This month's Reconstruction Community Perception Survey results demonstrate a significant improvement in the perceptions of earthquake affected people, in the six months since the last round of data collection in June 2016. Perceptions of progress in the reconstruction have jumped from 22 percent to 49 percent reporting to feel they have seen progress in this time. Overall, the earthquake affected communities are more positive about reconstruction efforts. This information will provide an important baseline for the perceptions of communities as the reconstruction process continues to move forward. The Common Feedback Project (CFP) monthly reports will be able to provide vital insight to practitioners as the needs and issues evolve.
While overall, this report reflects more positive perceptions, there is one significant negative point that has emerged and must be addressed. For the first time in the 18 months CFP has been collecting data and releasing Community Perception Reports, female respondents are persistently more negative than male respondents, on every single question. Women report having seen less progress, having received less support, they have less information about how to get support, less knowledge about safer building practices and they are less likely to have consulted an engineer. They are also less likely to have started, or completed, their reconstruction. This raises concerns about the marginalization and exclusion of women throughout the reconstruction process.
Some additional concerns about misunderstandings surrounding important processes and components of the reconstruction also emerge. For instance, 19 percent of respondents say that they are waiting for the second tranche to begin reconstruction. This also came up in last month's focus group discussions, where participants expressed that they did not feel the first tranche was enough to start building, and they didn't want to take the money out and accidentally use it for something else, so they planned to let the tranches accumulate in their bank account until it was enough to build with. This demonstrates that a significant proportion of the affected population does not understand that they need to build a foundation in compliance with the National Building Code or Approved Minimum Requirements in order to get the second tranche. Partner organisations that have submitted their beneficiary feedback to the CFP have also highlighted this issue of confusion with the grant process. There is also some evidence that communities do not understand the services of government hired engineers for consultation and inspection are free to them, or even how to request technical assistance.
Make a concerted effort to bring women into the reconstruction process as agents of their own recovery and reconstruction, not observers. This means by effectively targeting them with critical reconstruction information, ensuring they have access to support, removing barriers to accessing the grant funds and providing trainings on safe reconstruction. During last month's focus group discussions many participants requested that mason training be held in their communities for women. The logic of the communities requesting this was that women were less likely to go abroad for work, as many of the younger men who had already been trained have now done, and therefore the supply of skilled labour would remain in their community for reconstruction. Organisations that are training masons could consider adapting their training package to meet the specific needs of women, given their traditional roles in the household and community, in order to train female masons.
Continue to combat misconceptions about the grant process through multiple communications channels that have been proven to be effective. Ensure clear messages are going out about the preconditions for the second tranche, inspections, and most importantly: how to access technical assistance.
Technical assistance should be expanded to ensure all homeowners have access to an engineer consultant before beginning their reconstruction project. Currently, the lack of availability of engineers is cited as a major reason for delays in reconstruction. Technical assistance particularly targeting women shouId also be conducted, to ensure women have equal access to the information they need.