Ponte Alerta – Building resilience in the Dominican Republic through media and communication.

An interagency initiative implemented in the Dominican Republic (2012-2014) has resulted in the strengthening of community resilience through innovative media and communication initiatives that have targeted at-risk groups — particularly women, children, people of Haitian descent and persons living with disabilities. This has resulted in more inclusive disaster risk management action led by empowered vulnerable groups in this at-risk Caribbean country.

Case Study

Ponte Alerta – Building resilience in the Dominican Republic through media and communication.

HFA Priority

HFA Priority 3: Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels.

Abstract

An interagency initiative implemented in the Dominican Republic (2012-2014) has resulted in the strengthening of community resilience through innovative media and communication initiatives that have targeted at-risk groups — particularly women, children, people of Haitian descent and persons living with disabilities. This has resulted in more inclusive disaster risk management action led by empowered vulnerable groups in this at-risk Caribbean country.

Context

The Dominican Republic is exposed to multiple hazards (floods, landslides, tsunami, earthquakes, epidemics). Key disaster risk reduction (DRR) stakeholders include: provincial and municipal governments; civil defense; the National Institute for Drinking Water and Sewerage (INAPA); the regional education department of the Ministry of Education; and the Association of Municipalities of Valdesia Region (ASOMUREVA). Although they have all shown an interest in DRR, they all have very limited technical capacity (few trained personnel), management capacity (no emergency plans), or capacity to implement their own institutional mandates in relation to DRR (lack of tools).

A lack of policies and plans within INAPA leads to minimal support from the central level to the provinces, a weakness bordering on collapse when it is necessary to respond to emergencies. INAPA’s own emergency plan has not been updated since 1996. Most provincial and municipal actors, while willing, are unable to prepare for or respond to disasters.

Tropical Storm Sandy (2012) revealed a massive failure in leadership at municipal level in particular. Likewise, the elements of an early warning system (EWS) that are present in the province are insufficient for disseminating a widespread alert that might save lives and livelihoods. In addition, there is marginalisation of the population of Haitian descent results living in flood-prone areas with minimal access to services and sanitation and no meaningful emergency management service from the state. Women and children are also excluded from predominantly centralized and militarized DRM planning processes.

Location

Azua Province – Dominican Republic

How was the problem addressed?

The project aimed to strengthen the capacity of communities and state institutions in disaster preparedness and response through innovative awareness raising and community mobilization interventions. It was implemented in the province of Azua, which was badly affected by Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012 as well as many previous hurricanes, earthquakes and a tsunami in 1961.

The project aimed to ensure that the most at risk communities, municipalities and institutions are better prepared to cope with disasters, ensuring the inclusion of groups with specific vulnerabilities: women, children, people of Haitian descent and persons living with disabilities (PWDs). To accomplish this a key objective was to ensure communities have a better understanding of disaster risks, and are better prepared and able to respond to such risks while paying attention to groups identified with specific vulnerabilities (previously listed). Sustainability was developed through the development of work plans for the various actors involved and the securing of institutional commitments to the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Resilient Cities and Safe Schools campaigns.

The project targeted the following actors:

·       Capacity building and DRM action planning – INAPA, municipal DRR Units, municipal DRR committees;

·       Provincial DRR Committees – USAR (BREC), CTPMR, Civil Defence Units;

·       DRM awareness raising - university journalism students, community based mobilisers, transport companies (inter-state buses);

·       Safer Schools - students of the target schools, personnel of the regional education department, national authorities whose staff participate in developing the safer schools tool/index, the students of the safer schools who directly benefit from the existence of emergency plans, committees teaching of risk reduction and teachers and students of the Urania Montas teacher training college.

Results

303 multipliers were trained to provide advice and guidance to the families on the following themes: how to prepare the family emergency plan, self-protection measures for earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and hurricanes. The families were also guided on how to prevent vector-transmitted diseases like chikungunya and dengue fever. Talks on cholera prevention were organised in cooperation with the general provincial health board.

A total of 21,593 people who took part in the DRR awareness and community education activities have become aware of the importance of preparing themselves for emergencies and DRR. Through home visits a total of 15,090 people received house-to-house guidance on self-protection measures. Of these 15,090 people, 7,605 are women and 7,485 are men, 6% are elderly (906), 44% are children under the age of 18, 4% (578) are Haitian nationals, and 133 persons with disabilities were guided in their homes on self-protection measures. In total, the community multipliers visited 3,018 families and each of them prepared their family emergency plan.

