Sustainable 101 – Bridging the gap between policy and practice


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Sustainable 101 – Bridging the gap between policy and practice

  2. 2. Copyright : © December 2010 by Handicap International ASBL-VZWAll rights reservedFunded under a grant from the Belgian Ministry of Foreign AffairsCover photograph: Khtoeup Veb from Siem Reap Province in Camobia, cultivating his ricefield © John Vink – Magnum, for Handicap International – Cambodia 2008Layout and Design: Enschede/ Van Muysewinkel nv/saResponsible editor: Bruno LeclercqPublisher: Handicap International ASBL-VZW 67 Rue de Spastraat B - 1000 Brussels Phone: +32 2 280 16 01 Fax: +32 2 230 60 30 http://www.handicap-international.beFor additional information or to receive a copy of the report, please contact:
  3. 3. Handicap International members: LuxembourgBelgium Rue Adolphe Fischer, 14067, Rue de Spastraat 1521 Luxemburg1000 Brussels Phone: +352 42 80 601Phone: +32 2 280 16 01 Fax: +352 26 43 10 60Fax: +32 2 230 60 30 Email: hilux@pt.luEmail: SwitzerlandCanada Av. de la Paix 111819, Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, 1202 GenèveBureau 401 Phone: +41 22 788 70 33Montréal (Québec) H3H 2P5 Fax: +41 22 788 70 35Phone: +1 514 908 28 13 Email: contact@handicap-international.chFax: +1 514 937 66 85Email: United Kingdom 27 BroadwallFrance London SE1 9PLAvenue Berthelot, 14 Phone: +44 870 774 3737F - 69361 Lyon CEDEX 07 Fax: +44 870 774 3738Phone: +33 4 78 69 79 79 Email: hi-uk@hi-uk.orgFax: +33 4 78 69 79 94Email: United States 6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 240Germany Takoma Park, MD 20912Ganghoferstr. 19 Phone: +1 301 891 213880339 München Fax: +1 301 891 9193Phone: +49 89 547 606 0 Email: info@handicap-international.usFax: +49 89 547 606 20Email:
  6. 6. 1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The research team at Handicap International would like to thank all those local civil society organisations (and their representatives) which agreed to participate in this study and willingly shared information about their work and their achievements and challenges with us. We hope that we have been able to do justice to the very important work these local organisations are undertaking for persons with disabilities including landmine/explosive remnants of war survivors, all over the world. The team would also like to acknowledge the invaluable support provided by those local intermediary organisations and individuals which acted as ‘information-providers’ and which enabled it to reach otherwise inaccessible organisations and to surmount language and communication barriers. Furthermore, the team would like to extend its thanks for the useful advice and feedback received on both form and content from various individuals from Handicap International and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Last but not least, the research team would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium for its financial support for this study. The Research Team Joohi Haleem Jennifer Reeves Stéphane de Greef November 2010 3
  7. 7. 2. INTRODUCTION Recent studies such as “Voices from the Ground: Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Survivors speak out on Victim Assistance” undertaken by Handicap International in 2009 and annual reporting on progress conducted by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor show that even 10 years after the Mine Ban Treaty’s (MBT) entry into force, victim assistance for the survivors of landmines/explosive remnants of war (ERW) has remained one of the sectors which shows the least demonstrable progress. “During the Mine Ban Treaty’s first decade, victim assistance (VA) has made the least progress of all the major sectors of mine action, with both funding and the provision of assistance falling far short of what was needed.”1 There is still far too little knowledge and understanding of survivor needs in the very different contexts where survivors live worldwide, and there is little to no assessment of the impact of the VA initiatives which have been undertaken to date, to see what works, what does not, and why. This lack of understanding of context-specific needs has meant that by and large, most survivors feel that their needs are not being met2 and living as they often do in remote and poorly serviced areas, they remain marginalised on the fringes of mainstream society. This particular study “Sustainable 101: Victim Assistance 10 years on” aims to begin the process of mapping and assessing the current situation on service provision to persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors in 29 affected countries around the world. It is intended to supplement gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the challenges, constraints and opportunities which local civil society organisations face, and to build upon the available body of data and information on victim assistance and disability-related service provision in the selected affected countries. The study and its various outputs address multiple audiences: the primary target-group of national service-providers through the accompanying online directory and tool-kit, and secondarily, the donors, policymakers and the international humanitarian sector through the findings presented in this report. The project was formulated to deliver three separate but mutually reinforcing products in order to best present the information collected in the course of this study: • An online directory providing profile information on all the civil society organisations identified (about 175 so far) in 29 affected countries around the world, with an accompanying tool-kit compiling available resources on victim assistance and disability service provision, • An analytical assessment of organisational performance in a select sample of case study countries, and • A BBC documentary titled “Laos’ Bitter Harvest” highlighting the scale of the problem of unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination for affected communities in the severely affected country of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The 29 mine/ERW affected countries covered by this study are as follows: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam and Yemen. 