LEvel two. prepare FOR THE ASSESSMENT
This level outlines the necessary steps to define where to do the EVCA and then prepare and coordinate with the community to carry it out. The activities to be carried out during this preparation phase are mainly the responsibility of the staff of the National Society that forms the national EVCA team.
The preparation phase is a crucial one. How well you prepare will directly impact on the chances of success of the process and its outputs. Effectively engaging the community and other stakeholders and preparing the team and resources will take time. It is key that the time is taken to do these steps properly.
Step 2. Decide where to do the EVCA
Start by collecting information about the risks and hazards at the sub-national level. Make sure you are not only collecting data on past or current risks but are also considering risks that may change over time. Below are some links to secondary sources that document and show risk indices that can also help to identify high priority risk regions within your country:
2.2 Select target communities
Once you have narrowed down the scope to the sub-national level, the next step is to select the target communities where to undertake the EVCA. It is important that this be based on clear criteria adapted to the context and that there be transparent communication around why you pick some communities and not others.
In an urban setting, identifying the community level can be challenging. In such contexts, it is recommended that National Societies/branches start first by building local coalitions and identifying the most at-risk communities in the city. The section on “Resilience For Whom” of the toolkit is designed to guide National Societies on how to identify vulnerable communities within the city from a systems analysis perspective.
Step 3. Prepare for the EVCA
3.1 Make a work plan and budget
The next step to prepare for the assessment with the community is to plan your actions and create a budget. This should be done by the national EVCA team and subsequently further refined and adapted once the members of the local EVCA team have been selected and trained. Your plan and budget could be captured in the following format:
To the extent possible, it is preferable to already have identified a minimum level of resources that will be available to help implement the community risk reduction action plan and micro-projects before the process starts in order to avoid disappointment when the community action plan is ready. To ensure this, it is important to engage stakeholders (local, national or international) that could fund the projects from the start. See more on this in section 3.3.
3.2 Discuss with community leaders
Even if you have already obtained the consent of the community leaders (during the community selection process), it is important to go back and explain the next steps of the preparation and the assessment. Informing them of the next steps will also be an opportunity to invite them to be part of the team or to get involved in other ways.
Tip! The more time you give the community to genuinely join the process, the better the results.
3.3 Engage other stakeholders at the sub-national and community level
To increase the chances of a successful process, you should have some resources to fund micro-projects. For this, it is important that you engage stakeholders that could fund or support the projects. You might have already engaged stakeholders at the national level in Level 1, but it is now time to continue this engagement and to engage sub-national and local stakeholders as well. Consider inviting key stakeholders to the training and engaging them in the EVCA process.
The following steps and suggestions are proposed to guarantee proper stakeholder engagement:
Map the different stakeholders at the sub-national and local level
Think about how to engage the different stakeholders and what you want to achieve by engaging them.
Organise meetings and sensitise local stakeholders on EVCA.
3.4 Select and train the local EVCA team
It is now time for the national team to select and train the local EVCA team.
Selection of team members
The composition of your local EVCA team is important. Without the right team composition, people may not feel comfortable to open up about their needs, priorities and capacities. Consider practical ways to ensure that the team is gender-balanced and representative of the diversity in the community. You will also need to decide on the team's size. To create the team, start by identifying key champions and volunteers from inside the community. The more they are involved, the greater the chance of community ownership of the EVCA results. Complement the community volunteers with National Society volunteers, staff members and other interested local stakeholders.
Train the local EVCA team
Once the team members have been selected, sufficient time must be allocated to train them on the EVCA. It is vital that the team members understand what the EVCA is and how it should be done. Community work is very specialised and the staff and volunteers must be properly prepared if they are to make full use of the methods, tools and materials at their disposal. One of the key roles of the national EVCA team is to give this training to the local EVCA team.
3.5 Familiarise yourself with the context and compile secondary information
Building upon what is already known is an important part of any assessment and should be done by compiling and analysing existing relevant data from secondary sources. In previous steps, you conducted a context analysis at the national and sub-national level, which means you already have collected some secondary information. Now, you need to build on that process with data at the community level, compiling information that specifically describes the community. The secondary data review tool of the EVCA toolbox will give you more details on how to do this.
If other assessments have already been undertaken in the community by the RCRC or other organisations, it is important that you consider the information from these assessments; it will avoid collecting information that is already available and may save you time during the EVCA assessment phase.
Based on this information, you should start to develop a simple ‘community factsheet’ (see community factsheet in the EVCA toolbox).
3.6 Identify the assessment tools you will use
Beyond the secondary data review and community factsheet referred to above, there are number of tools that can be used in an EVCA. The most common tools have been included in the EVCA toolbox. Many additional participatory assessment tools are available in the old VCA toolbox or sectoral assessment toolbox (see examples in section 7.1.6). In the process of selecting the relevant EVCA tools for your context, remember that there is no single EVCA tool that must be used in each and every context. The selection of tools will depend on which part of the assessment you are in (hazard and exposure assessment, or vulnerability and capacity assessment). Some tools are more appropriate for a specific stage of the assessment. There is no need to use all the tools as time will not allow for this and several tools achieve similar results.
3.7 Identify the composition of community participants
For an EVCA to be balanced and representative, carefully consider who within the community needs to be engaged and how participants and informants are selected. Participants need to be "recruited" based on a clear set of predetermined criteria. The team can use the secondary information and their knowledge of the community to select a representative composition of community participants. In order to be inclusive, make sure to include vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Once you confirm community participation and sensitivities, you can set up each specific data collection event by establishing how many events are required and which team members will lead their collection. For example, if certain ethnic groups are not comfortable speaking in front of each other, a group method such as a focus group discussion would need to be repeated for each specific ethnic group. A group method may also need to be repeated for men and women.
3.8 Develop a schedule
Once you have decided which tools you will use in the different steps of the assessment, it is time to make a schedule for each activity with the community and plan out in detail how you will carry out the assessment with the community. The more time you give yourself, the more likely it is that the community will be “on board”. EVCAs typically run from three days to multiple weeks.
3.9 Invite the community
With a well-informed choice of tools and participants and a good schedule, you should consult the timing of the proposed schedule with the community and formally invite community members to the assessment. Make sure that the information about the assessment date, time, venue, purpose and persons required for each assessment activity is communicated well to all the people in the community. Make sure to also inform marginalised community members so that they know about the assessment and can join. It is also important to invite all relevant stakeholders in the area.
3.10 Prepare the logistics
Reserve the venue(s) and make the transport arrangements for the days with the communities.
Consider what means to use for data collection. You will need different things depending on the context of the communities you will be working with. Consider the technology that is most available and unifying. If every household has a cell phone, or can be provided one for the EVCA, you can organise a very simple household questionnaire using SMS responses. If the EVCA team members are comfortable with computers, consider collecting data using tablets. If you are in a rural isolated community with no electricity, stones and sheets of paper and markers work just fine.
Once you have decided what you need for data collection, make sure you have the necessary data collection equipment and other material you may need: e.g. props, flipcharts, different coloured pieces of paper, pens, maps...
Prepare the tools as much as possible before the assessment: e.g. print or prepare tables for the tools, draw up the templates for the different tools, etc.
Now that you have taken the necessary steps for the preparation of the EVCA, you are ready to start the assessment with the community >>