PCR TOOL 6
Restoring livelihoods is a critical element for the overall recovery of disaster survivors. Immediately after a disaster, and for the first few weeks and months afterwards, survivors are heavily dependent on relief aid for essentials such as food, clothing, shelter and bedding. But the sooner people can begin to earn an income again, the better. It helps reduce future dependence on relief aid, and helps restore people’s dignity and sense of purpose. Inevitably, some people will take longer to start to engage in income-earning activities than others, but all need to be supported and encouraged as soon as is feasible. The ambition of a ‘Building Back Better’ programme should be to not only rebuild livelihoods to their previous levels, but to use the disaster as an opportunity for actually reducing poverty. There are documented cases where people have ended up with higher incomes and more secure livelihoods after a disaster. There are also examples where people living on the margins of society have emerged and taken active and respected roles in their communities. On the other hand, some approaches to reconstruction do not take into account livelihoods, which has resulted in far less successful recovery programmes. This tool looks at what adopting a peoplecentred approach means in the area of rebuilding livelihoods; it considers (1) what a PCR approach to livelihoods means for programming and programme design (2) opportunities offered by housing reconstruction, and (3) opportunities beyond the housing sector.
opportunities, sometimes in areas which were previously neglected with little involvement from government agencies or national or international NGOs. • The practice of carrying out needs assessments, which can identify long-standing barriers which have prevented particular groups from escaping poverty. For example, if security of tenure is found to be one of the barriers, aid agencies sometimes consider using resources to acquire land nearby for people to build their own homes and from which people can run their businesses. Households and community groups can be assisted to link up with economic and municipal infrastructure, and support agencies such as credit providers, in new ways. • The chance for the community to work together towards common goals, such as building new community infrastructure or repairing damaged community equipment. This can be supported (or hindered) by official assistance programmes. Women in particular can be supported to have more active community roles than before. • A change of attitude of governments and local authorities. They may now be more open to changing restrictive legislation, regulations, codes and standards, particularly if it can be shown that these are barriers to effective reconstruction and recovery. This will allow people to develop new initiatives, expand preexisting ones with less bureaucratic hurdles, and will stimulate growth, innovation, and job creation through community driven approaches.
Opportunities for rebuilding livelihoods in a post-disaster context
Post-disaster contexts offer a set of opportunities which, used wisely, can contribute to long-term improvements in livelihoods, including for the most marginalised. Some of these opportunities include: • The unprecedented provision of resources into an area through aid programmes, some of which is undoubtedly useful in rebuilding livelihoods. • The large influx of highly motivated aid people and organisations with a wide range of skills and capacities, coming from the local area, elsewhere in the country, or from overseas. This can provide a whole set of new ideas and
Adopting a PCR approach to livelihoods
As we saw in PCR Tool 1, adopting a peoplecentred approach to reconstruction means concentrating on reducing people’s vulnerabilities. There are three essential components to that: (1) making sure that all sections of the community are included, which often means empowering the most vulnerable; (2) building back better and more safely against possible future risks; and (3) rebuilding livelihoods to help people recover assets and become more resilient. It calls, therefore, for the reconstruction effort to concentrate on both rebuilding physical assets (housing, infrastructure etc) and economic assets (livelihoods).
Assessing how disasters damage and disrupt livelihoods
One of initial components of a PCR process (as outlined in PCR Tool 4: Assessment of reconstruction needs and resources) is to review the needs and resources available. Suggested methods included: • Pillars of survival: an assessment of people’s livelihoods and coping mechanisms; and • Defining economic activities: where people are invited to describe how they earn/ed an income currently and before the disaster. • Emergency Market Mapping Analysis (EMMA) and Participatory Market Systems Analysis. EMMA is used to look at particular market sectors. It could be applied in the first instance to the most important livelihood activities such as fishing or farming. A preliminary assessment aims to draw up, as far as is known, the structure and operation of the market prior to the disaster. A second assessment is carried out to create a diagram of the market map after the disaster. This indicates where the linkages are broken, or particular infrastructure, actors or rules are not functioning. This provides a guide to where the market needs to be rebuilt. Further analysis can include a prognosis on recovering and developing markets and an assessment of potential responses. For further information on EMMA see http://practicalaction.org/emma-toolkit or http://emma-toolkit.info/ For an overview of assessing markets and helping them to recover see Adams and Harvey (2006).
Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to assess how livelihoods are damaged
The results of these assessments can also be understood in terms of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF), which helps provide a more complete picture of poor people’s assets and vulnerabilities (Figure 1). It guides us in terms of understanding the assets that were critical to people’s livelihoods and identifying those that have been lost. It helps us to understand the sources of vulnerability in the face of future disasters. It can be adapted for use in both urban and rural contexts. The SLF helps us to identify all the ways in which households’ assets are disrupted and damaged following a disaster. Examples are listed below. For more guidance see: ELDIS, and Benson (2007).