A total of nine talks and 13 cinema forums were organised, in which 1,575 and 2,824 people took part respectively. Two of these talks were in Creole to encourage participation by Haitian nationals. Three workshops on community advocacy techniques were held with the aim of providing the communities with tools that will help them to demand that the authorities fulfil their obligations to DRR.

The project made the most of the celebration and commemoration of some special dates to hold mass awareness actions. Two International Women’s Day events were organised, one for the launch of the “Women and Girls in the Context of Natural Disasters” study by Plan and Oxfam, and the other for the screening of a documentary, “Women and Girls, the Visible Force of Resilience.” In both forums a panel of experts spoke about women’s role in DRR, but especially, made a call to the authorities on the importance on incorporating a gender and protection focus during emergency responses.

http://hoy.com.do/ninas-y-mujeres-de-rd-son-mas-vulnerables-en-desastres-discriminacion-es-principalcausa /

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t9Zlsxw87U&index=54&list=PL5OyxVUQm0_jx0do2rDjP116jljXnIQ3l

To mark the start of the 2014 hurricane season, an awareness-raising event was organised in the main park in Azua, with an exhibition of a house simulating the effects of being hit by a hurricane. The partners of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (DIPECHO) in the 2009-2011 Action Plan made this house. Public awareness was raised about the importance of being prepared during this season. During the exhibition, the multipliers explained preparedness actions to passers-by. A total of 103 people took part in this activity. On 10 and 11 June, in coordination with the Comision Nacional de Emergencia (CNE), the Emergency Operations Center (COE) and the Ministry of the Presidency, and in the framework of the national hurricane drill, a training course targeting journalists was organised, where the Director of the Oficina Nacional de Meteorología (ONAMET) explained the concepts related to alerts and information bulletins, and how these messages needed to be translated into simple language for the public to have a better understanding of these alerts.

http://cdn.com.do/noticias/2014/06/11/coe-realiza-simulacro-ante-temporada-ciclonica/.

10 journalists attended this workshop.

Measuring Success

With the aim of raising awareness among the different at-risk population as well as with the authorities, seven communications tools were developed. These tools have been developed through a participatory and innovative approach taking into account the power of media and communications to bring about behaviour change in support of resilience building:

1. Radio advertisements on protection measures: “Be Alert Campaign” – several radio advertisements (“spots”) were made on self-protection methods and were used in the project for a publicity campaign in Azua. For eight months these spots were transmitted via local radio and TV stations. The Child Ambassadors produced a new spot on self-protection measures for hurricanes.

2. Documentary videos: three documentary videos highlighting the impact of disasters on the most vulnerable groups were produced. These documentaries, which were shared and analysed in discussion panels with gender and disability experts, called on the authorities to take measures that guarantee the protection of vulnerable groups particularly persons living with disabilities as well as women and girls. The documentaries produced were:

·       Disability and Disaster – Not Such An Obvious Conversation

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAsfofWGres

·       Women, the Visible Force of Resilience;       

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t9Zlsxw87U

·       22 September – Learning from a Disaster

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kHD3HZEDsE

3. DRR Blog: an advocacy and learning tool developed by the Child Ambassadors, with the support of a consultant. The children and young people designed a blog about DRR in which they post news from their communities and report the lack of action on the part of the authorities, and promote DRR in the province of Azua. This tool has turned out to be innovative, as other young people may be motivated to replicate the work in their communities.

4. Risk-Land: An enjoyable way of learning about DRR is the Riskland game. The child ambassadors with support from staff in the schools where the project was implemented painted the game on the schoolyard floor, so that students and teachers can play it every week and learn about the risks in their communities and how to reduce them. The children say they like the game, because they can gain knowledge, have competitions and play in a healthier way.

5. Get down, cover up and hold on: An enjoyable and lively video clip produced by the Child Ambassadors. Using song and dance the children teach the three essential elements of self-protection in the event of an earthquake. The video clip emphasises the protection measures recommended by the SNPMR in the event of an earthquake, which are: to crouch down, cover and hold on. The children and youth did the words and choreography of the video clip.