1 See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009, Executive Summary, Special Ten-Year Review, Victim Assistance, p.53. 2 Handicap International, Voices from the Ground: Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Survivors speak out on Victim Assistance, September 2009. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE4
  8. 8. 3. DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AND ITS OBJECTIVES The primary objectives of this study are:Mapping of local civil society initiatives: To raise awareness of the initiatives and projects being undertaken by local civil society actors such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), survivor associations, and disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) in order to give their work greater visibility and exposure on the international stage, and to provide a clear and concise picture of existing local knowledge, capacities, and constraints to donors, decision- makers, policymakers and other humanitarian and development actors.Knowledge-sharing and Information exchange: To provide organisations with a discussion platform to exchange ideas, experiences and perspectives from different contexts and the opportunity to learn from such exchanges; to generate a dialogue on the major issues and concerns facing civil society practitioners and to provide them with a ‘voice’ on the international stage, through their inclusion into the online directory and social networking site.Capacity-building: To facilitate the capacity-building and strengthening of member organisations and other users of the online directory and social networking site: through a comprehensive compilation of existing resources and links on victim assistance and programme management into a constantly updated tool-kit; through the provision of e-discussion boards encouraging an exchange of ideas and information (especially South-South cooperation) on best practices and lessons learnt; by providing notifications of upcoming trainings, conferences and workshops; and by enabling member organisations to directly maintain their online profiles and to regularly upload information about their achievements and challenges. The Sustainable 101 study documents and assesses the work being carried out by national and local NGOs and other civil society actors in the 29 mine/ERW affected countries listed above. These organisations provide services relevant to but not exclusively for survivors. This is reflective of common practice whereby most such organisations in the field provide services to all persons with disabilities, regardless of the cause of disability. However, within the broad lens of disability service provision, there are ample reasons to justify a sharper focus on victim assistance service provision. Firstly, the mine action sector often has specific knowledge about affected people and communities, including knowledge which may not be generally available such as the number, location, and needs of survivors. This information may have been gathered in affected communities by clearance teams, and through the undertaking of community-based mine risk education (MRE) and awareness programmes. Secondly, survivors can provide peer support to each other to help overcome the sometimes specific forms of trauma associated with such injuries – they are best placed to understand the situation and needs of fellow survivors. Thirdly, advocacy by the mine action sector helps to ensure that survivors’ rights are addressed and upheld where they otherwise might not be due to the general marginalisation of persons with disabilities and their lack of access to the services and support they require. Finally, providing services through victim assistance funding can also be seen as beneficial to other persons with disabilities, as without this VA funding, certain services might not otherwise exist or be sustained. 5
  9. 9. 4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY: THE NEED FOR WELL-INFORMED DECISION-MAKING AND IMPLEMENTATION FOR VICTIM ASSISTANCE Over the years, while the normative understanding of victim assistance has evolved significantly with each successive 5-year Action Plan 3 – expanding beyond the notion of the provision of care and support to survivors to include sustained efforts to build up their capacities - the development of a comprehensive operational understanding has been more challenging, encompassing as it does some of the most fundamental human rights and needs, and a broad range of services and activities 4. This lack of clarity has been further compounded by the fact that there is not one natural home for victim assistance, with responsibilities for the coordination, planning, implementation and monitoring of VA activities often being shared on an ad hoc basis between the Mine Action Centre and the relevant national Line Ministry. Most importantly however, the apparent lack of clarity stems from a fundamental contradiction between the political and practical conception of victim assistance. So while on the one hand, meeting the VA obligations set out by the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions includes the establishment of national coordination mechanisms and focal points, the drafting and implementation of national VA plans (with the inclusion of survivors), and the earmarking of specific VA funding (by donor and affected states), on the other hand, there are calls for all efforts to be integrated into mainstream development processes if they are to have a sustained and lasting impact on the lives of affected people and communities. