INitiate VOLunteerism to counter VulnErability (INVOLVE)

Subproject: „Transdisciplinary integrative Evaluation of Vulnerability, Resilience, and Volunteerism at the Milieu-level“ (TIV-MILIEU)


Disaster Research Unit (DRU)

Branch office of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology



Financial support:

BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung / Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

Grant ID: 13N13027

Partners in cooperation:

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena (FSU)

Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DRK)

Indian Institute of Science (IISc)

Institute of Directors (IOD)

Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC)

Directorate of Fire & Emergency Services, Home Guards, Civil Defence (FES, HG, CD)

Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS)


Jan 01, 2015 — Dec 31, 2017

Engaging volunteers in aid work is an unavoidable and existentially important component of disaster aid and recuperation. In spite of this paramount importance, scarcely any attention has been given to the idea that volunteerism is an independent and influential factor in vulnerability and resilience to extreme situations. At the same time, the knowledge of the dangers from, and the possibility of being affected by, disaster is an essential motivation for the involvement of potential volunteer helpers. As a result, the overarching goal of the group project INVOLVE is to investigate vulnerability and volunteerism in an integrated research design covering multiple cross-cultural perspectives. The research conclusively aims to strengthen various form of civil engagement, to reduce vulnerability, and to boost resilience.

In the sub-project TIV-MILIEU, the Disaster Research Unit (DRU) is developing an integrated and transdisciplinary conceptual framework for evaluating the vulnerability and resilience to extreme events. Hereby, the project also recognizes and highlights the connection between vulnerability/resilience and civil engagement, with the intention of supporting volunteer engagement in a more concise manner. By analyzing the two core concepts behind this constellation of vulnerability/resilience and volunteerism, namely that of “suffering” and “helping,” the project aims to build a social scientific reference portfolio an approach will be developed. This approach will be developed for and applied to three socio-spatial entities, being: mega-regional space, city space, and rural space. The findings of said investigation aim to serve as aid in the development, evaluation, and betterment of strategies and training for key actors in disaster management.

The following goals are being pursued as per the sub-project’s framework:

  1. The initiation of intercultural learning processes between India and Germany so as to acquire a greater and deeper understanding of vulnerability and resilience
  2. The bringing of relevant stakeholders, and above all the civil population, into the research process so as their needs and specific forms of knowledge are taken account of. Likewise the project aims to facilitate the creation of a public conscience, as well as guarantee the realization, the practical-capability, and the lasting effectivity of the strategies and solutions developed.
  3. The development of an understanding of the formational processes and (re)production conditions within the specific social context on the milieu-level, in which said understanding is seen as the first essential step in being able to reduce the susceptibility to damaging effects through the utilization of customized, sustainable, effective solutions.
  4. The identification of resilience strengthening factors (both for adaptation and recuperation capacities) within various milieus as well as the identification of factors which contribute to a boosting the motivation for volunteer engagement.
  5. The identification of regional differences between the various research areas: mega-regional space, city space, rural space.
  6. The problem-specific improvement of training concepts and forms from the end users (especially the German Red Cross) with a special focus on the needs the actors and those affected.