As CDAC Network’s four-year project under the UK aid-funded Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) comes to a close, an independent evaluation by The Research People highlights what has been achieved, looks at what has been learnt and provides a set of recommendations for taking these forward. This evaluation report is an useful read for anyone working on collective platforms or common services for communities, looking to design future communication and community engagement programmes or interested in evidence of how networks can influence policy level changes in CwC both at the national and global level.
The project set out to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance through improved two-way communication with disaster-affected populations. An emerging sector in humanitarian relief work, communicating with communities, or 'CwC', is about meeting the information and communication needs of communities affected by disasters – both natural and manmade. The project has developed CwC initiatives, products and approaches in Bangladesh, South Sudan and the Philippines through in-country working groups that managed local projects through a flexible funding mechanism.
Hosted by CDAC Network member World Vision UK with implementation led in Bangladesh by BBC Media Action, in South Sudan by Internews and in Philippines by World Vision Philippines, the project stands as an example of multi-agency collaboration and exchange of learning and practice on CwC both at the national and global level.
The evaluation found that the flexible funding that the national multi-stakeholder platforms had access to helped the platforms develop their own capacity strengthening plans based on gaps analyses they undertook, resulting for example in locally adapted tools and skills in CwC. In Bangladesh the platform, named Shongjog, has also successfully influenced government policies to be inclusive of two-way communication protocols in its responses. The project has fostered an increased awareness of the importance of two-way communication so that, “even new staff are talking about CwC and its significance.”
In South Sudan, establishing a multi-stakeholder platform meant that agencies at the national level that had not collaborated before began to work together and this enabled greater sharing of information and skills on CwC. While in Philippines, the platform undertook innovative work which involved new actors in preparedness work, such as engagement of children through different media platforms.
The evaluation findings conclude that the project has successfully supported collaborative efforts and provided a platform for communicating with communities at the national level and increased tools and resources. However, more work is required in making communicating with communities an integral part of funding mechanisms and also making it more locally-led by including more national and local actors in the design of future projects.
For details of what has been achieved in the project in each of the three countries, discussion on what worked well and recommendations for future programmes download the full evaluation report below.
See also the learning review Preparing the ground for better dialogue, better information, better action: learning from preparedness