6. Capitalization of the “mobile and modular shelters tool” – the project produced a document synthesising the mobile and modular shelters methodology, which was shared and discussed at the DIPECHO regional workshop during an event called “tools market”. During the presentation of the activity, four national systems showed an interest in the tool and expressed interest in adapting it to their contexts. http://www.dipecholac.net/contenido/117-caribbean-dipecho-workshop-2014.html. http://www.dipecholac.net/docs/171-infrastructura-critica/

7. Be Alert Journalism Competition: 10 journalists from the country’s main communications media took part in this initiative, whose objective was to motivate communicators to write DRR related articles. A total of 10 journalistic works were submitted, and the three best ones were awarded prizes. As a result of the competition, the first prizewinner wrote a report on tsunami risk and the lack of evacuation routes and signposting for this type of hazard, after visiting several of the communities of intervention and highlighting some of the work.

http://www.diariolibre.com/noticias/2014/08/29/i768641_periodistas-diario-libre-ganan-concurso-sobre-reduccin-riesgos.html

8. Lastly, an interactive DVD was produced highlighting the project’s best practices, and was shared on the websites of implementing partners.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMRq4b8gb8wJ2RN7q6Wy3h5utbCq-9TWv

Indicators

Targeted journalists and journalism students published fifty journalistic works during the project.

Seven tools/methodologies for community communication were developed and shared.

At the end of the action at least 70% of the populations of target communities (of whom 50% are women) has increased awareness of disaster risks and the protection of vulnerable groups.

Further information on activities

A range of awareness raising and sensitisation strategies for the population most exposed to disasters was developed; 3,018 home visits, 13 cinema forums and nine talks were organised throughout the project. These actions enabled the project to reach a total of 21,593 people who joined these activities. A total of 303 community multipliers, 199 of whom were women, were trained in awareness raising and DRR methodologies. It is worth highlighting the work done by the first group of multipliers, who took charge of motivating and training their peers who joined the project

The multipliers led the awareness raising and sensitisation work. The final knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) report stresses that, “85.5% of the population is more aware of DRR. The adult population with increased awareness of disaster risk totalled 48.6% – 49.01% in the case of women. The percentage of children, adolescents and young people with increased awareness of disaster risk reduction reached 73.77 % of the total”.

The project’s awareness raising activities placed a strong emphasis on protection for vulnerable groups. For this purpose, several activities were held on commemorative dates. As a result of this sensitisation, the persons living with disabilities associations asked the project team for a joint training course for them, the RCMPR and the DC, on how to conduct evacuations in emergency situations. Thirty-one people took part in this activity, 25 of them with some sort of disability. This element is highlighted in the final KAP: “In terms of identifying vulnerable population groups in an emergency, practically all those interviewed recognise that women (96.2%), children (94.7%), elderly people (95.2%) and people with disabilities (94.8%) are the most vulnerable groups, which need to receive special protection during an emergency. Nonetheless, the recognition of the Haitian national population group as vulnerable is mentioned by 65.8% (an increase from 50.2% in the initial KAP), with disabled people and women being the least likely to recognise their situation of vulnerability (57.2% and 62.7% respectively). In this aspect an increase can be noted in comparison with the initial KAP in terms of protection for elderly people, people with disabilities and Haitian nationals, although the last group does still not reach the levels of the other subgroups”.

Relevance to HFA

The project focused on promoting DRR actions that are closely linked with people’s basic rights, especially in crisis situations. At risk groups were empowered to better understand their vulnerabilities to disaster risks and duty bearers were supported through training and tools/technical assistance to respond to the rights of vulnerable groups in emergencies. The project promoted a greater participatory approach to the Dominican Republic’s commitment to HFA and its priority actions.

The project focused on the inclusion of vulnerable groups and some activities aimed at demonstrating the gaps and challenges faced by some of the most at risk groups. Groups who participated were: PWDs – 343, people of Haitian descent – 578, elderly people – 906. According to the KAP, “it is important to highlight how the PMR Committees have taken on the theory, as some have with planning, the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as [persons] living with disabilities.”

