Перейти к основному содержанию

Red Ready Programme: Mid-Term Review, 28 February 2022

+ 8
American Red Cross
+ 1
Дата публикации
Просмотреть оригинал

Executive summary

As part of a collaboration between the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the American Red Cross (AmCross), the Red Ready: Increasing the Capacity, Readiness and Resilience of National Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) Societies in East Asia and Pacific to Respond to Local Disasters programme was initiated in September 2018. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development's Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs (USAID/BHA), the programme aims to support the RCRC National Societies (NSs) of Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam in enhancing their organisational disaster readiness and response capacity. The key programme event timeline is shown below:

Following learning obtained through the programme inception phase (Phase 1 - September 2018 – August 2020), a revised programme framework was developed (Phase 2 - September 2020 – August 2023) which resulted in a more streamlined approach to enhancing organisational disaster readiness and response capacity by focusing on three outcomes and seven readiness-specific themes (illustrated in the model below).

In November 2021, the IFRC and AmCross commissioned an independent external review of the programme with the aim of assessing its results over the first three years, including broad progress related to outcomes, successes, challenges faced, and lessons learned. The main review criteria and questions were:

  • Relevance and Appropriateness: To what extent are the approaches and strategies selected by the programme appropriate to respond to the current needs of the NSs?

  • Effectiveness and Efficiency: To what extent does the programme meet its objectives and outcomes?

  • Impact: Are there any positive and negative impacts from the intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended?

  • Sustainability: What are the aspects of the programme that are most likely to be sustained and why?

The review method comprised a range of qualitative techniques including desktop study, semistructured interviews, online survey, community consultations, and case study development. A total of 48 (26 female/22 male) key informant interviews were conducted with relevant IFRC, AmCross, and NS staff within the nine programme countries and at regional headquarter levels. Further data was provided by 56 (30 female/26 male) community-based members that had engaged with/benefited from programme activities.

In terms of relevance and appropriateness, the review established the programme’s relevance to the needs, goals and aspirations of the nine NSs. All seven themes and 3 outcomes were considered relevant to ensuring NSs developed response readiness and positioning towards ensuring a more effective humanitarian response. Programme approaches and strategies were considered both comprehensive and flexible, and appropriately linked to existing IFRC approaches and tools such as the Organizational Capacity and Assessment Certification (OCAC); Branch Organizational Capacity Assessment (BOCA); and Preparedness for Effective Response (PER). This approach to complementing and building on existing IFRC assessment tools and indicators, and specifically relating the 7 themes to PER benchmarks, was considered a good approach to synchronising the programme with existing NS preparedness/readiness workplans.

NSs particularly appreciated the programme’s holistic approach to response readiness i.e. how each component built on the other; the inclusion of branch assessments; and how different NS departments contributed to the overall programme framework. Importantly, this holistic design helped NS to link and fill gaps between existing NSs readiness initiatives and the programme workplan. However, some NSs appear to have ‘overreached themselves’ when selecting thematics/outcomes to work on, which has potentially limited the impact the programme could have achieved had some NSs prioritised fewer themes.

In some NSs, these challenges have been compounded by a lack of in-house technical expertise and resources able to work on chosen thematics and progress them as per programme design. Additional factors that NSs found challenging related to widely held views that theme indicators are overly complex and confusing, alongside a very ambitious programme graduation approach that many NSs feel will be impossible to meet. It was also clear that many NSs have difficulty in conceptualising the programme, specifically in relation to (i) how it supports and relates to existing IFRC approaches and initiatives, and (ii) the synergy it attempts to create between National Society Development (NSD) and response readiness. At a very practical level, this conceptualisation disjuncture makes it difficult for many NS programme focal points to explain to their national HQ departments, branch staff and volunteers how the programme works and contributes to disaster readiness and preparedness. However, this is no fault of the programme design, but rather related to a lack of a supporting Theory of Change which has prevented clarity on the design-objective pathway.

In terms of effectiveness and efficiency, and the extent to which the programme has met its objectives and outcomes, NSs have a very positive perception of how the programme has contributed to helping them achieve intended outcomes. The significant majority of NSs believe the programme has positively contributed to: (i) helping improve their legal base, governance and management mechanisms at HQ and branch level for effective response with oversight; (ii) having adequate human resources and strong support services for effective response; and (iii) having demonstrable management capacity to lead and deliver effective, coordinated and integrated services; which affirms that progress towards outcomes is being made, albeit somewhat slowly (the Coronavirus pandemic being a significant contributing factor to programme delays).

