Building Capacity of Wajir County Administrators on Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment

Oscar Lino: Climate Scientist – ICHA

The world today is experiencing frequent and often more serious disasters which threaten to reverse the many development gains achieved over decades. The effects of climate change have become more obvious to us. The impacts are disproportionately hitting on the people and a majority of the vulnerable are the poor from different arid and semi-arid (ASAL) areas. Both humanitarian and development actors started giving much-needed attention to climate change and how this would affect how they assist the most vulnerable, in the early 2010s.

Globally, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction was adopted at the Third UN World Conference in Japan (2015) with seven targets for the 2015-2030 period. The first two are Understanding disaster risk and, Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk. Ratification to this framework by member states such as Kenya has seen proactive measures such as the Participatory Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA). Through PDRAs, an analysis can be done at community and household levels to understand their vulnerability to climate change extremes.
Furthermore, PDRAs provide for the development of action plans that are envisioned to reduce the impacts of a potential disaster and inclusion of the community plans in local development plans. Some of the common frameworks for the PDRA process include the Community Vulnerability Assessment (CVA), Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) and Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR).

The ICHA department of Kenya Red Cross has been building capacities for county governments and communities to conduct PDRAs and establishing CMDRR committees in collaboration with county stakeholders, through our DRR-related projects. Through the HOTOSM project, ICHA organized a CMDRR a 3-day training in Wajir county (between 21st and 23rd February 2023) targeting sub-county administrators and county Directors from departments of Disaster Risk Management and Devolution Units.

With the skills gained from this training, the administrators will support CMDRR committees in the county to conduct PDRAs and develop community action plans that can be funded through the county DRM fund and NDMA’s contingency fund. A challenge fronted in this training is the lack of a DRM framework that would provide a mechanism to fund DRR initiatives by the county budget. As a way forward to this, ICHA linked their request with the USAID-KUZA project in which we are supporting the county to develop the DRM bill that will set aside 2% of the county budget for DRM. The bill has so far been approved by the cabinet and will be forwarded to the county assembly for legislation, although fast-tracking this requires continued advocacy from KRCS and partners.