The project encouraged women to take leadership roles in some community and municipal structures. It also placed eight women in top management posts of the eight community networks (three coordinators and five sub-coordinators) to promote women’s empowerment. In all, women hold 50% of the management positions. Of the 331 people who make up the RCPMRs, 214 (65%) are women. Women’s participation in community response actions and their decision-making capacity, will better ensure that the child protection approach and that of protecting women themselves is guaranteed in the response. In addition the project was able to create greater understanding amongst men of the need to empower women in DRR and to address their needs, and that of other vulnerable groups in DRM planning.

Potential for replication

Extensive work on the awareness raising, communications and education components was carried out by the project. A total of 303 community multipliers, of whom 199 (66%) are women and 6% are Haitian nationals were trained over three months on how to guide families on disaster preparedness and knowledge of self-protection techniques. These house-to-house visits were supported by teaching and instructive materials developed by the project, with the aim of providing the families with a source of information in their hands. A total of 3,018 house-to-house visits were made by multipliers, reaching a total of 15,090 people, of whom 7,605 are women and 7.485 are men, 6% are elderly, 44% are children under the age of 18, 4% are Haitian nationals and 133 are PWDs, who were advised on self-protection in their homes. The community multipliers visited a total of 3,018 families and each household prepared a family emergency plan.

A total of 13 DRM forums were held, attended by 2,824 people, as well as nine community awareness-raising talks attended by 315 families. Two of the nine talks were in Creole (Los Parceleros and La Bombita), and were attended by 28 families of Haitian descent, with support from RCPMR members and project staff for translation. According to the final KAP, the impact of these actions on the population’s knowledge about disaster risks was demonstrated as follows: “In relation to training on DRR in the community, table 3.12 shows how 44.7% refer to having received information compared to 97.3% of people interviewed in the initial KAP, which recognised not having received any training or instruction on the matter. The group with the highest percentage that mentioned having received training were the Haitian nationals with 57.4% (…) 80.5% of the adults interviewed mentioned knowing self-protection measures in the case of any hazard, compared to 63.8% who said so in the initial KAP. These percentages have also increased among the people with disabilities who were interviewed, reaching 93.2% compared to 45% who in the initial KAP said they knew self-protection measures for facing hazards. In the case of people of Haitian origin, the same change is evident with 88.4% stating they know protection measures compared to 59% in the initial KAP”.

Three workshops on community advocacy were held, with the objective of providing the community members with tools for demanding that State institutions implement DRR actions. A women’s group in the La Bombita neighbourhood demanded that INAPA extend the coverage of the aqueduct to ensure community access to potable water. This demand was resolved by INAPA; before the end of the project, work was already being done on extending the aqueduct. Community members in Palmar de Ocoa also demanded that the municipal council clear the gullies, while the group in Las Charcas secured a donation of food for the summer camp. According to the KAP, in the advocacy themes for the community groups: “A high level of awareness is evident among the networks in Bombita, Parceleros, Puerto Viejo and Palmar de Ocoa on the advocacy capacity that they as networks can conduct with a view to asking the municipal authorities to invest in DRR. In this context they have been identified as the community networks with the greatest capacities and commitment to DRR”.

Making the most of a variety of strategies, extensive dissemination of DRR related messages was achieved by the project. Several public spaces in the communities were used for painting DRR related murals. These messages targeted the population of each targeted community and encouraged residents to carry out preparedness work. 10 murals were painted in several strategic points in the communities.

During the school holidays a DRR summer camp was held in the eight schools were the project was implemented. A total of 331 children, 200 of whom are girls, took part in this camp, which lasted three weeks. At the camp children learned self-protection methods, the meaning and function of the emergency warnings, and how to produce family emergency plans. Each child who attended the camp received a pack of information materials on DRR, developed by DIPECHO (2011-2012) and a basic emergency preparedness kit containing a backpack, a torch, a whistle, a water bottle, a rain cape, and other items. The camp enabled the children to work on the family emergency plans together with their families, as the materials they were given included activities for them to do with their parents. As a result of this summer camp the children and their families prepared 331 family emergency plans. It is worth mentioning the work done by the child ambassadors and the multipliers to obtain the food and some of the information materials from the municipal councils. According to the final project evaluation, the summer camp stands out as a good practice by the project, in as much as it consists of a non-formal space for learning about DRR, and promoting peer-to-peer learning on DRM.

