Evaluation of the ECHO’s disaster preparedness programme in South East Asia

by | Jun 15, 2007

In late 2006 Aguaconsult won a competitive tender to lead an evaluation of ECHO disaster preparedness plans (or DIPECHO) from 1998 to 2006 and subsequently managed a team which visited three countries to carry out field visits and interview implementing partner staff. This region includes a range of country contexts suffering subject to severe and repeated natural disasters, but also involving important transitions from situations of chronic conflict. DIPECHO Action Plans for SE Asia at the country level have evolved from aiming to cover a broad range of disaster management activities and trying to make impact at all levels (regional, national and local), to focusing more on interventions at community level, with specific emphasis on community-based participatory approaches to DP.The evaluation found that the majority of projects were well managed and utilised resources efficiently. Furthermore, DIPECHO funding of preparedness was found to be instrumental in promoting the practice of DRR at a time when few other donors were active. Despite limited funding and the extensive geographical spread over an eight year period, this investment contributed to a major proportion of lessons and experience around disaster risk reduction in the region. Small-scale, low cost mitigation projects were widely implemented and successfully demonstrated the appropriateness and effectiveness of this strategy. The DIPECHO programme generated numerous replicable DRR strategies and excellent community-based projects, including methodologies, tools and processes that enabled communities to better prepare for and mitigate natural disasters. The added-value developed by DIPECHO through these Action Plans has been recognised by other key institutional players involved in DRR (e.g. the World Bank).However, despite these successes, the evaluation also found that DIPECHO’s goals in the region are likely to be constrained by its mandate, which is limited to promotion, demonstration and initiation of disaster reduction pilot activities. Longer-term and widespread impacts of the programme will not be achieved unless scaling-up and replication of successful demonstration and pilots is undertaken. Greater efforts at documentation and dissemination of DRR lessons learnt by DIPECHO and its partners are required. Leverage by partners themselves is insufficient to influence the major stakeholders to include DRR in their policy, strategy, legislation and long term development plans (e.g. local and national governments, and international donors

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