Section 5: Key Actions within 6 Months of Disaster


Implementing disaster response

Integrate ERRP into longer term programmes and strategies

Who does this: member/country programme, with support from IHART

Disasters are not one-off events, and ActionAid’s disaster response should contribute to building community resilience to future disasters. To do this, it is important that the disaster response is integrated into the member/country programme’s ongoing work.

This can be done by:

  • Integrating the Emergency Response and Resilience Programme into LRP strategies, the country strategy and annual plans. The box below summarises how this was done in the case of the East Africa drought in 2010-2011.

  • Integrating outcomes from participatory analysis into long-term planning, and continuing building community preparedness and resilience to multiple risks as identified by community members themselves.

  • Where relevant, continuing policy and advocacy work initiated by the Emergency Response and Resilience Programme as part of our ongoing policy and advocacy work at LRP and national levels, accompanied by media and communications strategies as necessary.

  • Exploring possibilities for establishing new LRPs in response areas.

  • If money had been raised through voluntary public fundraising appeals to ActionAid supporters and/or the general public, oversight of the ongoing emergency response moves to IHART when the Oversight Group is disbanded. IHART will support the country programme to establish a long-term fundraising strategy, including contract management, donor management and management and reporting on spending of appeal money.

Here you can find an article on ActionAid’s approach to resilience building and the links to emergency response.

Manage phase-out

Who does this: member/country programme

ActionAid will start integrating phase-out plans from the beginning of the programme. For example, if the community is intended to take over leadership of the programme, this should be conceived at the beginning of the programme. The Emergency Response and Resilience Programme Managers in-country will liaise with donors to ensure that project closures, handover and phase-out are consistent with donor policies, and ActionAid meets all contractual obligations. The Emergency Response and Resilience Programme will clearly define the budget for handover and closures, as well the human resources necessary to carry out activities and handover of assets.

The phase-out plan is developed in collaboration with the disaster-affected communities and should include the following key aspects:

  • Building strong community institutions, particularly women’s leadership and women’s organisations, which can carry forward work initiated by the Emergency Response and Resilience Programme. Phase-out should not be treated as closure of activities, rather a change in leadership.

  • Maintaining all staff details on file so that relevant skills can be redeployed in future.

  • Consultation of local/national labour laws and relevant employment legislation in case of termination of a large number of contracts.

  • Employment of extra security and protection measures (against theft, rodents and bad weather as relevant) to protect ActionAid assets.

  • Update of asset inventories.

  • Notice provided well in advance for all other contracts such as lease contract, bank accounts and vehicle contracts.

  • Submission of all project completion reports such as final report and audit reports well in advance of the programme phase-out/handover. Archive key programme, audit and financial documents for at least the next five years. (Refer to Section 5 for details of financial management practices).

  • All assets to be handed over to local organisations and/or authorities will be properly documented. The condition of the use of assets must be marked in the documentation. The MOU agreed with partners at the outset of the partnership should also clearly spell out how the organisations are going to handle ActionAid’s liabilities, legal obligation and pending legal issues. A sample partner MOU is currently being developed.

Evaluate emergency response and resilience programme

Who does this: member/country programme, with support from IHART

When the Emergency Response and Resilience Programme was developed at the start of the response, plans should have been included for monitoring and evaluation. Monitoring should have been ongoing throughout the programme, and a real time evaluation should have been conducted in the first three months.

At the end of the programme, or when it is integrated into longer-term programmes or strategies, an end-of-programme evaluation should be conducted. The purpose of this is to consolidate learning from the programme, and would ideally be conducted by in-country staff, partners and community members.

A generic ToR for an end-of-programme evaluation which can be adapted for the specific context.

The member/country programme should ask IHART to review the ToR before engaging consultants to carry out the evaluation.

It is also useful to document lessons learned and prepare learning documents, case studies and stories of change. These should be shared with IHART and will be used to inform future emergency response programming, fundraising and profi le building.

Templates and guidance for developing effective case studies are available on the Hive.

Include an evaluation of the structure of the emergency team to ensure that it is still ‘fit for purpose’. Review the roles in the team and ensure that you have the right skills and experience to match the next stage in the emergency response.

Discuss with the team the evaluation findings and outline what specific focus and direction is required for the next phase of the emergency response. Articulate key areas of focus and identify any areas of support required (capacity or competency) and integrate into the key deliverables into the planning.

Repeat at each phase in the process to ensure that the changing circumstances you experience match the team structure at each critical point of delivery.

Develop and share information update at key milestones

Who does this: member/country programme, with support from IHART and International Communications

In advance of important milestones after major disasters (normally one year, but potentially also at the six month stage if a massive disaster with global significance), IHART will contact the member/country programme to request a summary information update of the activities conducted and the impact to date. This is used to communicate to the rest of the organisation and external audiences (donors, supporters, media) how ActionAid has contributed to the disaster response. A sample template for the report is included here for information, but IHART will send a tailored template to the member/country programme at the appropriate time.

At the same time, the International Communications Team will link with ActionAid affiliates to assess the communications needs of the wider federation around the emergency milestone. If colleagues across the federation plan on using the milestone as a hook with which to feedback to supporters/engage in media or other communications work, the International Communications Team will work with the member/country programme to develop appropriate communications products (case studies, photos, blogs, digital content, film footage, Q&As, etc.) and will coordinate dissemination of this material across the federation. The International Communications Team is also responsible for supporting in-country activities around key milestones of the emergency response (eg national/regional policy/advocacy, report launches, media activity etc.).