Publications

Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction : Investing in Resilience. A report prepared for Cordaid

Gordon, A.N.

Summary

Cordaid has been supporting community-managed disaster risk reduction (CMDRR) and drought cycle management (DCM) in the Horn of Africa for eight years. Many evaluations have pointed to successful outcomes but quantitative data are scarce. The aim of this study was to verify the extent to which Cordaid’s CMDRR/DCM work has contributed to building more resilient communities. Cordaid wanted to know more precisely what its added value is, compared to relief assistance. This was considered particularly timely given the recent (severe) drought situation in the Horn of Africa. This report is based on work undertaken in Kenya and Ethiopia in late 2011 and early 2012. A wealth of largely qualitative evidence is presented to support the finding that CMDRR can indeed build resilience. Importantly, many CMDRR communities themselves attest to being more resilient as a result of CMDRR. However, measuring those results is difficult. In common with other approaches, CMDRR helps communities strengthen physical assets for resilience (water development, pastures, animal health care etc.) but its “edge” may be in the emphasis it places on intangible assets (capacity-building in “soft” skills such as representative process for community organisation and planning) – as the means by which to ensure that interventions are demand-led, well-managed by the community and hence sustainable. Measuring the potentially far-reaching impacts of those “process” assets requires the development of robust monitoring systems to follow communities over a number of years.