A Flood Resilience Measurement Tool: Concern’s experience in Afghanistan

Thursday, May 16, 2019

In 2015, Concern applied to join the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance and received funding to start a new project to promote resilience to floods in 12 Afghan communities. As part of this project, Concern piloted a Flood Resilience Measurement Tool (FRMT) developed by the Alliance, and has used the insights generated by the tool to design and implement flood-resilience interventions.

How does the FRMT work?

The FRMT is used to direct the collection and analysis of data at community level on a range of factors thought to be potential ‘sources of flood resilience’. These sources are organized under the five community ‘capitals’.

Firstly the person setting up the survey, usually the Programme Manager,  selects the groups or individuals who will provide details around the sources of resilience.  The system then automatically generates a list of questions, which are synced to the field workers for data collection.

Once collected by the field-workers, the data is synced back to the software for ‘grading’ by the programme team. This process involves grading each of the community’s potential sources of resilience based on responses to the questions. The software then allows the team to present the results and display graphs to show where capacity is stronger (grade A or B) or requires strengthening (grade C or D). Once grading is completed, the software organises the data in a digestible format, which can be viewed through various lenses.

How often is data collected in individual communities?

Data has to be collected from the community at least once in order to understand where it stands in relation to the potential sources of resilience, This data collection point is referred to as a ‘baseline’ and informs the design of flood resilience projects

In addition, a shorter survey can be undertaken after any significant flood event to assess how the community coped. The data collected through these ‘post-event surveys’ is different from that collected through the baseline.

Using the FRMT in Afghanistan

Concern Afghanistan selected the communities for application of the FRMT based on (i) the level of need for building flood resilience, and (ii) the existence of certain conditions at a local level to enable a successful flood resilience intervention.

Before commencing our ‘baseline’ in the 12 selected communities, staff were trained using the FMRT training material. This helped staff become more familiar with resilience as a concept and what may contribute towards building resilience in communities.

Baseline survey results and programme design

The images below show the results of the grading process for one particular community, Dahasti Chanar in Rustaq district.

Overall grading result by capital

Grading analysis by capital


Breakdown of the grading of each source of resilience within ‘human capital’ 

In this example the survey found that financial, social, and physical capitals were the lowest. Financial capital, which was particularly low, includes things such as household income and savings, household access to credit, and flood insurance.

The results were discussed with the community in a sensitive and structured manner. This approach was important in order to avoid the risk of communities feeling they were personally being ranked or scored in some way. These discussions set the context for the Concern team to lead each community in a Participatory Cost Benefit Analysis (PCBA) to determine priority interventions.

Based on the results of this analysis, activities were undertaken to support the 12 communities to establish Disaster Risk Management Committees and flood management plans, including social and hazard mapping, and seasonal calendars. These committees include women and members of more marginalised groups.

Post-flood surveys were conducted in two communities which revealed how the communities coped in the event, including the impact of the flood and behaviour/response of the community. This revealed a number of significant findings, such as the number of fatalities and injuries, how the flood affected access to schools and clinics, and its impact on assets, food, and drinking water.

Emerging lessons

  • The FRMT provides an effective means of organising and ‘scoring’ factors potentially linked to flood resilience, and providing solid data for a contextual analysis process such as that undertaken by Concern Afghanistan in a new project area.
  • Training in and use of the FRMT has helped deepen the staff’s understanding of the concept of resilience.
  • The scoring process currently does not involve the community. While involving the community would likely raise practical challenges and increase the amount of time required for the grading process, it could increase the validity and credibility of the tool.
  • To date, the research has not been focused on measuring the impact of interventions. For this, we feel we need a more practical set of Monitoring and Evaluation tools linked to interventions.
  • The tool and software may have potential for use in scoring resilience to other shocks, such as earthquakes or droughts.

Concluding thoughts

The FMRT and the Alliance has significant potential to better understand what inherent resources and characteristics within a community make them more resilient in the face of floods. Some lessons have already emerged from analysis of the baseline findings, and Concern Afghanistan has gained a deeper understanding of its new programme area.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *