Disaster Risk Reduction in Drought Cycle Management: A learning companion | Disaster Risk Reduction | Emergency

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This Companion aims to support Oxfam staff to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) into programmes where drought is a significant hazard. In East Africa, this work is commonly called drought cycle management (DCM). Droughts have traditionally been viewed as one-off disasters requiring an emergency response. Typically, emergency responses focused on the delivery of food aid and life-saving humanitarian support including rehabilitating boreholes, emergency vaccination campaigns and so on. Following a drought, agencies tended to move onto rehabilitation programmes, such as restocking, and then back to ‘normal’ development activities in various sectors such as health and education. However, given the frequency of droughts in many regions, development work is increasingly disrupted and often undermined by the shift to emergency response. During the late 1980s and 1990s, drought became increasingly accepted as a normal occurrence in pastoral/ dryland areas and not a rare or intrinsically disastrous event. The DCM model emerged from this thinking and improved programmes that recognised the cyclical nature of drought. The DCM model acts as a guide to development agencies supporting pastoral communities in planning for and responding to droughts. By putting the drought cycle as the central reference point, it ensures that appropriate interventions are implemented before, during and after droughts. This ultimately reduces the risks and consequences of drought.
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  Disaster Risk Reduction in Drought Cycle Management: A Learning CompanionOxfam Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Resources   1. About this Companion This Companion aims to support Oxfam staff to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) into programmes where drought is a significant hazard. In East Africa, this work is commonly called drought cycle management (DCM). For more on this approach, please see the Oxfam DCM briefs available on the Intranet and from phd@oxfam.org.uk. If you need definitions and more information on key terminology used in DRR, please see the first Companion in this series:  An Introduction to Disaster Risk Reduction. 2. What is drought cycle management? Droughts have traditionally been viewed as one-off disasters requiring an emergency response. Typically, emergency responses focused on the delivery of food aid and life-saving humanitarian support including rehabilitating boreholes, emergency vaccination campaigns and so on. Following a drought, agencies tended to move onto rehabilitation programmes, such as restocking, and then back to ‘normal’ development activities in various sectors such as health and education. However, given the frequency of droughts in many regions, development work is increasingly disrupted and often undermined by the shift to emergency response. Learning Objectives  After reading this Companion, you should: ã know what DCM is and how it can be used for programming in dry land areas; ã understand the range of interventions that are appropriate for different stages of the drought cycle; ã understand the importance of promoting risk reduction in your work on drought cycle management; ã know how DRR relates to Oxfam’s ‘One Programme Approach’ and how it can be integrated across departments in programming for dry land areas; ã understand the importance of information management systems in DCM and how to develop them; ã understand the importance of advocacy in applying DRR approaches within drought cycle management; and ã know where to go to learn more. 1   1  2 Oxfam’s DCM learning: Wajir Pastoral Development Programme, Kenya The periods when the Wajir Pastoral Development Programme is not involved with drought response or recovery are few and far between. From 1996 to date, a response- and/or recovery-related programme has been ongoing in Wajir, in relation to either drought or flood and interspersed with conflict and human health issues (excluding a short respite in 2002–3). Concentrating on development and mitigation activities has, therefore, been very difficult. This reinforces the notion that we cannot look at the drought cycle in discrete phases; rather, we must find ways to increase DRR efforts at all stages – but particularly as part of our response and recovery efforts.During the late 1980s and 1990s, drought became increasingly accepted as a normal occurrence in pastoral/dryland areas and not a rare or intrinsically disastrous event. The DCM model emerged from this thinking and improved programmes that recognised the cyclical nature of drought.The DCM model acts as a guide to development agencies supporting pastoral communities in planning for and responding to droughts. By putting the drought cycle as the central reference point, it ensures that appropriate interventions are implemented before, during and after droughts. This ultimately reduces the risks and consequences of drought. Below: Pastoralists in Wajir migrating in search of new pasture. Photo: Brendan Cox/Oxfam   2  ã It provides a common framework against which humanitarian, development and advocacy work can be aligned to reinforce each other. ã It is an excellent tool for mainstreaming DRR activities in the pastoral/dryland livelihood context, as the DCM model reduces the prominence of traditional relief activities, and emphasises the need for disaster mitigation and preparedness activities. ã The multi-sectoral nature of the model is very compatible with a livelihoods approach to addressing pastoral development. By considering the multi-faceted ways in which drought affects pastoralists’ lives, it is easier to consider cross-sectoral linkages. 3 3. Why integrate the drought cycle management model into programming for dryland areas? The DCM model conceptualises drought as a cycle of four warning phases: normal, alert, emergency, and recovery. There are clear advantages in viewing drought as a cyclical process rather than an isolated event preceded and followed by ‘normal’ development activity. Some of the benefits of integrating the model into programming are as follows: ã The model improves the timeliness, appropriateness, and ultimately, the effectiveness of work by ensuring that activities are matched to the current stage of the drought cycle.    M  I  T I G  A  T  I O  N    P      R      E       P        A       R        E   D   N  E   S    S   R   E   C  O  N  S   T   R       U       C       T        I      O      N         R  E  L  I  E  F     A  S S I  S  T  A   N  C   E    N o r  m  a  l      A     l         e      r          t             A   l            a  r     m    E      m     e    r     g      e      n      c      y      R       e       c       o       v      e       r     y  Information Community DevelopmentContingency PlanningCapacity BuildingInfrastructural Development Animal health interventionsHuman health interventionsEmergency water supply systemsSupplementary feeding of vulnerable groupsStrategic stockpilingof cereals and grainsRehabilitation of critical boreholesLivestock Marketing Animal healthHuman healthSupplementary feeding of livestockRestockingRehabilitation of damsCapacity buildingInfrastructuraldevelopmentFood for workCash for workNatual ResourceMangementInterventions The Original Drought Cycle Management Model. The DCM Model is widely understood within Eastern Africa and provides many benefits to mangers and experts. Users of the model recognise that representing drought (and associated responses) as four distinct phases is a simplification. But the DCM model remains a well-accepted concept that fits well with programmers’ and pastoralists’ own understanding of the drought cycle.
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