• Damage or destruction of individual houses inevitably disrupts or terminates home-based business activities (production/selling of food and consumable goods, storage, repair of fishnets etc.) • Putting out of use of collective infrastructure and facilities such as boat jetties, roads, shops and stalls, market buildings, telecommunications installations, energy supplies, storage buildings and water supplies). • Damage to and loss of tools and equipment such as boats, tractors, bicycles, stoves etc. • Degradation of land through, for example, landslides over agricultural land, or land being
Key H = Human Capital S = Social Capital N = Natural Capital P = Physical Capital F = Financial Capital
Figure 1. Sustainable Livelihoods Framework. Source: DFID (1999)
photo © Practical Action / Tek Sapkota
processes and institutions are part of what makes people vulnerable. Examples of can include barriers to entry for informal producers to markets; complicated procedures for land registration and allocation of building permits; laws and regulations for environmental protection; policies on children’s education and vocational studies for youths and adults; and rules controlling access to formal banking services.
Actions in supporting livelihoods recovery as part of PCR
The points above illustrate the complexity of supporting livelihoods recovery in a post-disaster context. Each of these issues needs to be examined during participatory damage and needs assessment exercises in order to prioritise the problems and the actions needed. The section below on Housing reconstruction outlines how this sector can contribute to rebuilding livelihoods, and how it can also contribute to rebuilding livelihoods in other sectors. In terms of the SLF, these would be classified in terms of economic and physical assets. Adopting a PCR approach can also contribute to strengthening other assets by: • Social: Supporting people to keep their communities intact, even if they have to be moved to emergency camps and transitional settlements. Social capital can be strengthened by linking community groups together, especially for community-based saving; and by linking communities to organisations and institutions that can support them in their recovery. • Human: Providing training and capacity building to enable people to rebuild and recover better; supporting communities to participate effectively in Community Action Planning; helping people to learn as they discuss reconstruction within their communities and with external agencies; helping communities to take control of their own information, of how it is collected, compiled and used. • Natural: Working together with communities to recover natural assets damaged in the disaster; implementing protective measures for natural assets against future disasters; protecting the community’s access to and ownership of natural resources; and considering long term issues of sustainability and environmental protection. IFRC’s guidelines on owner-driven housing reconstruction also offer a model for ways of supporting livelihoods in post-disaster reconstruction which incorporate some of these issues in a simplified framework. We explore the issues around resources (in particular around cash payments) in the section headed Rebuilding livelihoods beyond housing.
Rice crop in Nepal destroyed by flood and deluge of mud
inundated by the sea causing excessive soil salinity • Damage to and loss of stock such as animals, seeds, and preserved food.
Economic assets (in this case, the inputs required for a business or livelihood)
• Shortages and price increases of inputs: raw materials, energy supplies and water • Disrupted access to cash, for example, because local banks close for a time or their buildings were destroyed • Lack of cash, so people are unable to pay for some products and services • Loss of customers because people from outside the disaster-affected area go elsewhere. The tourist industry, for example, can be very badly affected. • Loss of markets for products that local people do not consider absolutely essential to their immediate survival • Disruption to supply chains, which are often complex, and any break can disrupt the whole chain. This relates both to infrastructure (such as roads, bridges and harbours) but also to suppliers themselves whose businesses may have been destroyed.
Social / Political assets
• Death, injury or displacement of key people: private/public suppliers, customers and employees • Loss of access to social networks due to largescale displacement of people to emergency camps and transitional settlements • Changes in regulatory mechanisms, or regulation becoming ineffective A PCR approach should also assess Policies, Processes and Institutions by working with communities to identify where these are restrictive, and planning an advocacy strategy to achieve change. It needs to consider how policies,
- vocational workshops - forming co-operatives
- vocational training - job placements
- asset replacement - start-up cash
Figure 2. Different ways to support livelihoods in post-disaster reconstruction. (From: IFRC Owner-driven Housing Reconstruction Guidelines, August 2010)
Looking at the entire community - prioritising the most vulnerable
Adopting a PCR approach means making sure that all sections of the community are included. This often means identifying and empowering the most vulnerable as part of the process. In terms of livelihoods reconstruction, a number of steps can be taken in ensuring the needs of all are catered for. A first step is to identify the most vulnerable (see box). People from these groups tend to survive on very insecure and temporary work. They may be reached in an equitable way during the relief phase, but often lose out when it comes to reconstruction. For these groups, it is often their social capital which is their most important asset. Any reconstruction effort targeting these groups needs to be careful to make sure these social assets are built up. Participatory needs assessment should identify the groups, their needs and priorities. The support they need may be different from that required by the rest of the population. Ideas for how vulnerable groups can be included and prioritised include: • Prioritising the allocation of transitional shelters to the most vulnerable, and supporting these settlements until people are ready to build permanent housing or can find rental accommodation. This includes ensuring adequate access to safe water and sanitation in the transitional settlements. It also includes providing incentives for homeowners to rebuild rental rooms as well as their own house.
