Kudumbashree sets innovative model for ensuring public participation in disaster response
Setting an innovative Kerala model for ensuring transparency and people’s participation in disaster response and recovery, Kudumbashree women have initiated collection of feedback and views of the flood affected people in Kerala.
Using mobile App, the second round of the survey is being conducted by Kudumbashree women in selected grama panchayats and municipalities, out of 489 villages in the seven worst flood-affected districts - Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Wayanad in the state. The first round of the survey was conducted in November-December 2018.
Dr. V. Venu, CEO of RKI and Principal Secretary of Revenue and Disaster Management department says that the feedback and views of the flood-affected people would be useful in the ongoing recovery and development efforts of the government. “Government would ensure that the voice and needs of the most marginalized people are heard and factored in rebuilding Kerala”, he added.
This unique exercise of Kudumbashree, referred to as Janakiya Pankalithavum and Punarnirmanavum (JPP), is supported by UNICEF, KILA, Local self governments and government departments. JPP is designed on the lines of the global approach of Accountability to Affected Population (AAP). Kudumbashree model of JPP on social accountability is guided by an advisory council, chaired by the former Kerala Chief secretary S.M. Vijayanand. The Council also have representatives of the State Planning Board, Rebuild Kerala Initiative, Local self government department, KILA, KSDMA, UNICEF and technical agencies like TISS, Sphere India and Riddhi Foundation.
Kudumbashree women will meet flood affected people and record their needs, perceptions and views on: assistance provided under different government schemes; status of complaints registered on the schemes; and the most important priority needs of the people now. Feedback of people is also sought on; whether the children have recovered from trauma of floods; whether people have been consulted on government schemes and recovery efforts; and whether their income from livelihoods have been restored to pre-floods period.
There are also questions in the feedback survey to assess the disaster preparedness of people and government agencies; knowledge of people on mitigation measures to prevent and reduce disasters at home and community; and awareness on hazards and risks in their area.
Siddartha Shrestha, Chief, Communication for development, UNICEF India said: “Accountability to Affected Population Initiative in Kerala is unique unlike in other countries – as it is spearheaded by the state government translating in a more sustainable approach. We look forward to Kerala government institutionalizing the approach in the near future”.
Feedback and perceptions collected from people would be shared with Rebuild Kerala Initiative (RKI), State Planning Board, state government departments, district administration and local governments. These departments and agencies could use the information for designing, monitoring and implementing programmes for flood affected people and take mitigation measures to prevent and reduce disasters. Besides, the feedback would inform the annual plans of local governments and government departments.
As per the Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) on disaster response and recovery, disaster affected people have the right to be consulted on schemes for them and have the right to receive information from the agencies implementing them. They also have the right to register complaints, give feedback and get information on how the feedback was used by the agencies. Organisations and government agencies providing humanitarian assistance are bound to follow the principles of participation, transparency, information sharing, and feedback, under the global approach of Accountability to Affected Population (AAP).
AAP surveys have been conducted in over 60 countries after the disaster in the past, mostly by civil society organisations. JPP programme of Kudumbashree is unique, as this is the first time in the world such an exercise is conducted by a government agency, as in Kerala, says Job Zachariah, United Nations Coordinator for Kerala. “Besides the scale of Kerala exercise is large covering people in 489 local governments. Kerala sets a model on transparency and people’s participation in disaster response, which other states and countries could emulate”, he added.
Views of migrant workers and marginalized groups to be collected
The survey will cover eight most marginalized people in the flood- affected villages. This includes migrant workers, fishing community, SC/ST, people with disability, women who heads family, elderly people, daily wage earners and farmers. Besides, Kudumbashree women volunteers will hold separate focus group discussion with these marginalised groups in seven districts.