The project’s development phase, funded by UK aid's BRACED programme, has been used to pilot the infrastructure and capacity-building components of the project and to analyse the national flood policy and its integration at community level. By doing this, lessons learnt and best practices could be identified. They are collected to improve the full project phase and to inform other actors which work in the field of DRR and funders of similar projects.
The project's Best Practice Report aims to share these lessons learnt beyond the project. Main lessons are described to show general best practices which contributed to the success of the project development phase. In addition specific best practices are described to highlight those and share learnings with the wider development community.
For more information on best practices please contact us via secretariat(at)live-with-water.org.
Adopting infrastructure solutions that are economically feasible and profitable is a key factor in achieving sustainability. Community members welcome those economical solutions because these provide opportunities for them (easier to self-organise, easier to own and maintain in the long-term).
These options, which are financially sustainable, also draw attention and support from policy-makers. Regional and national policy-makers show high interest, since these solutions can be maintained either by small and medium enterprises or the local community itself and does not rely on financing from donors.
Participation and collaboration
Inclusion and sharing of divers know-how and expertise also has been identified as crucial, be it in collaborative expert meetings or during participatory community processes.
Knowledge sharing and exchange ensures that developed solutions are tailor-made and adapted to context and recipients. This will also strengthen financial sustainability, e.g. in the context of flood prevention the community members identify and prioritize feasible solutions; or when professional experts from different disciplines and with diverse approaches share knowledge and create innovations.
Active empowerment and involvement of individual women and women's associations will not only strengthen project’s impact, but at the same time ensure both equity and sustainability of the project. The project aims to reach out to most vulnerable people to hazards caused by flooding and at the same most crucial for building resilience to flooding.
Women are amongst the most vulnerable groups. In addition the play an important role in the community and can help to solve issues more effectively on the quartier level, e.g. regarding logistics or in case of blockades between e.g. project and public authorities.
Building a vital collaboration amongst partners is the basis for an integrated project approach. In this way synergies can be build and used. This can also help in case of conflicts with stakeholders or one of the partners. Individual partners can serve as mediators.
Moreover, the multitude and diversity of project partners ensures that different stakeholders' needs and capacities are integrated into the project.
Strategies and technologies are tailored to the respective community situation and conditions. This ensures that these are adapted to people’s needs and can be sustained beyond the duration of the project. Iterative project planning throughout appraisal, monitoring and evaluation process helps to cater for the whole project cycle.
Project management & partnership
Tailor-made project management strategies
The project’s internal communication and knowledge management strategies were specifically designed for the project and in close cooperation with all partners. This ensures that internal processes fit the needs and context of the project and partnership and that they incorporate best practices from all partners.
These internal project management processes and strategies are aligned with those especially required for the projects participatory, community-based and sustainable approach.
Oral communication strategy
Constant inclusive, oral communication within the project partnership has proven to be another crucial aspect of an effective project management. Regular meetings with partner organisations ensure that the internal communication strategy, knowledge management strategy as well as value for money strategy is not only preached but also put into practice, is understood, informed and supported by all partners and is being improved and adapted throughout the course of the project.
A combination of virtual and face-to-face meetings on the ground and professional moderation by the project coordination team ensures that the continuous communication processes are at the same time economical and effective.
Task sharing between partners
The differentiation between the project's lead partner and operational partners worked well and contributed to effective project management. On this ground the lead organisation can serve as an authority which administers and coordinates the partners and can perform arbitration or mediation in cases of conflict.
The collaboration with strategic partners allows for the inclusion of stakeholders whose contribution is not funded by the donor programme but still who are closely connected to the project activities.
Collaboration among operational partners
The collaboration of the operational project partners in interdisciplinary working groups is also important for the effective project management. Different capacities as well as limitations regarding capability and capacity can be identified at an early stage.
This allows for early mitigation actions, which are necessary to ensure an effective partnership, can be taken in due time and in accordance with all partners.
Collaborative expert groups
Interdisciplinary collaboration between experts from different sectors as well as from the local, national, regional and international level proved to be crucial for effective implementation of the activities. It allows that high quality processes and solutions which can be developed in a very short time.
A combination of different cost-efficient communication formats contributes to the effectiveness of this collaborative working process. The combination of virtual meetings, online file hosting and sharing, mailing lists as well as face-to-face short expert workshops on the ground seems very useful.
The combination of experts from different tracks and sectors facilitates a holistic, integrated understanding of the flooding situation. It also ensures that the problem solving process is as creative and innovative as possible.
The inclusion of local entrepreneurs into this collaborative expert process has turned out to be helpful as well. They ensure that practical economic and market aspects of the technical solutions are considered and that the solutions are timely and technically adequate for the situation of the respective communities.