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) have long advocated for a “twin-track approach” to inclusive development and victim assistance. 5 This means ensuring that all persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors are enabled to participate fully and meaningfully in all phases of the development cycle (policymaking, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation), while at the same time, having access to specialized programmes and services to build up their capacities to engage actively in these processes. Practitioners in the field nevertheless recognise the need to ensure that VA service provision does not result in the creation of a parallel set of services and facilities exclusive to mine/ERW survivors, as it risks entrenching prevalent inequalities and discriminatory societal patterns. This is borne out by the results of this study which show that more of than 80% of the respondent organisations make no distinctions amongst their target-group(s) on the basis of the cause of disability. The contradiction lies in the fact that having separate or partially separate funding streams for victim assistance entails separate processes of monitoring and evaluation if one is to truly 3 See and 4 Ambassador Susan Eckey of Norway, “Victim assistance is a human rights issue that aims to address the rights and needs of people who are often marginalised and living in vulnerable situations in countries with limited resources and many competing priorities”, Enhancing Cooperation and Assistance as concerns Victim Assistance, Discussion Paper, Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings, 24 June 2010, p.1. 5 Inclusive Development and the Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, prepared by the IDDC Task Group on the UN Convention, 2005, in Victim Assistance in Inclusive Development: What does this mean for advocates?, ICBL Briefing Paper, 28 October 2010. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE6
  10. 10. assess the impact and build in greater accountability and transparency of all the initiatives undertaken with those funds. This presents all implementing organisations, international and national, with the dilemma of having to account for service provision targeted at mine/ERW survivors while at the same time, trying to ensure that the activities they undertake are non- discriminatory towards other vulnerable and ‘at risk’ groups in a population. Another challenge faced by organisations is how to define their most appropriate and effective role, a role which complements and supplements the role played by the other actors in the process, most importantly among them the state and its agencies, without duplicating efforts while ensuring maximum coverage and impact. As this research shows, most local civil society service providers (at least 85%) are attempting to deliver a combination of services (encompassing the six pillars of VA, namely emergency care, physical rehabilitation, psycho- social care, economic inclusion, advocacy, and data collection), either in response to perceived needs and gaps resulting largely from state neglect or incapacity to deliver, or to tap into available funding streams, regardless of whether they have the capacity to do so in a sustainable manner. However this leads one to question the ultimate effectiveness and sustainability of such initiatives, as one single civil society organisation may not always have the optimal set of skills, expertise and resources, both human and financial, in order to deliver services as wide- ranging as physical rehabilitation and livelihoods recovery, consistently in a manner which best fulfils the needs of the people on the ground. Additionally while most civil society organisations work in ways which by their very nature, are more community-driven and grassroots-based, better coordination of both state and civil society initiatives can lead to greater economies of scale and wider impact. Moreover, a stronger state-civil society nexus can strengthen government capacity to provide adequate and efficient services to its population, and ensure that “popular organisation and capacity of poor people to assert their claims to public resources, and to hold government accountable” 6 is reinforced and strengthened. In order to determine the most appropriate and effective role in victim assistance for a local civil society organisation, it is first and foremost imperative to develop a better understanding of real and actual needs on the ground as well as to improve our knowledge of the efforts that have been undertaken to date to meet the needs of people and communities affected by mines/ERW as well as other persons with disabilities. Only through a more comprehensive understanding of the existing ‘baseline’ can it be possible to develop future strategies and directions, to reinforce existing capacities and to address inherent gaps and shortcomings. “In order to better understand the scope of services available in affected States, a comprehensive mapping of all actors involved in services relevant to “assisting the victims” is needed”. 