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ECB Project on TwitterRT @Oxfam: Disasters happen but the #inequality of risk is no accident. Our new report on #resilience http://t.co/XDMrZ3eK7r #climate 4 hours ago
ECB Bolivia expands membership and works collaboratively on Accountability & Impact Measurement practices
"The problem was that there was no water to drink, so I asked for water and received a ceramic filter and an explanation how it worked. For me it was not possible to go to the camp in St. Ana like other village members because my animals would have died in the floods, so I stayed in the community and saved my pigs by staying at my little house on top of a small camalleon” Don Carlos explains during a men’s focus group in the Caricacho community of the Beni region in Bolivia.
Four times the size of Switzerland, the Beni department is a lowland savanna and forest area that forms part of the Amazon River basin. Every year this region suffers from floods, due to the melting snow from the Andes, and seasonal rains. Whilst the district capital St. Ana and the department capital Trinidad are located on elevated areas, many of the small communities such as Caricacho are not. Indigenous inhabitants such as Don Carlos still retain traditional knowledge and skills about how to deal with the floods. However, increasing numbers of settlers from the highlands are not accustomed to extreme floods and drought. When the floods arrive they leave behind their belongings and go to temporary camps in St Ana or Trinidad, instead of learning how to cope with the situation in their own community.
Save the Children also has a project in the Beni working with local schools to develop disaster response and preparedness practices. Visited by an inter-agency team from La Paz, the groups began to look at both accountability and impact measurement at Save the Children, Oxfam and FUNDEPCO's local programs. The teams spoke with children and representatives from a local school to learn about a preparedness evacuation plan that was clearly depicted in bright colours on the wall of the school.
Before traveling to the Beni, the Accountability workshop representatives* worked together over two days to define and review their key elements of accountability to beneficiaries, and considered how to measure impact in the Bolivian context. The core theme throughout both the workshop and field visit was the “Good Enough” approach based on the ECB Project Good Enough Guide to Impact Measurement & Accountability. Participants prepared for the workshop by mapping their own NGO systems, and completed a self-evaluation of their accountability capacity using an adapted CARE evaluation format.
Participants maintained a positive enthusiasm to learn and share experiences and organization practices during both the workshop and field visits. The group built trust and together developed a new energy to forge closer alliances as part of the founding ECB Project NGO group* and newly formed Consortium of Bolivian Humanitarian Agencies**. Together they overcame logistical and time pressure challenges as the group tried to balance the training, evaluation and assessment requirements in the northern Beni region whilst at the same time dealing with a food security situation in southern Bolivia. Joint evaluation results were shared with the national and regional government authorities and the UN.
It became clear that multi-tasking was a key skill for the group as was the ability to listen to different partner and beneficiary NGO perspectives. By the end of the workshop, the group committed to replicating their learning and best practice within their own agency departments and partner NGOs. They also discussed plans to adapt the new ECB Good Enough Guide communications materials to the Beni communities and other regions over the next year.
This article was written by Hauke Hoops, CARE Regional Emergency Coordinator Latin America, Caribbean & Panama and edited by Andrea Stewart, ECB Communications Manager. The workshop and field trip was supported by Dr. Vivien Walden, Oxfam Global Humanitarian MEL Adviser.
*Includes Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision, CRS, and CARE staff.
**The Consortium of Bolivian Humanitarian Agencies was formed in September 2010. It includes the five founding ECB Project agencies together with new partners including ACH, Christian Aid, HelpAge and Plan. This photo taken during the Consortium annual strategic review in February 2010.