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Evaluation report

2017 India: Evaluation of UNICEF’s Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction and School Safety Programme, Bihar, India (2011-2016)Evaluation report

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


Bihar, one of the most disaster prone states of India, faced severe floods in 5 districts (Supaul, Saharsa, Madhepura, Araria and Purnia) due to a breach in embankment of river Kosi in the year 2008. The flood affected over 5.3 million people in northern Bihar, many of them children. To support the Government of Bihar (GoB), UNICEF in association with the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) began flood recovery programme in 68 villages of the 5 districts in Bihar.
After initially focusing on flood recovery and rehabilitation, there was a need to build resilience among communities to deal with disasters, and in 2011, UNICEF Bihar Field Office made a strategic shift wherein it initiated efforts to facilitate communities to access resources from Government programme/schemes or other sources to implement their own DRR plans. The programme, CBDRR,  was scaled-up to cover 230 villages in six districts, namely Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Samastipur, East Champaran and Supaul. Furthermore, a School Safety component (in 155 middle schools) was organically coalesced in 2011 with this programme to further children's participation in risk reduction efforts at community level and to ensure that the risks faced by them in schools are actively addressed.
By 2017, the CBDRR-SSP reached over 1,122 villages and 3,318 schools in six intervention districts, and the next round of scaling up the programme is underway.  Further, the SSP has been recognised by the GoB, and the “Mukhyamantri School Safety Programme (MSSP)” was launched in July 2016 to cover 73,000 schools in Bihar.
In 2016 UNICEF commissioned an evaluation to assess and draw lessons from CBDRR-SSP initiative in Bihar (2011-2016) assessing its relevance, effectiveness sustainability, and gender and equity. The evaluation took place from June 2016 to July 2017.


The purpose of the evaluation was to assess and draw lessons from CBDRR-SSP initiative in Bihar (2011-2016) in support of programme scale up - assessing its relevance, effectiveness sustainability, and gender and equity.
Specific objectives of the evaluation included:
i. Conducting knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) test with a select sample of adolescent students in the 6 districts, as part of the effectiveness criterion.
ii. Assessing the CBDRR-SSP against the Sendai Framework for DRR (2015).
iii. Documenting three in-depth case studies of three villages to understand the processes these villages underwent to be disaster resilient.
iv. Identifying best practices and documenting lessons learnt from the CBDRR programme:
• Key factors and best practices contributing to the programmes successes or failures.
• Lessons learnt that can be externally applied, including recommendations.
• Approaches and better strategies for scaling-up CBDRR programme


In addition to secondary literature review, the evaluation relied on a qualitative data collection exercise from sampled schools and villages. This included 51 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with DRR Catalysts, NGO partners and different stakeholders at the village and school levels. In addition, the evaluation team conducted 74 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) at the village, school, block, district and state level, along with a KAP survey with 270 school students.

Findings and Conclusions:

The findings of the evaluation indicate that the CBDRR-SSP has demonstrated its relevance in disaster risk reduction and improve knowledge on rights and entitlements in the six intervention districts. The evidence suggests that the programme, as a pilot, has been effective in providing a platform for vulnerable communities for engaging with government officials and implementing NGO partners on disaster associated risks that directly impact their lives.
Further, the VDMCs and SDMCs have the potential for improving government service delivery and enhancing knowledge of students and community members at the school and village levels. It is also important to note that community leadership in the form of DRR catalysts and DRR champions is a key enabler for participatory development. While women and children can be further included in the planning process, the model has built their capacities in dealing with disasters. The evaluation shows that the committees are proactively participating in decision-making processes and have enhanced implementation of the programme. The school safety programme provides evidence on the effectiveness of the model in addressing children’s knowledge on disaster preparedness.


Only recommendations aimed at UNICEF included and shortened (see full list in the main report):
a)Continued Technical Assistance to the Government of Bihar (GoB) for Disaster Risk Reduction
Given the nascent stage of MSSP & RVP, there is a need for continued technical assistance for some period. Therefore, it is recommended that UNICEF should continue its engagement with the GoB.
b)Sustained Efforts to Increase Involvement of Women and Children in the DRR Planning Process
c)Training and Deployment of Children as DRR Sentinels
DRR Sentinels is an innovative approach that fosters children (13-15 year olds), in groups and as individuals, to work towards making their lives safer and their communities more resilient to disasters. Children should be trained and deployed as DRR Sentinels in the villages. Children tend to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to perceiving disasters risks. 
d)Increase Involvement of Mukhiyas (Elected Gram Panchayat Head)
e)Greater Involvement of Anganwadi Workers (AWW) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) in DRR Planning Process
f)Horizontal vs Vertical Spread of the CBDRR Programme
UNICEF should adopt the strategy of taking all villages in a gram panchayat for the CBDRR programme rather than focusing on one or two villages. This will lead to greater involvement of the Mukhiya as the programme will have a direct benefit for the entire gram panchayat.
g)Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning  (MLE) Processes
While the M&E processes have worked well for programme requirements, it is recommended these should be supplemented by an equally robust system of documentation of field level activities.

Lessons Learned:

a)Leveraging of resources from government schemes/ programmes and interaction with government and frontline functionaries continues to be the mainstay of programme impact.
The efforts of UNICEF and implementing NGO partners with respect to involving and interacting with government officials at block and district levels to leverage entitlements from programmes, must continue to sustain the programme.
b)UNICEF’s advocacy efforts and technical support have resulted in strong acceptance of the programme by GoB.
c)Including women in the planning process is of utmost importance
While the programme has been raising awareness among women, including them in the process of planning is equally important. This predominantly means including women who are non-members and are a part of the village community. Their issues pertaining to disasters are best addressed when they take charge, and play a leading role in the DRR planning of the villages and therefore, should be engaged in the process.
d)Periodic analysis of CBDRR-SSP monitoring data is critical
Regular analysis for tracking progress and taking mid-course corrections of the programme is important. This will ensure that both the block and district administrations understand & contribute towards the DRR requirements along with providing the necessary support.
e)Role of Mukhiya is critical for DRR planning process at the school and village levels
The Mukhiya’s role has emerged as critical for the effectiveness and sustainability of the programme and should be included in the DRR planning and execution. The DRR activities in villages and schools get fast tracked wherever there is continued support received from the Mukhiya.
f)Strategic geographical selection of villages and schools
The programme should continue its approach of selecting geographies based on their vulnerabilities to disasters so as to provide the required support and intervention to build DRR capacities.

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