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Syria: Monthly Market Monitoring reflects how local markets cope with the conflict in Northern Syria.

The Syrian conflict has led to devastating effects on the country’s economy, posing complex challenges to local economies as well as the ability of households to meet their basic needs. Better access to markets, together with income-generating opportunities, are critical components of the humanitarian response and early recovery efforts. As several actors have adopted cash based interventions, an understanding of the volatility of markets, and their ability to cope with on-going shocks, has been a key priority of the Cash-Based Responses Technical Working Group (CBR–TWG). Through this platform, and in coordination with partners, REACH has been conducting monthly monitoring of key commodities and restocking capacity in the governorates of Idleb, Lattakia, Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa, Deir-ez-Zor, al-Hasakeh, and previously Hama. Many of the evaluated commodities are components of the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB), containing Food Items, Non-Food Items (NFIs), Fuel and Water, which defines the minimum culturally adjusted group of items required to support a six-person household over a one-month period.

The latest round of data collection took place from June 13th to June 20th, and consisted in the monitoring of 28 sub-districts in the aforementioned governorates in Northern Syria. Direct data collection is still inherently a challenge, and the deteriorating security environment in June in some governorates such as Aleppo, Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor resulted in greater difficulties in access and availability of commodities, as well as an impact on prices there. Overall, however, the median informal USD sell rate was down by 23%, suggesting that inflation rates may have reached peak levels previously, showing an initial sign of deflation in June. The price of a majority of food items between the May and June rounds dropped, while some of the SMEB indicators – red lentils, onions, bread – saw no change in price. Food items experiencing price increases in June were potatoes, tomatoes and salt – respectively up by 30%, 36% and 12%. NFIs prices remained on average unchanged in June, while most types of fuels experienced a sharp drop, as did the median price of water trucking. However, private water trucking services were unavailable in four sub-districts monitored, while the availability of kerosene has been a widespread issue in markets of at least 6 sub-districts, 5 of which were located in the Aleppo governorate.    

The Market Monitoring project has garnered significant attention given the observed benefits of frequent and consistent access to hyper-local price data, which has been a crucial gap in response mechanisms. Furthermore, its perceived high replicability potential in any humanitarian or development context can contribute to discussing the feasibility and relevance of cash-based response in conflict scenarios where market functionality is called into question. Given the success of this joint endeavour, discussions are now in place to replicate the methodology in other areas of Syria, and continue to expand in present locations, supporting both operational and strategic decision-making.

To read the full version of the June round of data collection for the Market Monitoring, click here, or on the photo.

Photo: Maady market, Aleppo City

CAR: Monthly update of the Rapid Response Mechanism with UNICEF

 

Multiple displacement has taken place in Central African Republic (CAR) since 2005 as a result of conflict and crime. Since December 2013, nearly 900,000 people have fled their homes: an estimated 436,000 people are internally displaced, and an additional 460,000 people have found refuge in four neighbouring countries: Cameroon, Chad, DRC and Congo. Since March 2015, REACH supports the coordination of the country-wide Rapid Response Mechanism, managed by UNICEF.

The Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) is a tool to monitor humanitarian action, conduct multisector assessments and intervene in Non-Food Items (NFI) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) when there is no capacity on site. It is made possible by the humanitarian network of partners dispersed throughout the country, which has the capacity to conduct rapid Multi-Sectorial Assessments (MSAs) post-conflicts or natural/environmental disasters. REACH developed an online interactive dashboard to monitor the evolution of the RRM on a monthly basis, which you can access here (latest update on July 25th).

During the first half of 2016, more than 180 activities were implemented, be they exploratory missions, assessments, NFI and WASH interventions –  covering most of the country, and the total number of beneficiaries was more than 75,000 for NFIs and about 20,000 for WASH activities.  Results from the latest Post-Distribution Monitoring from REACH showed that over the last 6 months, 88% of populations having received NFIs distributions were “completely satisfied”, with only 2% “not satisfied at all”. Concerning the month of June only, 24 alerts were triggered, alongside 11 exploratory missions and 6 MSAs, with a focus on the North-Western and Ouaka regions, mostly due to conflict related events in the region.

The RRM is increasingly a key mechanism in CAR for immediate context understanding and response to sudden crises. The RRM is also used as a key source of information from the wider humanitarian community. EU staff in CAR commented: “The RRM interactive dashboard is a really useful tool to represent the situation, but above all to support programming and monitoring”.

