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DEC CVA Real Time Response Review: Afghanistan - Final Country Report

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Afghanistan
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DEC
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By Laurent Saillard, Humayun Iqbal

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

FOR PHASE 2 APPEAL

1. AN MPCA FOCUSED RESPONSE

Based on the review’s main findings, and depending on local context and market dynamics, Multi-purpose Cash Assistance should be considered as a priority for DEC Coronavirus Appeal phase 2.

2. DUE ATTENTION TO PROTECTION AND PSYCHOSOCIAL CARE

The pandemic has resulted in increased protection needs. The loss of income, economic difficulties, coupled with lack of prospects and personal space have resulted in increased levels of domestic violence, affecting particularly women and girls, and therefore an increase in the need for action to sensitise the population, prevent acts of violence and provide appropriate support to the victims.

3. SUSTAINED AWARENESS RAISING AND PROVISION OF BASIC HYGIENE EQUIPMENTS

Provision of adequate PPE, adapted hygiene kits, training of health staff in prevention measures and awareness raising campaigns were justified during phase 1 and remain relevant for phase 2. The use of social media, health actors campaigning via radio and phone networks, must be continued as long as the contamination risk exists and the vaccination campaign has not covered the most at-risk people.

4. PREVENT MISCONCEPTION AND PROMOTE BEHAVIOUR CHANGE

Misconceptions and rumours should receive full attention during phase 2. DEC partners should closely monitor the situation in their intervention areas and support appropriate actions to prevent / reduce the effects of misconceptions on people’s behaviour and health.

MID - TO LONG - TERM RECOMMENDATIONS

5. REDUCED BUREAUCRACY AND MORE FLEXIBLE PROCEDURES

Procedures should be simplified during emergencies and decision makers trusted more at the operational level. A change of paradigm is required – field staff judgement, capacity and honesty should be trusted more. During an emergency, field managers should enjoy more flexibility to decide and allocate resources and the administrative workload should be considerably reduced. Such a paradigm shift does not exclude solid postintervention control mechanisms.

6. MORE INCLUSIVE COORDINATION MECHANISMS

There is a deficit of trust between international aid agencies and local actors. Regardless of the reasons why, the coronavirus pandemic highlights the strategic importance of local actors’ inclusion in coordination mechanisms. In the case of Covid-19, it took several months for mixed committees composed of national authorities and aid agencies to be operational. The lack of participation or representation of national authorities and line ministries in humanitarian coordination forums resulted in miscommunication, confusion and delayed response.

7. OPTIMISED EXISTING COMMUNITY FORUMS

Community forums offer multiple strategic opportunities such as a community-embedded response capacity. Building on this existing network to respond to emergencies, such as the primary needs caused by a pandemic, provide a strategic advantage to understand and respond. With adequate equipment, training and support, local communities can be a direct responder to their own needs.

8. A DEC MEMBERS JOINT, GEOGRAPHICALLY-FOCUSED, MULTI-SECTOR APPROACH

DEC Member Charities have set up a good information-sharing mechanism to build on each other’s technical skills. Considering the pandemic’s multi-faceted impact, DEC Member Charities should consider a joint geographically-focused multi-sector integrated response. A concerted effort covering several key sectors would help communities to recover more rapidly. Such concerted effort would more efficiently address the “symptoms” of the pandemic and provide an opportunity to address some of the root causes of poverty and thus would stand a better chance of building resilience