Participatory review of expert plans
For the development of urban master plans a participatory review with the community is a key process. This ensures that the plans consider and includes knowledge on the communities' realities and needs, tailored approaches and solutions and the performance of Value for Money, since the communities are interested in solutions which are financially sustainable.
For the participatory process it has been proven essential to invite all relevant stakeholders from the community and to insist on board community participation to achieve board representation.
Action days significantly add to the approach of ensuring the implementation of both economic and sustainable solutions. Those action days allow that large parts of the intervention are implemented at low cost. At the same time, they help raise awareness of problems and solutions, create ownership and facilitate mobilisation of the community. Furthermore, the action days ensure the commitment of the communities prior to the start of an intervention.
Tailor-made and environmentally friendly solutions
To select innovative technologies tailored to topographic and economic situations of the intervention areas, proved to be crucial. This ensures that the technologies are truly addressing problems on the ground (e.g. the simplified sewerage system and anaerobic baffle reactor). At the same time, tailoring technologies to the specific context helps to take into account the ecological needs of the area.
At the same time these technologies ensure that after the intervention the community is able to maintain the components, which contributes towards feasible and sustainable solutions.
The capacity building instrument provides training and at the same time supports during project implementation. This is a cost-efficient way and at the same time, those trainings provide the trainees the opportunity to earn a significant part of their income. This is especially important for women, with disadvantaged position in the society. Some of them enjoyed during the waste management training especially designed for those young women, for the first time some financial autonomy.
For an effective capacity-building process it proved essential to invite all relevant stakeholders from the community (e.g. experienced gardeners) and to allow to contribute and share their know-how (e.g knowledge on local plants or shoreline protection) in a peer-to-peer training process. This ensures that the trainings transfers skills and knowledge that are relevant, adequate and feasible for a sustainable implementation of the project. In addition the trainings provide recruiting opportunities and help to identify active and committed and active members of the community. These community members can later supervise maintenance and repairs of individual infrastructure components.
The combination of project components with sustainable business models did contribute towards sustainability. The business-models allow that the solutions are self-sustaining and thus not reliant on the donor system. In order to avoid a “donor mentality” people from the communities pay for the service they subscribe to. Community members contribute towards a community fund and spend these means for equipment or services the community needs and decides upon autonomous (e.g. sports equipment, subsidy of waste management component during for transition period). Another effective strategy is transformation of public spaces into places generating revenue for the community.
This allows community members to create income for themselves, their family and the whole community. At the same time the management of these spaces helps to become responsible for particular project components (e.g. through renting urban spaces to urban gardeners who use them for planting vegetables and are responsible for the maintenance of those spaces). Both, guidelines on sustainable buy-in approaches and the interdisciplinary expert working groups ensure that those business models and approaches can be developed.
Community Advisory Board
The establishment of a Community Advisory Board (CAB) in the local intervention area is a further strategy that turned out to be essential. The Community Advisory Board ensures community engagement throughout the intervention. With this community participation is extended beyond the participatory analysis of the situation and the review of urban master plans.
The Community Advisory Board turned out to be an effective tool to solve conflict arising within the community due to change.
Exchange with policy-makers
A close cooperation with ministries and other public institutions proved important for the effectivity of the project. It ensures that demands of policy-makers (e.g. for economic and sustainable solutions) are integrated into the project, that previous policy strategies (e.g. resettlement, pumping water) are reconsidered and that approaches and design of the community-centred project (e.g. restructuring, participatory infrastructure, living with water) are presented and can influence future national policy.
Other results of the exchange with policy-makers were the use of synergies with key actors in flood prevention and the demand for further community-led projects and participatory strategies.
Monitoring and evaluation
Community assessment of resilience indicators
A collaborative workshop with community members at the beginning of the Project Development Phase has proven important for an effective M&E process. It allowed the community members to share experiences with past flooding’s and methods to prepare for and cope with the annual flooding.
This process ensured that the framework for building and measuring resilience at the project level met the beneficiaries’ needs. Fundamental project assumptions could be reconsidered, verified and improved, e.g. regarding conditions, vulnerable and most active groups as well as support systems relevant for building resilience to flooding.
Mobile-device based data collection
The collection of baseline data with help of a mobile-device based data collection software turned out to be very helpful in the M&E process. The use of this tool ensures that costs are reduced over the duration of the project. Data collected by different team members is accessible in real time to all project partners. The software moreover simplifies data storage and documentation of the results.
Another M&E approach is to combine reporting activities of different project actors throughout the full monitoring and evaluation process of the PDP. These are senior team leaders, project managers, administrative stuff and project coordinators as well as external evaluators.
This combination allows for a multi-faceted perspective on the project’s progress and impact. It includes the perspectives from both the operational and administrative side as well as from different project management levels of the project.