USAID-RSPN TAHAFUZ Project – Building Resilience through Community Based Disaster Risk Management in the Sindh Province of Pakistan

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s TAHAFUZ project represents nearly $1.4 million in disaster risk management assistance from the American people to flood affected people of Pakistan. This project is being implemented by RSPN, locally applying the project through two of its member organization: National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP).

‘Tahafuz’ is a community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) project, which aims to build the resilience of local communities to resist hazard impact, to bounce back after disasters, and to adapt and change in order to ensure effective recovery. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), this project will benefit an estimated 110,879 households in four disaster high risk districts of Sindh, namely Badin, Thatta, Umarkot and Tharparker.

This project intends to address the lack of preparation of local communities and the government in dealing with pre- and post-disaster situations. There is an urgent need to develop community based disaster risk management systems in which communities are actively engaged in building their overall resilience to natural disasters. This means putting the people themselves at the heart of decision making and implementation of disaster risk management activities. By supporting the construction and rehabilitation of critical micro-community infrastructures and building the capacity of communities to manage and mitigate resources, Tahafuz will empower the residents of flood and cyclone prone areas to be better prepared to deal with these natural hydrological disasters.

Tahafuz at a Glance

Complaint Redressal Mechanism

In case citizens believe there is fraud/abuse/waste observed in any USAID project, they may report possible cases to the Anti-Fraud Hotline established by USAID and Transparency International, Pakistan. More information on the Hotline can be found here: https://www.anti-fraudhotline.com.

Progress

The below provided details reflects the progress and achievement of the project since the inception of the project i.e. 28th Sep 2012 to Dec 2012

CBDRM manual

A comprehensive CBDRM manual was developed to produce a cadre of CBDRM experts to enhance capacities of the vulnerable communities in order to enable them to withstand hazards as well as fight disasters. A Consultant with proven experience of Disaster Risk Management was hired to develop easy to understand manual for people with little prior experience or knowledge of CBDRM. The Consultant prepared a manual and a tool kit for trainers under the supervision of RSPN PMU CBDRM Capacity Building Specialist.

Workshops

With the aim to develop project understanding and create awareness about the project at local level, one day workshops were held in each of the four target districts with participation of all relevant stakeholders. For better projection and wider scale dissemination of project objectives the participants who took part in workshops included officials from district government DCO/ADCO/NDMA/DDMA and representatives from the media, Civil Society Organizations, Local Support Organizations (LSOs), Community Organizations (COs) and members of RSPs core and project field staff.

Training of Trainers (ToT)

The Training of Trainers (ToT) under the subject of “Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM)” was held at Islamabad dated from 4th till 9th Dec, 2012. The objective of the training was to enable project beneficiaries to conduct Disaster Risk Assessment, Develop Risk Management Plans and establish Early Warning Systems through coordination of VDMC/UDMCs with government line departments for timely pre-emption of any hazardous situation. A total of 27 participants took part in the training from RSPN-02, NRSP-11 and TRDP-14 including one government official i.e. DDMA representative of district Tharparkar. The trainees from both the RSPs included Project Coordinators, District Project Officers, Community Mobilizers, Training Officers and member staff of RSPs core team as well as two monitors from RSPN.

A team of experienced, qualified and trained resource persons implemented the ToT under the overall supervision and coordination of CBDRM consultant Mr. Sohail Manzoor. The training program was designed upon the principles of experimental learning. All the participants were divided into small groups in order to make them work in groups throughout the training program. The participants remained interactive during all the sessions and were asked for practical demonstration of the knowledge gained through a series of group presentations. The key sessions of the ToT included the following:

  • Orientation about USAID Tahafuz CBDRM
  • Orientation about Disaster and Disaster Management System in Pakistan
  • Community Based Disaster Risk Management, Participatory Risk Assessment (Hazards, Vulnerability and Capacity
  • Community Action for Disaster/Emergency Response
  • Participatory DRM Planning, Disaster/Emergency Response
  • Participatory DRM Planning (DRR Plans), importance, tools and practical work
  • Guidelines for Development DRR Plans at VDMCs/UDMCs
  • Advocacy, networking and gender mainstreaming by UCDMCs
  • Organizational Management and Development (For UCDMC)
  • Organization, planning management and implementation of CBDRM Tahafuz capacity building program and Development of Roll out Plan

During the training, focus remained on enhancing the conceptual, behavioral and practical understanding of the participants over Tahafuz CBDRM. To observe an overall impact of the training pre and post-test was also conducted. A significant increase in the knowledge of the participants was observed by comparing pre/post training knowledge results. The following graph demonstrates the results yielded in pre/post trainings assessments:

Formation of Village Disaster Management Committees (VDMCs)

To enhance capacities of the villagers in terms of “Planning & Coordination” the process of formation of Village Disaster Management Committees (VDMCs) has been instigated by partner RSPs (NRSP & TRDP) in target districts of the project. The members of VDMC’s comprise of minimal of 10 members each, which are selected with consensus of local communities in focus with gender equity at the desired level of intervention. These VDMCs are given training by Master Trainers to enable them to perform below mentioned activities:

  1. Conduct participatory disaster risk assessment – PDRA
  2. Develop village disaster management plan
  3. Provide services like rescue, search and first aid
  4. Construct a Community Critical Infrastructure (CCI) that will be identified in result of PDRA activity
  5. Oversee progress of CCI construction and report its progress in meetings held on monthly basis
  6. Develop Revenue Village Hazard maps
  7. Develop, maintain and update Village profile
  8. Coordinate with government and with its extended arm i.e. Union Disaster Management Committee to get their support and learn about any potential hazard in advance

To learn more about the Process of VDMC Formation please click here and to see the progress of the VDMCs being formulated during the first quarter (Oct, Nov & Dec), please refer to the progress reports attached. The data provided in MPR is updated on monthly basis.

Capacity Building of VDMCs/UDMCs:

The capacity building of committees begins as the committees are formed. The participants are selected through a voting process held within each VDMC. These selected members are given training by Master Trainers of RSPs (NRSP & TRDP) in their respective areas of intervention. Presently, RSPN with its partner RSPs is providing trainings on PDRA and Disaster Risk Management & Planning to VDMCs only, as the process of UDMCs formation has not started yet. The below provided figure shows the overall trainings planned for both the committees.

To conduct training, presentation material was provided by the consultant that was converted to local Sindhi language for the ease of understanding of local community members of VDMCs.

Mainstreaming Gender

To scale down the after effects of hazards more concentrated efforts were required to give special consideration to women and enhance their coping capacities as during disaster women are the ones that get affected the most. RSPN in this regard with the efforts of its partner RSPs has been able to ensure handsome number of women participation during various activities of the project. Women have been encouraged to become part of the VDMCs and were included in community dialogues during the formation process of VDMCs. The below provided graph provides a graphical representation of women inclusion during the formation process of VDMCs:

Monitoring

To observe quality of the work being done by the RSPs, the RSPN Project Management Unit (PMU) based two monitors visit the target districts every month to observe field activities based on randomized selection of sites from the list of VDMCs that have been formed. During the visits both the monitors interview community members as well as hold a separate meeting with VDMC members to check whether the communities are approached and information about the project is shared with them. To verify the amount of field work that has taken place, relevant documents (Resolutions, VDMC/Village profiles, Staff documents) are also examined.

Branding & Marking

To promote the project activities in target districts, RSPN has made use of various marketing tools. During the project launching workshops in each target district banners were displayed to create awareness about USAID Tahafuz project among local community. The participants were also provided stationary items like pens, notepads and folders displaying a project brief with target number of households and budget specifications.

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