This is a guest posting from recovery colleagues in New Zealand, Elizabeth McNaughton and Jolie Wills.
The first year after a disaster is incredibly demanding and it’s difficult to imagine how much harder it can be. But for those working in places like Houston, Puerto Rico and bushfire-affected California and the Canadian Cariboo, year two and subsequent years can be even tougher. For those working hard to do meaningful things after disaster, funding, attention and energy all diminish, yet need doesn’t. McNaughton & Wills is a service that helps people working after disaster do more for communities, for longer, and realize their opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Through personal experience, Elizabeth McNaughton and Jolie Wills know well the challenges and opportunities of disaster recovery. They have researched leadership and support strategies in disaster recovery settings around the world and have worked with many people in challenging leadership positions. They understand how it feels to be thrust unprepared into new terrain, under intense pressure over a prolonged period, with uncertainty and high expectations as constant companions. With this in mind, Elizabeth and Jolie have developed training in disaster recovery leadership, in working well with disaster-affected people and in storytelling for evidence-based advice after disasters.
Exhaustion of those working (and often living) disaster recovery becomes a real feature over time. This often isn’t recognized until the effects take hold and show up on those working in recovery, their families, and their recovery programs. Practical and emotional support for leaders and others working in recovery is essential. Elizabeth and Jolie have worked to raise awareness of these support needs with funders, governance and decision-makers. Through conversations with over 100 recovery leaders and personnel around the globe, they have developed principles of recovery leadership and support, https://www.preparecenter.org/resources/leading-in-disaster-recovery. More recently, they’ve created a wrap-around support service that gives a power boost to people and organizations working in recovery, believing this to be vital to good outcomes for disaster-affected communities. The training, the wrap-around services and the power boost offered by McNaughton & Wills are important for those with big dreams of transformative change and the brave who are just trying to get through.