Photo credit : Glen Pakoa/Oxfam in Vanuatu
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural-hazard related disasters and climate change. The UN World Risk Index, which measures exposure to natural hazards and the capacity to cope with these events across 171 countries, places SIDS at the top of its ranking. In addition to the limited capacity to respond to natural-hazard related disasters, these countries are more frequently hit by extreme weather events than larger countries and their economic costs are on average much larger. Climate change is already increasing the intensity, frequency and impact of such events.
From 2017 to 2022 the Australian government funded ‘Disaster READY’, the largest investment ever made toward disaster preparedness in the Pacific, and Timor-Leste. Oxfam Australia was a key implementing partner in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Timor-Leste, where its staff and partners worked to strengthen disaster preparedness capacities of communities, civil society organisations and national disaster management authorities.
As the five-year program approached its end in June 2022, Oxfam commissioned IRMA to evaluate the program and provide findings and recommendations for the new program design. The focus of the evaluation was on how the partnership model Oxfam developed for the program influenced its relevance, effectiveness, impact, efficiency, and sustainability.
The evaluation concluded that the program achieved its objective of enabling communities to become better prepared for rapid and, to a lesser extent, slow-onset disasters, and that they have a fuller understanding of risk, are better organised in committees to manage such risks and are more connected with governmental authorities.
The partnership model played a crucial role in the accomplishments. It facilitated coordination between national NGOs and their international partners, engaged communities and their leadership in DRR strategies, and gave a much-needed impetus to the localisation of humanitarian leadership. It also enabled specialist organisations to provide technical leadership on disability-inclusive DRR and start to change attitudes and practices within Oxfam, local governments and other stakeholders.
IRMA’s team for this project was Marilise Turnbull, Charlotte Sterrett, and Leonesia Tecla (Associate Researcher for Timor Leste).