3. What to do: Response options


Before assessment

  • Determine and clearly state the objectives of the assessment.
  • If you can, inform the local community and local authorities well before the assessment takes place.
  • Include both women and men in the project team.
  • Make a list of vulnerable groups to be identified during the assessment.
  • Check what other NGOs have done in that community and get a copy of their reports.

During assessment

  • Introduce team members and their roles.
  • Explain the time frame for assessment.
  • Invite representatives of local people to participate.
  • Create space for individuals or groups to speak openly.
  • Hold separate discussions and interviews with different groups, e.g. local officials, community groups, men, women and local staff.
  • Ask these groups for their opinions on needs and priorities. Inform them about any decisions taken.
  • If it is not possible to consult all groups within the community at one time, state clearly which groups have been omitted on this occasion and return to meet them as soon as possible. Write up your findings and describe your methodology and its limitations. Use the analysis for future decision-making.

During project design

  • Give the findings of the assessment to local authorities and the community, including the village committee and representatives of affected groups.
  • Invite representatives of local people to participate in project design.
  • Explain to people their rights as disaster-affected people.
  • Enable the village committee to participate in project budgeting.
  • Check the project design with different groups of beneficiaries.
  • Design ‘complaints and response’ mechanisms.

During project implementation

  • Invite local community, village committee and local authorities to participate in developing criteria for selecting beneficiaries.
  • Announce the criteria and display them in a public place.
  • Invite the local community and village committee to participate in selecting beneficiaries.
  • Announce the beneficiaries and post the list in a public place.
  • Announce the complaints and response mechanisms and forum for beneficiaries to raise complaints.

During distribution

  • If recruiting additional staff for distribution, advertise openly, e.g. in newspaper.
  • Form a distribution committee comprising the village committee, government official(s) and NGO staff.
  • Consider how distribution will include the most vulnerable, such as disabled people, elderly people, and other poor or marginalised groups.
  • Give the local authority and local community a date and location for distribution in advance where safety allows.
  • List items for distribution and their cost and display the list in advance in a public place.
  • To include people living a long way from the village or distribution point, consider giving them transport costs.
  • To include vulnerable people, for example pregnant women, distribute to them first.
  • Ensure people know how to register complaints.

During monitoring

  • Invite the village committee to participate in the monitoring process.
  • Share findings with the village committee and community.

On 15 August 2007, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Peru, killing more than 500 people and leaving more than 75,000 families homeless.

CARE Peru worked closely with authorities, community leaders and existing community institutions in assessment; selection of beneficiaries; distribution and monitoring of relief items; and implementation of emergency water, sanitation and shelter programmes.  In some cases, CARE identified women leaders who had mobilised as a result of the situation.

In the case of a latrine project, the community formed a new water and sanitation committee if one did not already exist. Community members were consulted on a number of design issues. Communities were consulted on the type of latrines for their community and families chose the position of their family latrine and wash basin along with the project engineers. A temporary shelter model was erected in the town square to solicit feedback from affected families.

Communities were asked to contribute through labour or materials for a variety of projects, from helping construct temporary shelter to providing community transport for latrine materials. Community members also took part in a three-stage health and hygiene training as part of the latrine project.

During the second phase, strengthening community-level organisation became a more explicit objective of CARE’s response. CARE also began working with district-level authorities on disaster risk management. Investigation and resolution of complaints was another key way that community members were involved. Monitoring visits included individual interviews and focus group discussions with different community groups. Women in the highland areas were very welcoming of these opportunities to discuss their opinions. Stakeholder feedback was a critical element of external evaluations commissioned by CARE.