India + 3 more

South Asia: Tsunami 36 months after

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Introduction

In reporting on this third anniversary of the tsunami and Plan's participation, the theme is not infrastructural provision but how Plan's approach of Child Centred Community Development or CCCD worked in an unprecedented natural disaster situation.

The photograph on the cover is thematically significant. It shows four children from Thailand at an early childhood care and development (ECCD) centre. These children were born around the time of the tsunami but their adult memory will probably have little space for the tsunami experience. Yet it was the tsunami which was responsible for Plan's intervention, resulting in a greatly improved ECCD. This will significantly impact these children and many cohorts of children after them.

It is this theme of creating sustainable change through CCCD which is illustrated in this report. This is based on an examination of Plan's operations in the four countries, conducted by external consultants to offer a relatively independent view of Plan's work.

The consultants' investigations indicate that the theme of sustainable change was not something that everyone involved with Plan necessarily had a conscious awareness of, in day to day operations. Instead the consultants found that the concept of sustainable change has so embedded itself in Plan's working philosophy that even in a post-disaster situation, which was unpredictable both in intensity and coverage, Plan's operations appear to have been driven by its requirements.

This embedded working philosophy manifested itself in many ways. In India, this report shows, through the eyes of one child, how Plan's operations have changed the community through a host of measures stretching from trauma relief in Children's Clubs to social equity auditing of Plan's operations. In Sri Lanka, a relatively miniscule investment in the Happy Sad Boxes was complemented by significant investment in training of counsellors. This significantly changed the way in which school authorities view children. In Thailand, Plan's work with supporting Department of Education initiatives stimulated wonderful work by children as well as community development, through inclusion of local content in the national curriculum. In Indonesia, the "Little Doctors" programme yielded impressive outcomes both in terms of trauma reduction and in injecting principles of hygiene into communities through the learnings children carried into the home.

This report may help Plan to examine the ways in which its CCCD strategies can be further strengthened. Often, it is only through hindsight that one can engender foresight. The process of acquiring hindsight often provides the insights that help to illuminate strategies for the future. This report is about that process.