Vulnerable groups to look out for
• Squatters in unauthorised settlements • Tenants • Women-headed households with young children • Elderly people, especially where there is little or no family support • Unemployed youth with little or no literacy • Long-term displaced people and refugees • Landless rural labourers • Disabled people, or those coping with longterm illnesses or injuries • Those addicted to alcohol or drugs
• Identifying suitable pieces of land with vulnerable groups, where they can build their own houses and have access to market places and economic centres; extending the relief period for certain groups, but balancing this with the need to ensure they are not caught in a cycle of dependency. • Prioritising employing the most vulnerable in cash for work activities • Ensuring training opportunities are open to vulnerable groups e.g. in building materials production, as a means of generating new employment opportunities. • Ensuring a minimum quota for women’s participation in trainings
• Ensuring that people from vulnerable groups are eligible to receive cash grants for their livelihoods, and supporting the development of savings and lending groups, and their links to larger microfinance institutions. • Setting up a crisis fund managed by the community to provide limited support for those who experience a sudden crisis e.g. the death or serious illness of a family member. • Supporting the development of group activities and the emergence of local leadership, especially promoting the active participation of vulnerable groups in community action planning, and in disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness planning. • Extending cash for work activities to include the construction of infrastructure for disaster protection e.g. embankments and flood barriers, slope stabilisation, and restoration of forests and mangrove swamps. This could be combined with education campaigns about the causes of natural disasters and their mitigation.
Clusters for humanitarian response
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Agriculture Camp Coordination and Camp Management Early Recovery Education Emergency Shelter Health Nutrition Protection Water, Sanitation, Hygiene
approach to development in the disaster-hit area, blending their expertise in reconstructing housing, infrastructure and livelihoods.
Housing reconstruction: its contribution to rebuilding livelihoods
The construction of houses and infrastructure following a disaster can be one of the most important livelihood opportunities for people, even if they were not previously involved in the construction industry. This is particularly the case where large numbers of houses have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair (Sheppard and Hill 2005). Houses themselves are also important livelihood assets which people, providing cover or storage for tools, equipment, seeds, animals, and saleable goods or produce. Others use their homes as workshops, sell produce directly from their home, or rent out rooms to lodgers. Initially people can be employed to assist with clearing away rubble and pulling down dangerous buildings. In urban areas where densely-built multi-storey buildings have collapsed, demolition machinery will probably be needed, in particular where there is a risk of further collapse. However, there is still a lot of work that people can do by hand, provided that their health and safety is well looked after. Once house owners are ready to start rebuilding, or carrying out extensive repairs, local people can assist them, and earn a livelihood at the same time, in two ways: 1. as producers and suppliers of building materials and components 2. as skilled builders, to assist house owners with construction of the whole house or just for more difficult, specialised tasks Under donor-driven reconstruction models, we need to be cautious of two potential problems which may limit the extent to which people can earn a livelihood. First, contracts may be given to large building contractors from outside the area
What does a PCR approach mean for programming?
In the emergency response phase following a disaster, agencies have begun to work in clusters. As part of this, emergency shelter is separated from agriculture. Other livelihoods do not have their own cluster. The early recovery cluster is meant to focus on bridging the gap between emergency response and long-term development across a wide range of areas including the restoration of basic services, livelihoods, shelter, governance, security and rule of law, environment and social dimensions. In the initial emergency relief phase, it will be important to use tools such as EMMA to make sure that livelihoods are considered within each of the clusters. Joint damage and loss assessments should be carried out and coordinated by the Early Recovery Cluster. Some agencies involved in reconstruction are specialised in particular areas. Does adopting a PCR approach mean that an agency specialising in housing also needs to become an expert in livelihoods programmes? Probably not. All agencies should be able to carry out a broad assessment of needs. Housing reconstruction agencies should seek to maximise the opportunities for reconstructing livelihoods within their own programmes. They should also, then, seek partnerships with other agencies more specialised in rebuilding livelihoods beyond housing. It is possible that the residual effect of the clusters may make this sort of partnership more difficult. Other agencies work across a broad spectrum of areas which can encompass both physical and economic reconstruction. In these cases, there will be a need to develop a cross-programme
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