The factors enabling positive programme performance include design side issues, such as alignment to existing preparedness plans; having a branch level focus with relevant, supporting activities for staff and volunteers; and the flexibility afforded to the programme by the donor. On the technical support provided by AmCross and IFRC, NSs were highly satisfied with what has been delivered to date in terms of both quality and quantity. Factors considered important to improving programme performance, but currently lacking, included: a need for more dedicated NS focal points and in-house technical capacity; greater sensitization of NS leadership and senior management on the programme and its relationship to existing Movement tools; and increased programme coordination and promotion within the Asia-Pacific region among Movement partners (and especially among Partner National Societies working with the nine NSs).

In considering the adequacy of programme resources (financial, human, physical, informational) and if they were utilized effectively and efficiently, the programme Technical Working Group (TWG) was found to have performed its role very well despite many IFRC/AmCross technical resources being stretched across varying roles and contexts. And although frequent NS staff changes created some investment inefficiencies alongside a high Programme Coordinator turnover, the review found the programme has been conducted in a very cost-effective manner, has generated considerable value-adds, and overall represents very good value-for-money.

In terms of impact, and the positive and negative results and changes brought about by the programme, it has to be remembered that programme funding was not designed to contribute to the achievement of the entire Red Ready framework, but rather to help NSs identify key gaps and fill or contribute towards filling select ones alongside other Movement initiatives that aim for similar outcomes: this makes attributing programme impact difficult given the multiple Movement and other partners contributing to NS response and readiness efforts. This said, the review established that community-based members who had engaged with or benefited from programme activities felt: NSs have improved community response readiness knowledge and skills as a result of the disaster training they have conducted; communities are better prepared to cope with disasters as a result of NS support; and NSs have helped to reduce community vulnerability, as well as increase community capacity to better prepare and cope with disasters.

From a sustainability perspective, while there is a level of optimism that many programme actions and results could be sustained post programme phase-out, and there is every reason to think this fair given the programme’s strategy of embedding response readiness in NSD work, this optimism has to be tempered against NS views that without ongoing support many activities will likely stop or not be prioritised in the way they are now. This finding highlights the need for NSs to take on greater levels of programme ownership and responsibility - an approach which is also key for ensuring effective localisation. Opportunities exist here at IFRC, AmCross and NS leadership/senior management levels for leveraging the programme’s main value-adds, which relate to the potential and ability to support existing Movement response readiness approaches and tools, as well as securing scarce donor funding for NSD and localisation initiatives.

Overall, there is much to commend about the Red Ready programme. Conceptually, it is well designed (acknowledging that a reduced number of indicators would be better) and comprehensively addresses essential NSD and response readiness needs for Asia-Pacific NSs. The programme is starting to have demonstrable impact, and as a result of its actions and support to other Movement initiatives and approaches, the nine engaged NS are increasingly becoming more effective humanitarian responders. While a number of KIs feel the programme ‘has not quite gone in the right direction’ and reached its potential, it is felt getting ‘back on track’ is a relatively straightforward exercise, and it is essential that those responsible for its overall future travel ensure the valuable investments and progress made to date are capitalised on. This requires having in place a stronger RCRC collective organising structure as a means of ensuring the potential residing in the programme is met; as well as giving highlevel consideration to how the programme could be better embedded in the IFRC annual planning process and thus supportive of the IFRC’s Agenda for Renewal vision for greater NSD.

Eight strategic recommendations arose from the review:

  1. The Steering Advisory Group should commission the development of a programme Theory of Change.

  2. The Steering Advisory Group should revisit its Terms of Reference with a view to developing a programme vision and mission, and reflecting on how to better create an enabling environment for the programme.

  3. The Steering Advisory Group should consider establishing a temporary project management structure to help implement the recommendations contained in this review.

  4. The Technical Working Group should revisit the indicators with a view to simplifying the approach and reconsidering the value of the programme graduation aspect.

  5. The Steering Advisory Group should mandate the TWG to work on the feasibility a recursive programme model as a means of promoting stronger NS programme management and ownership, and overall sustainability.

  6. The Programme Coordinator with TWG support should make the business case for a programme extension in light of the unforeseen delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

  7. The Steering Advisory Group should mandate the TWG to convene a Red Ready conference in which to discuss the contents of this report with the nine National Societies.

  8. The TWG should develop a transition strategy for the programme as a means of ensuring stronger localisation.

American Red Cross: All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.