7 This study aims to highlight the invaluable work being carried out by one such actor in the process, namely local civil society organisations in 29 countries around the world, organisations which have been active in the field offering a range of services and facilities within their available resources. This study by no means represents a comprehensive mapping of all civil society organisations active in the domain of service provision. It should be viewed instead as the beginnings of the process of compiling and consolidating information on such6 Collier, 2000 as quoted in Solava Ibrahim and David Hulme, Has civil society helped the poor?–A review of the roles and contributions of civil society to poverty reduction, Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper 114, University of Manchester, March 2010, p.10.7 Ambassador Susan Eckey of Norway, Enhancing Cooperation and Assistance as concerns Victim Assistance, Discussion Paper, Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings, 24 June 2010. 7
  11. 11. initiatives, and should be further expanded eventually to include other key stakeholders such as government agencies and international non-governmental organisations in order to be truly comprehensive. This study would also like to call attention to the key issue of the time-line or the time-bound way in which victim assistance activities are often undertaken, in recognition of the fact that for those whose lives have been affected by the impact of mines/ERW, the effects are, more often than not, lifelong and permanent. While land clearance and stockpile destruction are activities which are finite in nature, victim assistance consists of services and activities which need to be provided over a much longer time span, and therefore it calls for a fundamentally different approach and response to funding, policy-making and implementation than the other areas of the mine action sector. This must be taken into consideration when providing support for locally driven VA/disability initiatives and programmes, the vast majority of which as this study goes on to show, continue to suffer from unsustained and irregular funding flows. A PARADIGM SHIFT The Sustainable 101 study’s focus on highlighting the work undertaken by local civil society actors such as survivor associations, self-help groups, DPOs and CBOs, on victim assistance and disability is in keeping with recent trends in the discourse and practice of victim assistance. These trends suggest a paradigm shift echoing the paradigm shift taking place globally within the larger disability sector from the old charity-based model of development to the social or rights-based model advocated under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In this rights-based model of development, persons with disabilities are viewed not as ‘beneficiaries’ but as ‘rights-holders’ playing a more proactive and engaged role in the processes determining and influencing their lives. “The human rights-based approach requires that rights-holders living in poverty are fully involved and take action in determining their needs and the responses that will be provided to answer them. This is in stark contrast to a top-down, service-led approach where such decisions are made externally and where poor people do not participate in the processes that affect, simply because they are wrongly considered to be mere beneficiaries or recipients. This approach undermines peoples’ dignity and their confidence to think, plan, and negotiate. Though providing people with new schools, wells and boats can serve them on one level, leaving them with less dignity and power to negotiate with others is a failure on another level.” 8 What are the implications of such a paradigm shift for the prevailing policymaking and practice of victim assistance? It connotes a major shift in the balance and dynamics of power (of decision-making and access) by placing people and communities affected by mines/ERW right at the centre of the entire process – framing and defining them not merely as the passive ‘victims’ of these weapons expecting their needs to be fulfilled in compliance with the obligations imposed by the two treaties on all States Parties, but as active, engaged members of their communities and societies demanding and claiming their rights and entitlements. Such an approach is key to overcoming the often inherent and entrenched forms of “multiple and intersectional discrimination” 9 resulting from prevalent physical, socio-cultural, behavioural, political and economic barriers and prejudices - that exclude and prevent 8 Action Aid, Human Rights-based approaches to poverty eradication and development, June 2008, p.7, paper.pdf. 9 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 2, 2009. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE8