DRR messages were placed on 56 public transport buses, in the province and beyond. This good practice was so successful among the transporters that private car owners as well as taxi drivers asked for the IEC materials with the DRM messages. These buses displayed:

·       19 posters on the Azua-San Juan route which pass through communities in San Juan (Villarpando, Arroyo Salado, Bastidas, Las Guanábanas, Canoa, Los Bancos);

·       10 posters on the Azua route that travels from Azua-Santo Domingo and through 15 communities in Puerto Viejo, Los Jovillos, Proyecto 2-c, Ganadero, Proyecto 4, Sabana Yegua;

Posters were also displayed on seven private taxis that travel to different points around the country, while five posters were displayed on state institutions (Azua Municipal Council, Estebania Municipal Council, Las Charcas Municipal Council, the Celida Perez School).

The children and youth ambassadors group composed several DRM songs that were recorded on a CD. These songs were shared during the Regional DIPECHO workshop held in Jamaica in October 2014. Also, children and young people recorded a video clip “Get down, cover up and hold on” that promotes protection measures for earthquakes. This video was also screened in Jamaica during the communications session as an example of good practice in communications for DRR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woIM8iDt8cc

52 children, 27 of whom are girls (52%), were trained as DRR ambassadors for their communities. Five training meetings took place for instructing the children in DRR and advocacy techniques. In the first meeting the facilitators covered aspects linked to the Children’s Charter for DRR and its five priority points. During the meeting the children were able to identify that these five DRR priorities were not being taken into account by the authorities. As a result of this meeting the children organised several actions to promote advocacy with the local authorities.

Together with the multipliers, the children requested the local authorities to provide for the refreshments and information materials for use in the summer camps. The children also asked the COE for training on the sectoral panels in emergency situations, and the COE designated two technicians who trained the children in one working day. At the end of this training session the children held a drill in the municipal council hall, which they called a Mini-COE, in which they carried out role-plays on taking on the coordination of the sectoral panels. UMdGR technicians took part in this exercise. The children recognised the experience as positive, and according to their comments, they did not know prior how emergencies were managed in the country.

Aware of the fact that school is one of the places where they spend most of their time, and aware that school safety is one of the essential elements of the Children’s Charter for DRR, the children asked the school principals for physical spaces to paint the Riskland game in their schools. The tool has been adapted to the context of each hazard and risk in their communities. This initiative has had a great impact because it has committed teachers to keep up to date on DRR in schools. In order to play the game, the children, with support from the teachers, hold group competitions about knowledge of hazards, risks and capacities in their communities.

Seventy-nine people, including 57 women attended four advocacy workshops. The objective was to provide the community leaders with practical tools for conducting advocacy work on DRR issues.

The work coordinated with the journalists enabled the media to cover the demands of the communities. One of the demands, from the leaders of La Bombita was to supply potable water, as the deficiencies in this service put the population at risk of an epidemiological outbreak. http://montecristi.diariodom.com/articulos/2013-10-24/77702-en-la-bombita-de-azua-se-lanzan-a-las-calles-tras-15-anos-sin-agua-potable.php. After sending several letters and obtaining support from several neighbourhood associations, the community received a reply from INAPA.

http://www.mundosilvestre.net/noticias-de-azua/1552-inapa-promete-resolver-crisis-de-agua-en-azua

The tools have been disseminated via the DIPECHO LAC Facebook page, managed by UNISDR, and the project’s partners’ websites and Facebook pages. The methodologies can be replicated in other countries and this has taken plan in Paraguay, El Salvador and other Latin American countries where partners are implementing DRR work.

Contribution 

Plan Dominican Republic DIPECHO Project Manager – Diana Diaz

Plan Dominican Republic DRM Advisor – Daniel Stothart

Plan UK – DRR & Resilience Advisor – Kelly Hawrylyshyn

Strengthening inclusive DRR in the Dominican Republic

An interagency initiative implemented in the Dominican Republic during 2012-2014 has resulted in the strengthening of community and institutional disaster preparedness in Azua, while ensuring inclusion of groups with specific vulnerabilities, especially women, children, people of Haitian descent and people living with disabilities in disaster risk management (DRM) decision making and resilience building activities. There is evidence of more inclusive DRM action led by empowered local government authorities, many signed up to the Resilient Cities Campaign, who now championing resilience governance in this at-risk Caribbean country.

