Nongovernmental Organizations, Formal Networks and Barrier Mitigation in Humanitarian Relief: A Case Study of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations

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Virginia Tech


The overarching focus of this research is to examine the role and effectiveness of formal network organizations in mitigating barriers to disaster relief. I address this larger focus by examining the impacts of one formal network organization, the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) on its twelve NGO members. Specifically, the study addressees the following questions: 1) How does PQMD function? 2) What effects has PQMD had on its NGO members' relationships with each other, especially in the context of disaster response efforts? The research design for this study uses a qualitative framework. The study includes a literature review, content analysis of PQMD's website, research from a previous study with the same organization, and new interviews with representatives from nine NGO members, as well as the executive director of PQMD. My findings indicate that PQMD has been able to successfully bring together 27 different organizations (private and nonprofit), and mitigate the barrier of lack of central authority and lack of trust, to discuss their concerns, learn from one another, learn about one other, and create relationships that lead to better communication and collaboration in humanitarian relief. Although PQMD is working on a much smaller scale, I argue that researchers can look at this formal network organization to better understand how to improve the coordination of humanitarian aid on a worldwide scale and can glean lessons from this group.



nongovernmental organizations, interorganizational coordination, formal networks, disaster relief, humanitarian relief