Between late June and early August 2021, several NGOs through the Start Fund undertook flood-related anticipatory activities aimed to protect property, assets and livelihoods from damage; and which capacitated communities and local services to better act in their roles as first responders, in communities across four states in Sudan.
This study examines the impact of the community-based anticipatory interventions primarily by comparing perceptions on impact of community members in the villages targeted in Blue Nile, Sennar and Khartoum states with perceptions of those from control villages which were not targeted by the project. The assessment incorporated mixed methods and a desk review of current literature. In particular, a structured questionnaire was administered to a sample of persons residing in the studied communities.
The results of this Impact Assessment confirm that anticipatory action made a significant difference to the targeted communities by helping them to avoid damage and risks associated with flooding, and increasing the coping capacity of particularly vulnerable households which were prioritised for various NFI assistance and fast-maturing seed distribution.
In particular, anticipatory actions helped reduce the damage to shelters, facilities and infrastructure as well as reduce the prevalence of flood related diseases especially malaria. Anticipatory actions also had tangible benefits on livelihoods, not only reducing the damage that floods caused to crops and livestock but improving access to income for supported communities. For example, ‘cash-for-work’ interventions to conduct disaster risk reduction works such as clearing drainage systems and filling sandbags, provided additional income which supported improved food security. Overall, the multi-sectoral nature of the intervention appears to have been positive as the benefits compound and layer on to each other, reducing risk exposure and vulnerability of communities.
The assessment showed that communities appreciated the high level of community engagement integrated within the project, and clearly demonstrates the importance of adapting project design according to communities’ expressed priorities, in order to provide the most relevant and effective package of support.
Further investment in community-based anticipatory action, especially if complemented by longer-term risk reduction and resilience-building actions, will significantly reduce risk exposure and vulnerability to flood hazards.