To access the latest update of the CAR RRM factsheet, follow this link.

 

Photo: CAR RRM: NFIs distribution. Credits: Solidarités International / RRM

South Sudan: IDP Caseload Estimate and Selected Locations in Juba for July 11-18, 2016

REACH and Global WASH Cluster teams in Juba, South Sudan, were able to monitor and track displacements from targeted populations within and outside the capital city during the last 10 days’ renewed outbreak of violence. The estimates show that as many as 68,000 IDPs took shelter in different areas. The two preferred locations on July 11th were the Kondokor Island, and Gurei. After a week, the estimated number of IDPs dropped to around 15,000, two thirds of whom were sheltered in UN areas, namely the UN House (6,800 IDPs) and the UNMISS Tomping area (4,000 IDPs). 

You can follow on the slideshow below the evolution of both the decreasing number and the changing selected locations of IDPs in the one week of the outbreak of violence in Juba.

 

 

Somalia: Monitoring Water and WASH Prices

<span style="color: #000000;">Somalis arrive at Bossaso Port, Somalia. © </span><a href="http://bit.ly/2aelJjr" target="_blank">IOM 2015</a>
Somalis arrive at Bossaso Port, Somalia. © IOM 2015

In Somalia, cumulative and prolonged drought conditions, along with breakdown in civil administration over the last 25 years, have had severe impacts on the Somali population. In addition, limited infrastructural investments and large levels of internal displacement have increased vulnerability to environmental change.

The WASH Cluster Somalia, recognising the lack of sufficient information on variations in water price between different areas and over time, requested the deployment of the Global WASH Cluster (GWC) Field Support Team (FST) – to which REACH provides assessment and Information Management capacity – to establish a Water Market Monitoring System. The activity aims to establish a data collection, monitoring and reporting system on water market prices in Somalia, with the support of REACH Somalia. In doing so, it will enable humanitarian and development actors to better analyse humanitarian needs and displacement trends in areas particularly affected by drought, and provide a replicable and scalable system for other areas of Somalia.

The main areas selected for the initial study are rural areas either affected directly by drought or by displacement as a result of drought. REACH Somalia will be leading on the initial stage of the data collection and development of a baseline using tools and methodology designed by the GWC and REACH. REACH will support WASH Cluster partners to train staff in data collection and assessment methodologies, in order to allow the sustainability and replication of the system under the leadership of the Somalia WASH Cluster. Ultimately, the market survey tool and baseline should provide a sustainable way of monitoring price fluctuations for water and WASH items with the ability to compare:

  1. Urban and rural areas;
  2. Wet and dry seasons, and
  3. General longitudinal trends.

This initiative will add to REACH’s global and ever-developing work on market monitoring, and will further improve information gathering that will strengthen the response to essential humanitarian needs in areas challenged by conflict, instability and environmental change.

Jordan: Developing a Frequent Monitoring Framework to track progress made by UN agencies’ programming

Since the outbreak of the Syria crisis, Jordan has been seeking to accelerate the country’s development whilst mitigating the impact the crisis has had on the country. The United Nations Assistance Framework, UNAF – which outlines six key outcomes and related targets for resilience programming in Jordan – serves as a common strategic framework that enables the UN system to provide a coherent response to nationally identified needs and priorities. In 2018, the UNAF will be followed by a new 5-year programmatic framework.

Currently, the UN Country Team is working towards developing a Frequent Monitoring Framework (FMF) to have a robust Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) structure for the future UNAF cycle. To this end, an M&E Task Force was established comprising UN Women, UNICEF, WFP, UNOPS, UNFPA and UNDP and chaired by the UN Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office (UN RC/HC-O), with IMPACT’s support for the information management and development of the monitoring framework.  The overall aim of the Framework is to establish a mechanism for frequent monitoring of UN agencies’ programming in Jordan which is needed to enable the analysis and use of timely information to trigger programmatic adjustments and address gaps in programme delivery.

