Moving In and Out of Emergencies
MOVING IN AND OUT OF EMERGENCIES: HOW THIS AFFECTS HEALTH AND NUTRITION ACTIVITIES IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
Monday, 18 November, 2013
Panelists: Kerri Agee, Catholic Relief Services, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Noro Hasina Ratsimbazafy, Resiliency Coordinator, Strengthening and Accessing Livelihood Opportunities for Household Impact (SALOHI) Program, Catholic Relief Services, Madagascar; Adriane Seibert, Nutrition Senior Specialist, Save the Children; Moderator: Circe Trevant, Independent Consultant
Many countries are experiencing frequent short-term emergencies or extended cycles of emergencies. This has an effect on development programs in many ways. In this session, a panel of presenters from three different country contexts (DRC, Madagascar and Niger) shared their experiences and discussed how this affects their program planning, communication with communities, etc.
Niger: The presenter explained that emergencies can divert resources from development, including staff going into the emergency. Programs try to support coordination between emergency and development, but there are challenges. Program coordination needs to start at the community level.
Madagascar: Madagascar is an island whose major disasters are flooding and storms, especially in the south. Best practices in dealing with emergencies include linking the early recovery activities (2-6 weeks long) with the program to not disturb the community or other activities, and allowing the community to take some control, so they don’t depend on NGOs. Of course there are also challenges, such as spreading information in areas where telephones are down or roads are blocked, and coordinating between the humanitarian and development teams, as their approaches often differ.
Congo: When the M23 group arrived in 2012, the crisis worsened. Roads were very bad, and communication with the beneficiaries suffered. For example, people who were not registered would arrive to receive food, and transport of the food was not always possible given the insecurity. Program modifications included increasing the number of food distribution centers, and giving food every two months instead of every month. Leader mothers were key in this effort, as they were able to make the program run smoothly and communicate important information about breastfeeding and cooking balanced food.