Original Research

Opportunities and challenges of mainstreaming disaster risk management in faith institutions

Peter Masvotore
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 16, No 1 | a1667 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v16i1.1667 | © 2024 Peter Masvotore | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2024 | Published: 17 May 2024

About the author(s)

Peter Masvotore, Research Institute for Theology and Religion, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic had created mayhem world over in the year 2020 and confirmed the need and urgency of equipping religious leaders with disaster risk management (DRM) knowledge and skills. Religious leaders are often expected to be among the first responders when disasters strike. This is especially the case in Africa where faith communities often have greater reach among the populace than the state itself. Using multifaceted methodology and purposive sampling interview analysis, this article shows that the responses of religious leaders in Africa, Zimbabwe in particular, to COVID-19 highlighted the urgency of adopting a more focussed and deliberate approach towards equipping religious leaders with DRM knowledge and skills. It further demonstrates that in some areas religious leaders responded effectively (communicating the right message, impact mitigation activities, etc.), in most other areas, they were as unprepared and in a state of paralysis as the rest of the populace. It would however, be grossly unfair to critique their response since most of them have never been exposed to the basic tenets of DRM, either in their formation or as part of life-long learning.

Contribution: The article concludes by suggesting mainstreaming tragedy hazard reducing in the curricula of religious institutions for stoppage, mitigation and actual answer to current and future tragedies within communities.


challenges; disaster risk management; mainstreaming; opportunities; united theological college; Zimbabwe.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 13: Climate action


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