Title of case study

Warning, informing and including: Strengthening inclusive DRR in the Dominican Republic

HFA Priority Action 

HFA1

Context

The Dominican Republic is exposed to multiple hazards including floods, landslides, tsunami, earthquakes, and epidemics. Key stakeholders in DRR include: provincial and municipal governments; civil defence; National Institute for Drinking Water and Sewerage (INAPA); the Ministry of Education; and the Association of Municipalities of Valdesia Region (ASOMUREVA). They have all shown an interest in DRR but with very limited technical capacity (few trained personnel), management capacity (no emergency plans) or capacity to implement their own institutional mandates in relation to DRR (lack of tools).

A lack of policies and plans within INAPA leads to minimal support from the central level to the province, a weakness bordering on collapse when it is necessary to respond to emergencies. INAPA’s own emergency plan has not been updated since 1996. Most provincial and municipal actors, while willing, are unable to prepare for or respond to disasters. Sandy revealed a massive failure in leadership at municipal level in particular. Likewise, the elements of an early warning system (EWS) that are present in the province are insufficient for disseminating a widespread alert that might save lives and livelihood.

In addition, marginalisation of the population of Haitian descent results in that population living in flood-prone areas with minimal access to services and sanitation and no meaningful emergency management service from the State. Women and children are also excluded from the predominantly centralized and militarized DRM planning processes.

Location

Dominican Republic

How the problem was addressed?

What was done to address the problem?

Who was involved and what role did they play?

What were the main challenges and how were they overcome?

What are the lessons learnt?

What could have been done differently and why?

The project aimed to strengthen the capacity of communities and state institutions in disaster preparedness and response. It was implemented in the province of Azua, which was badly affected by Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012 as well as by many previous hurricanes, earthquakes and a tsunami in 1961.

The project aimed to ensure that the most at risk communities, municipalities and institutions are better prepared to cope with disasters, ensuring the inclusion of groups with specific vulnerabilities: women, children, people of Haitian descent and people living with disabilities.

To accomplish this, the following objectives were set:

1.     Effective management (local, provincial, national) of information in emergency situations where local government actors are engaged in promoting resilient (and inclusive) communities;

2.     Schools are safer and better prepared for disaster response;

3.     Communities have a better understanding of disaster risks, and are better prepared and able to respond to risks while paying attention to groups with specific vulnerabilities (previously listed);

4.     Sustainability was developed through the development of work plans for the various actors involved and the securing of institutional commitments to the UNISDR Resilient Cities and Safe Schools campaigns.

The project targeted the following actors in capacity building and DRM action planning work: INAPA, Municipal DRR Units, Municipal DRR Committees, Provincial DRR Committees, Búsqueda y Rescate en Estructuras Colapsadas (BREC), Comités Municipales de Prevención Mitigación y Respuesta (CMPMR), Civil Defence Units. Staff of the municipal and provincial authorities of Azua (province and municipality), Estebania and Las Charcas have benefited from the development of municipal/provincial DRM committees and units, emergency plans, tools and training. With the acquisition of these skills and resources they are now more empowered to lead DRM interventions that better protect their constituents including marginalized groups from disaster risks.

Results

What was the result of this approach/intervention?

The Azua provincial DRR committee has a provincial contingency plan harmonised at all levels (provincial and local) and tested by an exercise, which considers specific vulnerabilities.

At the end of the project, 16 key institutions in rapid needs assessment are now able to use an updated national emergency needs assessment tool for application within 72 hours after a disaster.

By the end of the project, four target municipalities have CMPMR and operational municipal DRR units capable of effectively conducting their own risk mapping and urban risk assessment as well as municipal emergency plans. 

Four municipalities have signed up for the Resilient Cities Campaign and at least two municipalities have committed to the Children’s Charter for DRR.

Measuring success

What were the key elements of success?

Was the success/impact measured?

If so, what indicators were used to measure?

If not, why not?

