‘SOMRIDDHI’ ‘SIDR’ - Affected Community Led Action for Livelihood Restoration and Disaster Risk Reduction, Final Evaluation Report – June, 2011
Cooperative Agreement Number 388-A-00-09-00037-00
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CRS and Caritas Bangladesh initiated Somriddhi (SIDR-Affected Community-Led Action for Livelihood Restoration and Disaster Risk Reduction Project), Cooperative Agreement No. 388-A-00-09-00037-00 in April 2009. The goal of the project was that SIDR-affected households have sustained livelihoods. Somriddhi had two main objectives:
1.) Targeted SIDR-affected households earn income throughout the year; and
2.) Targeted flood/cyclone-prone communities successfully protect household and community livelihood assets.
Somrridhi, a two-year project, targeted over 10,000 households affected by cyclone SIDR in 3 Unions of Kolapara Sub district of Patuakhali District in Southern Bangladesh. The project followed an integrated, community-based approach to restoring sustainable livelihoods and community assets. The strategy of the project focused on developing community-based disaster preparedness plans and committees to implement preparedness measures; rebuilding and strengthening of community infrastructure affected by the cyclone through cash-for-work activities, and a voucher-based asset restoration component coupled with training on improved livelihood care practices to restore household livelihood activities.
The objectives of the final evaluation conducted in April 2011 were to:
1.) To determine the appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency, impact, and sustainability of Somriddhi;
2.) To identify good practices and lessons learned from Somriddhi; and
3.) To document the project’s main successes and challenges
The Evaluation Team conducted a final evaluation consisting of a random household survey among 334 beneficiaries, a series of focus group discussions with both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, and interviews with project and partner staff, local government and other stakeholders. The resulted were analyzed and interpreted during a three-day reflection session with the project team.
A summary of the main findings for each of the standard evaluation criteria, the project’s key successes and challenges, good practices and lessons learned are presented below.
The support provided by Somriddhi was highly appropriate in meeting the needs of the households most-affected by SIDR and resulted in both increased household income and community disaster preparedness. Beneficiaries were very satisfied with the support provided. Non-beneficiaries also stated that the project was appropriate for supporting livelihoods and protecting the community from future disasters.
To contribute to household income, the project provided asset vouchers equivalent to 10,000 taka or US$147 which allowed beneficiaries to replace lost assets or purchase new assets. Cattle were the most commonly purchased asset although non-livestock assets, such as tricycle vans and grocery stores, were also included in the list of assets for purchase. The amount of the voucher was established based on the market price for a mature cow during project design. At the time of the voucher fair, the price of mature cows had increased and beneficiaries purchased less mature cows and/ or other assets. The project team concluded that it would have been more appropriate to reflect anticipated market inflation in the project budget to ensure the voucher amount would still be sufficient for a mature cow purchase. The majority of households (88%) purchased less mature cattle with the voucher and nearly all households were able to purchase multiple assets.
To provide additional support to those who purchased cattle, the project trained beneficiaries on cattle care and feeding practices to increase cow health and productivity. The uptake of these cattle care practices has been very high. Beneficiaries stated that they value these practices based on the improvements in the health of their cattle and that they plan to continue these practices into the future.
Additionally, the cash-for-work (CFW) activities initiated during the lean seasons augmented income for beneficiaries while many waited for cattle or other assets to begin to generate income. CFW earnings were most commonly spent on food and cattle feed. These CFW activities also contributed to community disaster preparedness by rebuilding infrastructures damaged during SIDR. The project rebuilt 115 infrastructures, such as raised roads (linked to dykes) that are connected to cyclone shelter, raised school field, ponds, and culverts. In addition, 1,120 households benefited from plinth raising for their home or cattle shed. The raised roads cum dykes were successful in protecting land and crops from saline water in the October 8th and 9th 2010 tidal waves.
The high degree of community participation in Somriddhi was achieved through establishing Ward Disaster Management Committees (WDMCs), Community-Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) help teams and community monitoring committees. Each committee or team included more than half female members and was composed of only project beneficiaries.
The degree of involvement of women in Somriddhi was much higher than what has been achieved by many similar projects. The vouchers were distributed to women to increase their voice in the decisions for assets purchase, women were able to participate in CFW activities due to the provision of child care and other special accommodations, and women represented the majority of those trained in livestock care practices. This approach contributed to increased respect in the household and community for many women.