Impacts of increasing community resilience through humanitarian aid in Pakistan (June 2019)

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Extreme weather events and natural disasters, like floods and earthquakes, can cause great losses in human and physical capital. The impact of these events can be particularly disastrous on developing countries that are often under-prepared for such emergencies. Catastrophes have often severely impacted poor and vulnerable populations, and have led to recurrent humanitarian disasters in the past years. They intensify existing vulnerabilities in communities such as lack of proper shelter, livelihoods and sanitation, thereby contributing to the spread of disease and malnutrition.

This impact evaluation sheds light on whether and how vulnerabilities to negative shocks can be reduced. To study this question, we collaborated with ACTED, a humanitarian non-governmental organisation that operates in areas affected by political and economic crises as well as those affected by natural disasters. It has vast experience of humanitarian interventions during crises such as those in Darfur, Nepal and Syria.

For this study, we worked with ACTED-Pakistan, as Pakistan is one of the world’s most severely affected countries with regard to natural disasters. Disasters in Pakistan leave behind critical supply gaps and further vulnerabilities within affected communities. Natural disasters are often followed by chronic malnutrition. In this setting, humanitarian aid interventions that target areas facing a high likelihood of exposure to natural disasters or emergencies are key to preventing degradation of already fragile communities and making them more resilient to future disasters.

This evaluation report focuses on understanding the impact of interventions aimed at capacitating communities in the face of humanitarian emergencies caused by natural or weather-related disasters. This report captures the impact of the basic humanitarian aid package, a residual recovery and preparedness programme delivered by ACTED in two rural districts of Sindh in 2016, in its first year of implementation. The package includes interventions in shelter and non-food items, water sanitation and hygiene, and food, security and livelihoods. The purpose of the interventions is to build local capacity, meet life-saving needs, support communitylevel recovery and enhance resilience for future events.

This report shows evidence of the basic humanitarian aid package’s socio-economic impacts and adapted behaviour among beneficiaries of the capacity-enhancement training delivered by the NGO. Overall, treated villagers are more likely to have safe shelters, better sanitation and safe water, and can implement the new fertility and livestock management techniques. With the help of three-year panel data and a random allocation of village clusters into the programme, we are able to show that the effects persist even one year after the programme ended in the respective areas. Additionally, we also found that these interventions translate into a higher likelihood for villagers to own livestock and face fewer shelter damages in areas affected by extreme weather events.