At the start of work on updating the Improving Damage and Needs Assessment (DANA) tool, the key officials of Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE) and consortium technical team members set up a “Follow-up Support Team” in charge of supporting and following up the progress of the consultancy, and of establishing close coordination and cooperation with the Consultants’ Team during all the phases of this work. The DANA Form updating process took place in five phases:

1.     Review of expectations and analysis of documents;

2.     Design of a detailed work plan, tools for interviews and mini-simulations and workshops;

3.     Analysis of the problems and a search for innovative solutions;

4.     Design of DANA tools;

5.     Training and validation of the products.

During the review process of the DANA form, two drills were held on the ground, as well as three workshops in which COE technicians, civil defence and fire brigade personnel from Azua took part. 

The objective of these workshops and simulations was to ensure that the tool fitted the information requirements of the institutions that make up the COE sectorial panels for decision-making in emergency situations.

The simulations were carried out in the field, in the communities of:

·       La Bombita, in Los Acostados sector (Complementary DANA);

·       La Bombita, San Miguel sector (Preliminary DANA with card);

·       Puerto Viejo (Preliminary DANA with format) and they simulated the effects of hurricane Sandy.

These simulations yielded the following results: Information gathering using the Preliminary DANA format by a single person took between 45 and 60 minutes. Information gathering with complementary DANA by five people from the provincial level (civil defence, fire brigade, Public Works, INAPA and Public Health) without filling in the needs section took around two hours and 30 minutes. This suggests that the full gathering and reflection on needs would probably take between three and four hours. Data transmission time via radio and telephone was around 15 minutes for the preliminary DANA and 20 to 25 minutes for the complementary (incomplete, the needs section was not gathered). The conclusion from these simulations is that 30 to 45 minutes are needed in order to report a full complementary DANA in all its sections.

The results obtained from these simulations allowed the support team and the consultants to take the following actions: simplify existing DANA formats, provide instructions on the required information, make a verification list for the evaluators to validate the minimum requirements, design small DANA cards for handbag/pocket use with instructions for the preliminary and complementary DANA to hand out in large numbers to all the civil defence volunteers, fire brigade, community networks, etc.

Create capacities for conducting the preliminary DANA through trained information coordinators, who contact community volunteers using a contact list previously prepared at municipal/provincial level and ask questions that follow the preliminary DANA format. Other recommendations have been made to the COE and are in process of implementation.

Following this, the DANA form was used during a national drill for the hurricane season and the tsunami drill by the BREC units, and it was officially used for information gathering during the recent emergency due to floods in Montecristi province in November 2014. 

The tool was shared with other DRR actors during the Regional DRR Platform meeting held in May 2014 in Quito, Ecuador and can be viewed on the COE webpage: http://goo.gl/vajKaL

Relevance to HFA

How have the results contributed to HFA progress in the country?

Did HFA OR Making Cities Resilient Campaign play a role in enabling this initiative?

If yes, how / If no, what needs to be done in HFA2 to enable such initiatives?

The project succeeded in consolidating the formation and training process of the Unidades Municipales de Gestión del Riesgo (UMdGR) and CMPMRs. Four work plans and four emergency plans were prepared led by each of the municipal councils that took part in the project. The accompaniment and cooperation of la Federación Dominicana de Municipios (FEDOMU), and the ASOMUREVA and ADODIN associations in this project are worth highlighting; they encouraged the local governments to take on a stronger commitment to DRR.

The four UMdGRs are made up of 69 technicians of whom 29 are women (42%). In the municipality of Azua and the municipal district of Palmar de Ocoa the UMDGRs are coordinated by women.

The formation and training process was carried out through several workshops and with the advanced course on local risk management, taught by the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), after which the university certified 27 people as local disaster risk managers.

The UMdGRs have been assigned offices in the four municipal councils. The project has equipped these offices with computers and office equipment that will enable them to continue doing their work. One risk map per municipality was prepared, and the UMdGR technicians received specialised training in mapping. Free Google Earth software was installed that will enable the municipal councils to update the maps that were developed as part of the project.

