The goal of this evaluation is to improve the understanding of the Urban Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programming carried out in Latin America and The Caribbean, and supported by the United States Agency for International Development's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA). The study focused on eight DRR projects awarded by USAID in Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, and Peru, between FY2012 and FY2016. The projects applied the USAID Neighborhood Approach (NA) to find practical and workable solutions for DRR in densely populated informal urban settlements.
Two objectives and specific questions were defined for this evaluation: (1) the effectiveness and (2) the sustainability of the NA. The study comprised an extensive literature review, followed by a mixed research method, including surveys, focus groups, and interviews; disaster risk modeling; georeferencing analysis; and engineering inspections. Finally, an integrative process—triangulation—was used to analyze the data obtained from multiple theoretical positions.
The study confirmed that neighborhoods are a living fabric of social, economic, and physical features that provide the residents of a particular territory with an identity, a sense of security, safety, and familiarity. The USAID-NA expands the consideration of DRR interventions beyond individuals and households to a settlement approach, addressing critical disaster risk drivers and development gaps, and encouraging a long-term vision. The study showed the need to balance physical and social interventions to match individual and collective needs, support community cohesion and self-determination, and meet expectations associated with the common good and community resilience.