhance DRR effectiveness.
"It all begins by observing and listening. We were visiting this area in Guatemala that had suffered a massive landslide that destroyed the homes of many families in the community. The elders said this happened because they built their houses in a very old pathway where water used to descend from the volcano. But after years of no rain, people started building in that area. When the hurricane approached, the elders warned that water and mud and everything was going to come down that old pathway. And that’s exactly what happened."
"Focusing on the importance of culture is not a feel-good exercise. It is essential for peace and progress in the 21st century."
"In UNESCO we refer to the notion of “recovery” and not “rebuilding” because this is not only about saving stones and monuments – the role of culture is to sustain social life, enhance cohesion and accelerate rebirth."
"Communities need to feel like they are partners in the programming instead of beneficiaries. We also need to ensure that the best practices for building back better integrate local cultural knowledge so that the community can maintain the structure afterwards and so the results are sustainable."