Posted on December 16th, 2022

This past September, the Extension Disaster Education Network offered a professional development training opportunity titled “Religious and Cultural Literacy and Competency in Disaster”. The two-day training took place in the University of Illinois’s Illini Center in downtown Chicago, and was led by Kimberly Davis, of Florida A&M, Michelle Eley of North Carolina A&T, and Noel Estwick, of Prairie View A&M.

Discussion topics for the training included:

o Explain why we engage religious and cultural communities

o Define the meaning of religious and cultural literacy and competency in disaster management

o Describe how religious and cultural language differ from government culture and language

o Identify the skills needed to competently engage religious and cultural leaders/groups

There was excellent discussion and insight into Religious and Cultural Competency in Disaster Programming from practitioners, including framing of the issues, an overall look at cultural and community landscapes, an overview of field skills for engagement and some hands-on activities, including designing an engagement plan and reviewing FEMA resources.

With over twenty attendees from institutions across the country, this training was a wonderful opportunity to expand our DEI efforts in disaster education, and gain valuable insights into how best to serve stakeholders.