At the end of the project, some UMdGRs and CMPMRs were already executing some actions at their own initiative. The municipal council of Las Charcas, for example, has completed the construction of a building for response institutions. In the sector of La Bombita, the municipal council of Azua is executing mitigation works such as bridge construction and reinforcing the Via River and the Cañada del Diablo (Devil’s Gully). In Palmar de Ocoa, INAPA is installing pipes for supplying drinking water to the sector that is located at the entrance to the beach. In other areas of Azua province similar works are being carried out. The Azua CMPMR is preparing an internal drill in the mayor’s office to assess the municipal councils’ response capacity and to raise awareness on the issue among officials.

According to the conclusions of the Kundalini Awakening Process (KAP), the CMPMRs have changed their approach to emergencies to an increased preparedness vision. “While not all the committees have the same levels of awareness and/or training (as in the case of Estebania and Charcas) most of them have shown a change from a vision and practice centred on emergency and response to a vision and practice centred on prevention, mitigation and response work. This has been helped not just by the training courses received, but also by the accompaniment of the Disaster Preparedness Programme of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Department (DIPECHO) in formulating the plans (RM and emergency/contingency), preparation of maps, evacuation routes, meeting points, provision of response inputs, warning systems or conducting drills, which have enabled the committees and the entities that they consist of to develop PMR capacities and especially awareness and tools for DRR. At present, and in contrast with the initial KAP, the Committees are organised and are no longer spaces that are activated for an emergency (except Estebania and Las Charcas) but have become DRM planning and coordination spaces. On this last point coordination and communication channels and mechanisms with the national COE, other Municipal and Provincial committees and the Community Networks in each area of intervention have been identified (one Network member is on the Committee).

http://www.encontactoconelpueblo.com/2014/05/ironelis-mateo-de-ramirez-vice.html.

The process of strengthening and consolidating the CMPMRs and UMdGRs began with the forum on “DRR ensures resilience on the ground”. The forum took place from 5-6 February 2014 and was led by FEDOMU and the following municipal associations: ASOMUREVA, ASOMUREHI, ASOMURE, ASOMURECIN and ASOMUREN in coordination with UNISDR. A total of 99 people, 33 municipal councils (21 mayors) from municipalities nationwide took part in the event, and the most notable results of the forum were:

 ·       18 officials from municipalities and municipal Districts signed the Children’s Charter for DRR;

·       Two officials joined the Resilient Cities Campaign – Las Charcas and Estebania;

·       11 officials showed an interest in the Resilient Cities Campaign;

·       The Municipalities and Municipal Districts that do not have UMdGRs established their creation as a priority;

·       FEDOMU committed itself, along with other organisations (ASOMUREVA, ASOMUREHI, ASOMURE, ASOMURECIN and ASOMUREN) to follow up on the formation of the UMdGRs, as well as to support training and follow-up on the municipalities and municipal districts that have expressed interest in the campaign;

·       The UMdGR coordinator in San Pedro de Macorís made a commitment to support the Guayacanes Municipal Unit in reviewing the results of the risk analysis on the occurrence of a tsunami, as well as advising them on the preparation of their DRM work plan;

·       Nicolás Guzmán, Director of the El Barro Municipal Council, agreed to commit part of his budget to working on the issue of DRM in his area, and signed the Children’s Charter for DRR while showing an interest in learning more about the Resilient Cities campaign;

·       The Mayor of Jaquimeyes, Domingo M. Florián, committed to continue working on DRR. This municipal district has carried out several mitigation works and will now be allocating part of their budget to DRM;

·       Montecristi Mayor, Luis Mendez stated that “the DRR issue is not a political party issue” and committed to working in his municipality and to organise its UMdGR;

·       Las Salinas Mayor, Luis Concepción Gomez committed to allocating resources and organising a UMdGR.

One area of progress that was achieved with the registration for the Resilient Cities Campaign is that municipalities like San Pedro de Macorís have included risk management in their development planning.

http://www.unisdr.org/campaign/resilientcities/cities/view/3664

http://www.alcaldiadeazua.com/

Potential for replication

Can this initiative be replicated? Or has it already been replicated? If so, where?

Provide a brief explanation on: how, and if there is no potential for replication.

The innovative approach to advance HFA1 implementation in Dominican Republic has been replicated by Plan and OXFAM in Paraguay under the “Chake Out” DFID funded Project.

Contribution by

Plan Dominican Republic, DIPECHO Project Manager – Diana Diaz

Plan UK, DRR & Resilience Advisor – Kelly Hawrylyshyn