The document is a guidance material that recommends a common regional approach to VCA. The idea was to adapt global International Federation VCA tools for the South-East Asian context to support National Society assessment processes through the development of regional guidelines, following the experiences of Red Cross Red Crescent and external partners, it aims to guide National Societies in conducting VCA and adapt the VCA process to their own countries.
One of the challenges faced while formulating and implementing the project or program is that VCA results are not well integrated and adopted as a sustainable developmental plan for communities. In addition, a lack of community participation hampers the best use of community knowledge and materials in implementing VCA. Some key lessons learnt from the implementation of VCA in the last several years are defined here for consideration before, during and after rolling out VCA in our region.
The lessons learnt from the practices from the National Societies in Southeast Asia:
A. Integration and mainstreaming
- National Societies should develop clear objectives at the beginning of the VCA process and ensure they are fully communicated with all levels, especially at the community level with National Society volunteers, villagers and local authorities.
- Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) incorporated VCA into its integrated community-based disaster risk reduction programme as an assessment tool or entry point. Risk analysis and hazard mapping, which are component of VCA, can help identify highrisk communities where a disaster risk reduction project could be initiated.
- VCA results should be integrated into not only disaster management, but health and care and organizational development (volunteer development).
- VCA results have been shared with different stakeholders inside and outside the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, especially local government, which has aided integration. For example the Cambodian, Indonesian and Viet Nam Red Cross Societies included the local authorities in the process.
- VCA should be advocated to National Society leaders to gain their support in terms of policy, and human and financial resources.
- More advocacy at different levels can link VCA results with a community’s overall socio-economic development plan.
C. Project/programme design
- Involve the right people. For example, in the PMI a core team set up VCA including a task force with knowledge and skills in VCA to train SATGANA (disaster preparedness and response teams) at district branch level. Then SATGANA provided training for village-level community-based action teams on how to conduct assessments using VCA as a tool.
- Coordination among different National Society departments/divisions such as disaster management, health and organizational development should be taken into consideration to VCA can be better integrated into National Society programmes. Ideally, the VCA should be done jointly with other departments/divisions.
- Most VCAs are done on a project basis only. For a longer term effect, National Society strategic plans should include VCAs and longer-term interventions in high risk communities.
D. Capacity building
- To empower of the community, VCAs should maximize the use of community resources, participation and commitment in whole process. To ensure ownership by the community, there must be genuine community participation from project design through to monitoring, reviewing and evaluating.
- It is important to involve members of the community from the start of the process to build their capacity to take further actions to reduce their risks and vulnerabilities, and to build safer and resilient communities. This means “working with them rather than working for them”.
Usage: Guidelines for implementation
Audience: National Society staff and volunteers
For the other series of VCA guides:
- For What is VCA? click here What is VCA?
- For How to do a VCA, click here How to do a VCA
- For VCA Toolbox, click here VCA Toolbox with reference sheets
- For VCA training guide, click here VCA Training guide
- For VCA lesson learnt and recommendations, click here Lessons and recommendations
You might be interested in these resources:
- A socio-economic impact study of a post-disaster housing programme – IFRC References
- Stronger Together – the global Red Cross Red Crescent response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami – IFRC References