To work towards the development of this Framework, UN RC/HC-O and IMPACT engaged with members of the M&E Task Force to identify indicators which can be monitored on a regular basis, are relevant to programming, and have accessible data sources. The selected indicators measure both outcomes (i.e. a broader measure of change brought about by a programme or activity) and outputs (i.e. programme-specific deliverables and activities). These indicators have been represented onto a pilot dashboard in a way that reflects the “theory of change” i.e. how the output/ outcome being discussed is relevant to and practically contributing towards the broader UNAF outcomes.

Overall, the Framework will accelerate the impact being made by the UN system and also contribute towards enhancing public accountability of the UN by showing joint results through an online dashboard system.

South Sudan: REACH and WASH Cluster conduct baseline assessment

South Sudan is faced with a myriad of challenges, some of which arise from historical marginalization, poverty and under-development, others are driven by more recent events, including the conflict which began in December 2013. Today, more than 2.3 million people – one in every five people in South Sudan – have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began, including 1.66 million internally displaced people (IDPs).

In September of 2015, the South Sudan WASH Cluster, along with the humanitarian community across the country, undertook the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) process in order to quantify the overall needs and vulnerabilities of the population affected by crises. It was this process that brought to light the large WASH-specific data gap across South Sudan, more specifically the fact that the various assessment formats that WASH actors used to collect baseline data were incompatible and incomparable and could not be analysed against each other. This lack of inter-operable data made it challenging to quantify needs and more importantly, to rank the severity of the WASH situation in the different administrative areas.

To address this information gap, REACH Assessment Specialist, which supports the global WASH Cluster, was deployed to South Sudan in order to support the country WASH Cluster to harmonize assessments between the various partners by developing a baseline assessment tool. This tool was designed to collect the minimum amount of data necessary in order to assess the WASH needs and vulnerabilities at the household level. The tool was finalized and a pilot was set for Akobo County – located in the north-eastern part of Jonglei State and severely hit by insecurity as a result of the attempted coup of December 2013. The first half of data collection took place between January 25th and 29th 2016 and covered the eastern part of the Akobo County, namely Bilkey, Dengjok, Gakdong and Nyandit payams.

Through this pilot of the baseline assessment, REACH, along with WASH Cluster partners, found that although more than half of the assessed population reported having access to a safe drinking water source (63%) through boreholes, 86% of them did not meet the Sphere Standard of 15 litres per person per day, mainly due to lack of water containers (79%), and 89% of respondents reported not treating their drinking water. Furthermore,  78% of households did not have access to a latrine, only 23% of assessed households reported having soap at the time of the assessment and a mere 6% of respondents reported washing their hands at all critical times, generally with water alone (65%). Overall, the findings of the report point to the fact that activities aiming at inducing behavioural changes with regards to WASH practices and attitudes should be implemented in Akobo East, particularly with regards to hand washing practices, open defecation and treatment of water. Coupled with distribution of WASH items such as soap and most importantly water containers, these activities would likely contribute to the improvement of the WASH situation in the Akobo East area.

Moving forward, WASH Cluster partners will adopt the common baseline assessment tool developed by REACH, which will allow the WASH sector to have comparable information and a stronger evidence as a basis for the planning, the implementation and the prioritisation of the WASH response in South Sudan. To read the report click here

Akobo County, South Sudan

Libya: Displacement in Sirte and IDP Needs Assessment and Protection Monitoring

In April/May 2016 fresh clashes in Sirte triggered a new wave of displacement forcing thousands more residents to flee. Following this recent displacement of IDPs to the West of Sirte, REACH conducted a rapid IDP protection needs assessment in partnership with UNHCR to identify the main needs and priorities of IDPs.

REACH found that in terms of protection, risk of injury or death by small arms was reported as a major protection concerns for IDPs. Regarding shelter, mattresses, blankets, kitchen items and warm clothes were identified as being top priority shelter-related NFI’s for IDPs. Concerning WASH, the primary source of drinking water for IDPs was the main network (85%) followed by bottled water (11%) and water trucking (3%). For more details please refer to the report here.

Prior to this assessment, in February 2016 REACH undertook an IDP Protection Monitoring assessment, in partnership with UNHCR, across the whole of Libya. The main objectives of the assessment were to contribute to the creation of a rights environment for IDPs living in Libya by facilitating a targeted and evidence-based humanitarian response and identifying priority needs in UNHCR’s core sectors of intervention, Protection and Shelter. There was also a capacity building element to the assessment – empowering local actors from Local Crisis Committees by improving their ability to understand the needs of their community through data collection and IDP rights and protection training.

