Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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'Connecting to Disasters": The Critical Success Factors of Mobile Phone Utilisation within Disaster Management Operations: The Case of Vanuatu

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Version 1 2021-11-12, 14:14
posted on 2023-03-14, 23:30 authored by Donald, Simon

This study was an endeavour to contribute to the understanding of mobile phone use in disaster management. The main purpose of the study is to identify the factors necessary for mobile phones to successfully facilitate communication and information dissemination in disaster management operations in Vanuatu, which is viewed as a region experiencing significant risks to natural disasters, as well as a rapidly expanding mobile phone industry. The research uses qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews from two months of fieldwork in Vanuatu. Interviews were conducted with participants sourced from mobile phone providers, civil society organisations, government departments, and Vanuatu communities. The research revealed a set of 16 critical success factors that affirmed a number of conclusions drawn from the literature but also revealed information unique to the Vanuatu context. The emerging factors necessary for mobile phone success were developed into a top-down framework with four categories. At the top, factors at the ‘Government Level’ highlighted the need for government leadership and ‘ownership’, particularly in ‘policy formulation’ and ‘sanctioning’ of disseminated information. Below this, key stakeholder groups involved in mobile phones and disaster management make up the ‘Stakeholder Level’, where there was a critical need for ‘communication’, ‘alignment’ and ‘collaboration’ between these groups. Stakeholder groups also need effective ‘staff training’, and a clear understanding of their ‘roles and responsibilities’ surrounding the mobile phone application. The means that enable stakeholders to operate this process make up the ‘Technology Level’, where critical factors include an ‘extensive network’ containing ‘resilient infrastructure’ with swift ‘maintenance and repair processes’. Finally, at the grassroots, community members make up the ‘User Level’. For users mobile phones must be both ‘affordable’ and ‘easy to use’, they also need ‘electricity access’ to meet phone charging needs, as well as knowledge of local areas with sufficient ‘network access’. These results reveal the importance of addressing ways to improve mobile phone use in disaster management. Mobile phones are now the most widely used information communication technology in Vanuatu, so improving their effectiveness in disaster management operations is important and could have significant implications for communities that are vulnerable to natural disaster hazards.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Yoong, Pak