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2011 Pacific Islands: Evaluation: UNICEF’s Response to Tropical Cyclones Vania & Atu Vanuatu



Author: UNICEF Pacific

Executive summary

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Background:

At the start of the year in 2011 two tropical cyclones of category two and four strength passed through the southernmost province of Vanuatu, TAFEA province. The extent of damage caused by the cyclones consist of 1) widespread damage to subsistence food and cash crops that could cause serious food and income shortages expected to last for three to seven months, 2) poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions and damage to water infrastructure 3) widespread gastro and respiratory health issues with limited access to medications and limited monitoring of health cases which were likely to worsen, 4) damage to traditional-housing.
Donor agencies, NGO’s and other civil organizations were approached on supporting the vulnerable communities. UNICEF as a key partner for government and as cluster leader for WASH, Nutrition and Education pledged support in the following areas of 1) WASH coordination with support from agencies in the WASH cluster addressing the damaged water systems and undertaking urgently needed repairs, 2) improve monitoring of the health situation in the communities, 3) provision of health supplies to the various health facilities, 4) technical assistance to NDMO regarding the nutritional aspects of planning food rations 5) assess schools in the cyclone stricken areas to support the MoE make informed decisions on what resources should be provided to the impacted schools.

TAFEA Province is the site of UNICEF’s ‘convergence programme’ in Vanuatu, bringing together high-impact interventions in health, water and sanitation, education, HIV/AIDs prevention and protection. Safeguarding investments in children’s well-being and development also shaped UNICEF’s emergency response.

Purpose/Objective:

The study evaluates the effectiveness of UNICEF’s response in support to the government of Vanuatu in responding to the needs of the people and children of TAFEA affected by TC Vania and TC Atu following a six month period. The evaluation will also help to gage the overall impact of the cyclone on the well-being of children in the context of UNICEF’s ‘convergence programming’ in TAFEA, in areas of Health & Sanitation, Education, HIV/ AIDS and Child Protection.

Methodology:

The data collection scoping exercise was sourced at the national and at the subnational level. At the national level, desk reviews and Key Informant Interview formed the basis of the evaluation whilst at the sub national level Key Informant Interview, Household questionnaires and Focus Group Discussion are used to source information,

Findings and Conclusions:

UNICEF’s support towards the people of TAFEA following the destructive cyclones Vania and Atu has indeed alleviated concerns in areas of WASH, health, protection measures and education. There is a need to strengthen our advocacy and information flow at the community level to ensure that the delivery of services and supplies reaches the intended audience. Our support to our partners ensures that the services and supplies are delivered in a timely manner to the community. Our support to partners to ensure that the services and supplies are available but the support should extend down to the final hand over and delivery into the hands of the care giver; by doing so we can ensure that what was requisitioned according to the count of vulnerable households does reach that vulnerable household.

Recommendations:


1: [Rapid Assessment] Assessment form needs to be redesigned in a way to align with UNICEF’s CCC in consultation with NDMO (page 23)
2: [Nutrition] Address the need for the use of other anthropometric indicators and micronutrient assessments for a further in-depth analysis (p.25)
3: [Nutrition]Further strengthen agricultural rehabilitation programs given that rural communities are dependent on subsistence agriculture
4: [Nutrition] There need to be more community awareness on healthy living and to reinforce good practices at the community level including the promotion of breastfeeding for infants. (p.29)
5: [WASH] The need to build community resilience in water security and for the water committees to take a more active role should be addressed.
6: [Child protection] A wider outreach on materials/information needs to be disseminated proper to the cyclone season.
7: [Child Protection] Key personnel trained in protection issues should be available and known to the community members as a focal point for protection related issues.
8: [Education] Emergency response plans should become part of the school administration to ensure that the security and safety of students, teacher and family members and school property is secure and protected.
9: [Education] more awareness on school grant should be made available to the staff of schools to ensure that damages can be quickly
addressed and students get to attend school sooner.
10: [HIV/AIDS] Health works need to be aware of HIV/AIDS in emergencies and to be able to inform the community members in their particular ward.



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