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REACH Completes Rapid Assessment for Shelter and CCCM Clusters in Iraq

Following the declaration of a level 3 emergency in Iraq on August 14th, the most severe type of humanitarian crisis, REACH has been working with the Shelter and Camp Management and Camp Coordination (CCCM) Clusters to complete a rapid assessment of households displaced by conflict in Iraq.

The assessment was conducted as part of REACH’s long-standing agreement with the global Shelter Cluster, and surveyed households across the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where over 860,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are currently staying, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNOCHA.

The report outlines the immediate needs of those displaced, with a focus on shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) for winterization programming. While  assistance was found to be widespread, the assessment found that few IDPs are prepared for the upcoming winter, with widespread lack of access to heating, and insufficient access to blankets and winter clothes. The need to address this will be particularly pressing for the most vulnerable IDP families, who are staying in collective shelters, camps, unfinished buildings and in the open air.

The assessment findings will directly inform the Humanitarian Needs Overview, due to be released in early September 2014, the inter-agency Strategic Response Plan, and general humanitarian programming for the current internal displacement crisis in Iraq. A follow-up key informant assessment is currently underway throughout the central and southern areas of Iraq, where household-level data collection is impossible due to limitations on humanitarian access as a result of the current security situation.

Read the full CCCM and Shelter Cluster Rapid Assessment Report, September 2014 

For more information, see the full list of reports and factsheets form REACH for the Iraq IDP crisis

Innovative assessment tools for the Syrian refugee response

REACH has pioneered an innovative new sampling methodology in northern Jordan, using mobile phone applications and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The methodology forms part of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Jordan Emergency Services and Social Resilience Project (JESSRP), funded by the World Bank. With the protracted Syrian refugee crisis extending into its fourth year and a total of 619,376 Syrian refugees now residing in Jordan,[1] the project provides support to municipalities by improving their capacity to deliver services and respond to external shocks, and to foster improved social cohesion and resilience in communities hosting Syrian refugees. Within this framework, REACH is responsible for assessing sixteen municipalities in the northern governorates of Al Mafraq, Irbid and Zarqa, nine of which have been selected for intervention by the World Bank.

To ensure that a random sample is selected across targeted municipalities, REACH Jordan’s GIS team generated randomized GPS points within the selected communities. Using the GPS on their mobile phones, field teams were able to locate the GPS points on the ground with ease. Enumerators conducted household surveys in each of these locations, using the Open Data Kit (ODK) application to record the data collected. The app is easy to use and avoids some of the problems associated with traditional paper forms, such as incomplete or illegible answers. It also saves time on data entry, as completed forms can be uploaded to a server in a matters of seconds.

“It is always important that data collectors are fully aware of the rationale behind using a certain methodology” explains the project coordinator, Hazim Rawashdeh, “If there is a lack of understanding then this will negatively affect their performance and the quality of the data. For this reason, I provided a comprehensive training session on the methodology before the assessment began.”

For field coordinator Amal Olimat, this was the first GIS-based methodology she had worked on since joining REACH. “It gives the field teams a strategic ability to plan ahead using maps and the MapFactor app in order to reach their target on schedule”, she explains “I feel very proud to be working on this methodology.”

While simple in theory, reaching some of the randomized GPS points proved to be more challenging in practice. During the questionnaire pilot, there were a number of GPS points that could not be accessed by field teams for security reasons, requiring the field team leaders to think quickly. Addressing these challenges is an important part of the daily debriefing session, explains Rawashdeh, “during data collection we allocate time every day to hear feedback from the field teams and address any concerns. Field Coordinators contact me to report any unusual incidents or problems faced in the field.”

Throughout the data collection process, the progress of the enumerators was tracked by REACH GIS Specialists in Amman, who produced weekly maps for each municipality to monitor and update the field teams. This innovative GIS-based methodology is paving the way for Assessment and GIS teams to collaborate more closely on sampling strategies in the future, combining their expertise and implementing more effective assessments to inform humanitarian action.

[1] UNHCR, data.unhcr.org [20.10.2014].

The tools and methodology described above contributed to the Baseline Factsheets for the Jordan Emergency Services and Social Resilience Project.

IMPACT Initiatives Graphic Design & Communications Intern, Geneva

IMPACT Initiatives is hiring a Graphic Design & Communications Intern, based in Geneva, to support both the REACH Initiative and IMPACT Initiatives.

The successful candidate will be part of the global team of a young and dynamic humanitarian think tank, and contribute to the development of information products that inform humanitarian action in crisis situations worldwide.

On successful completion of the internship, the right candidate may also have the opportunity to undertake a further internship with one of the REACH or IMPACT Initiatives field operations.

Click here to read the full Terms of Reference for the IMPACT Initiatives Graphic Design and Communications Intern.

To apply, please send, in English, a cover letter, CV, and three references to geneva@reach-initiative.org and with “Application for IMPACT Graphic Design & Communications Intern” as subject of your email. Submission deadline: 30/11/2014

REACH Releases New Report on Climatic Extremes and Early Warning Systems in Chad

The Lake Fitri Drainage basin in Eastern Chad is home almost two million people, whose lives are affected by floods and droughts every year. In an area already affected by conflict and rebellion, these extreme weather events are severely impacting the resilience of the local communities. The BRACED project, funded by the UK Department for International Development, DfID, seeks to strengthen people’s capacity to respond to flooding and drought in the Sahel belt, but significant information gaps exist about reality of climatic extremes and coping mechanisms in this area.

REACH conducted an assessment of the impact of floods and droughts in the Lake Fitri area, in partnership with ACTED and Chora, a Chadian NGO. The project examined the capacity of local authorities to monitor and effectively respond to climatic shocks, as well as the coping strategies of local communities. By gaining a better understanding of how communities are currently responding to floods and droughts and identifying areas that need improvement, the report contributes to the aims of the BRACED project: to strengthen the capacity of at least 335, 000 people living along river banks in the Chadian Sahelian belt to better withstand flooding and drought.

 Using the findings of this report, under the remit of the BRACED project, ACTED and its partners aim to address these gaps and assist in building people’s capacity to respond to these crises at both the national, regional and local levels.

The final report is available here: Extreme Climate Events and Early Warning Mechanisms in the Lake Filtri Drainage Basin, Chad, September 2014