During 2008, India was ravaged by floods. Bihar, Orissa, and Assam were some of the severely affected states. Millions of people became homeless; crops worth many billions were damaged. Many organizations and individuals came forward to support the flood victims. Through its extended base of consortium partners specialized in relevant services, CSO Partners developed appropriate opportunities for various contributors—including government‚ corporate bodies and individuals—to engage with civil society organizations in a process that benefited all stakeholders. CSO Partners responded in the following manner.
Motivating contributors - Individuals and corporates
CSO Partners reached out through its network of corporate clients to mobilize contributions to flood victims in Bihar. It encouraged ICICI Bank – India’s largest private bank - to carry an appeal on its website for contributions and create a platform for its internet banking customers to make contributions. For the first time in the bank’s history of over five decades, a facility was provided for individuals to directly contribute to disaster victims. ICICI Group also made it possible for its employees to contribute a day’s salary towards rehabilitation of flood victims.
Addressed gaps in disaster management
Some of the main gaps in disaster management in India are non-compliance to minimum quality standards in disaster management efforts; lack of coordination, convergence and complementarity among various government and nongovernment organizations, and lack of community preparedness to minimize impact in disaster-prone areas.
To address the issue of quality and coordination, CSO Partners collaborated with Sphere India (www.sphereindia.org.in). Sphere India is a coalition and collaborative partnership between government and nongovernmental agencies involved in humanitarian initiatives in India that promotes quality and accountability in disaster response and management. By working with Sphere India, CSO Partners promoted minimum quality standards and facilitated better coordination between various agencies in the field.
After discussions with the organizations having field presence and thus field level information, and reviewing situation and intervention reports, it was decided that more support is required for the rehabilitation phase.
- Promoted Quality: CSO Partners channelized the resources mobilized through its corporate client network for disaster management to support interventions of NGOs that are part of Sphere India. CSO Partners was involved in:
- Identification of areas of intervention with a focus on building community resilience so that people are better prepared to face disasters
- Selection of anchoring NGOs based on competency in the identified focus areas
- Designing of programme: CSO Partners was involved from development of programme components to setting up of the monitoring mechanism so that initiatives addressed actual needs. Funding was strategically allocated to complement existing initiatives. In addition to keeping checks and balances to ensure a minimum standard of quality, CSO Partners promoted transparency by setting up systems to ensure dissemination of information at regular intervals to various stakeholders.
- Improved coordination: CSO Partners is supporting the humanitarian coordination programme of Sphere India in Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. Aimed at providing quality coordination among agencies working in the field as well as the district administration, this initiative is anticipated to lead to greater accountability and reduce duplication of resources.
Built community resilience: Around INR 80 million mobilized for the rehabilitation of flood-affected people in Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal was channelized to support livelihood restoration and child resilience interventions, which strengthen community preparedness to face disasters. Support for initiatives such as task force formation and training, children and community mobilization on child protection in emergencies and formation of Child Protection and Disaster Risk Reduction Committee at the village level helped make children in affected areas more resilient to disasters. Task forces and training of volunteers would ensure that the impact of the project would continue for years to come.