Key findings were as follows:

  • Protection: Overall, IDPs were indicated to be at risk of a wide range protection concerns. Key protection concerns for IDPs in Libya were identified as loss of documentation, given that Libyan IDPs in transit are at higher risk of losing or leaving behind important legal documents, and the reported prevalence of landmines/UXO in the community, particularly in the East, with almost half of all respondents (48%) indicating this danger, compared to 25% in the South and 10% in the West.
  • Shelter: A particularly high risk of eviction was reported in the East of Libya, with 80% of respondents indicating that some population groups could be evicted during the next 30 days, compared to 55% in the South and 26% in the West, putting IDP families in a precarious shelter situation as they were reported by 87% of respondents to be the population group most at risk of eviction.

Moving forward, the humanitarian response must take into account the increased vulnerability of IDPs due to loss of income and income-producing opportunities and other means to meet their essential needs, giving rise to an “impoverishment risk”. What is more, IDPs living in rented urban accommodation rather than camps or public spaces who are less visible to humanitarian actors must be more systematically included in relief efforts.

Iraq: Quarterly Profiling of 36 IDP Camps

The current Iraqi internal displacement crisis originated with conflict in Anbar governorate between Armed Groups and the Iraq Security Forces in late 2013, rapidly spreading to Ninewa and other central governorates of Iraq in June 2014. The spread of insecurity led to large scale displacement with nearly 3.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) identified across Iraq and 322,346 individuals registered in the 59 formal camps in Iraq as of April 2016.

To monitor these camps comprehensively and inform a more effective humanitarian response, REACH and the CCCM Cluster have been conducting Quarterly IDP Camp Profiling that aims to provide regular and updated information on developments, needs, and gaps in all accessible IDP camps across Iraq. Round V of the Quarterly IDP Camp Profiling round was conducted in April 2016, during which REACH assessed 36 formally recognized IDP camps across Iraq.

A mixed-methodological approach was used for the profiling, incorporating household-level surveys in each assessed IDP camp, Key Informant interviews with each camp manager, satellite imagery analysis, and participatory mapping. Data collection took place during 5-25 April 2016 with a total of 3,106 households assessed across 36 camps in Baghdad, Dahuk, Diyala, Erbil, Kerbala, Missan, Ninewa and Sulaymaniyah governorates.

Key findings from the April round of data collection indicate that access to livelihoods is a significant issue for many IDP households residing in camps: 34% of households reported that no household members had earned an income in the 30 days prior to the assessment. Medical supplies and access to healthcare was also reported as a growing need. Throughout the camps, 55% of households reported needing healthcare treatment in the 30 days prior to the assessment; representing an increase of 33% compared to September 2015.

Findings were disseminated by the CCCM cluster and REACH  in the form of a Quarterly IDP Camp Directory, which includes individual camp profiles and camp infrastructure maps for each assessed camp. The profiles include key sectoral findings in relation to core CCCM and SPHERE standards; information collected from camp management and updated infrastructure maps.

This project provides key information on IDP camps in Iraq at an operational and strategic level. Humanitarian actors and decision makers can use the findings for planning, sector prioritization and programme development. To access the full directory, click here.

Image:  Essian Camp, April 2016: ©Rezgar Mohmood Hassan, 2016

REACH releases its 2015 Activity Report

REACH just released its 2015 Activity Report, providing an overview of the work conducted by REACH teams in 2015 across 17 countries.

The report provides example of assessments, monitoring and evaluation activities coordinated and implemented by REACH under its three pillars: 1. Planning in emergencies 2. Understanding displacement and 3. Accessing community resilience.

In 2015 alone, REACH teams informed decision and policy makers in over 17 countries in crisis, by producing 561 maps, 155 Factsheets, 65 reports, 22 Situation Overviews, 12 Web Maps and 5 Interactive Dashboards.

These products directly informed key humanitarian milestones, such as the Humanitarian Needs Overviews and Humanitarian Response Plans in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Ukraine, Nepal, Vanuatu and Jordan, as well as cluster and agency-specific response plans.

We would like to thank our donors and partners for the support and joint efforts throughout 2015, which allowed us to provide strong evidence as a basis for more efficient coordination and delivery of aid.