  12. 12. survivors and other persons with disabilities from accessing and enjoying their fundamental rights and freedoms. The key question then becomes one of ensuring equitable access and equality of opportunity and choice for all. Improving access, opportunity and choice should be seen not only in terms of improved physical accessibility, but as encompassing: • Improved access to high-quality education, information, technologies and training; • Better nutrition and health; • A more cohesive and supportive social environment; • More secure access to, and better management of natural resources; • Better access to basic and facilitating infrastructure; • More secure access to financial resources; and • A policy and institutional environment that supports multiple livelihood strategies and promotes equitable access to competitive markets for all. 10 As local civil society organisations have more potential to be representative of poor and marginalized groups in society (as compared to state structures or international humanitarian actors), and can thereby be seen as working directly toward the establishment of processes and mechanisms that facilitate and improve access, opportunity and choice for these groups, it then becomes imperative to recognize their work and to strengthen their capacities for greater effectiveness, impact and coverage. At the same time, it is important to point out here that any such capacity-building should seek to enhance the facilitative role of civil society actors rather than enabling them to supplant the state, which must ultimately be held responsible as a ‘duty holder’ for the provision of basic services to its population and for the fulfillment of its rights.10 Department for International Development (DFID-UK), the DFID Approach to Sustainable Livelihoods, National Strategies for Sustainable Development, 2004, 9
  13. 13. 5. METHODOLOGY In order to meet the twin objectives of mapping and assessment, the data collection for the study was conducted in two separate processes using two different questionnaires. The first questionnaire – the PROFILE questionnaire – was developed to collect basic information about the respondent organisation, its contact details, the services it provides, its beneficiary target group(s), its management and staffing structures, its funding mechanisms, etc. Each organisation was additionally asked to provide case-studies of ‘best practices’ or innovative projects that it had undertaken or was currently undertaking. The Profile questionnaires were developed in English and then translated into nine languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Nepalese, Khmer, Vietnamese, Thai and Dari). The dissemination of the questionnaires was either done by the research team by email, telephone or direct contact wherever possible (as in the case of Cambodia where one of the team members was based), or through local intermediaries or ‘information providers’. These local information providers were mainly drawn from Handicap International’s existing network of contacts in the field, and consisted of organisations or individuals involved in delivering services to persons with disabilities, such as the ICBL’s national Victim Assistance Focal Points, disability organisations or survivor associations. In some select cases, such as in Angola, where direct contact with organisations proved difficult to establish or where a suitable organisation could not be identified to take over the task of data collection, a consultant was briefly employed to obtain information from the relevant organisations. The information collected through this process was used to develop individual online ‘profiles’ for each of the respondent or ‘member’ organisations. In the interests of transparency, each respondent organisation was informed at the outset of the intended use of the information being requested from them. By making the directory available on-line and providing each member organisation with the option to maintain and update its own profile, the project hopes to ensure that information provided in the directory remains relevant and up-to-date. The social networking aspect of the website is designed to encourage dialogue and debate between the different member organisations and to facilitate greater transfer and exchange of knowledge and information, giving practitioners the opportunity to learn from each other’s experience. Over time other organisations are expected to enlist in the directory once the value of the greater visibility and exposure afforded to their work and the increased opportunities for knowledge-sharing becomes apparent. The second, almost simultaneous phase of data collection was the analytical phase for which an ANALYTICAL questionnaire was developed using the project management cycle as a basis. This phase was conceived as an evaluative or assessment exercise to critically analyse the functioning of the organisations and to identify any challenges they might face in the effective and sustainable implementation of their activities. It is hoped that an improved understanding of the ground realities of VA and disability service-provision will help donors, policymakers and other international actors to provide support which is both timely and relevant. With this purpose in mind and based on the project management cycle, the analytical questionnaire was divided into sections, each assessing the respondent organisation’s capacity to conduct adequate needs assessments for its target population, and based upon these, to plan, execute and monitor its activities. Respondents were also asked to reflect on those past and current funding trends which might impact on their activities, on the involvement of beneficiaries in their activities, on their coordination with other national and/or international stakeholders (including networks), on their capacity to train and retain staff, and on the challenges and opportunities posed by a host SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE10
  14. 14. of factors, among them lack of political will, unsupportive legislative frameworks, lack of access to information, discriminatory attitudes towards disability, and rampant corruption and nepotism. There were two key differences between the two phases of data-gathering: one, the information collected during the second more ‘analytical’ phase was kept confidential and all respondents were duly informed of this, and two, the sample size for the second phase was deliberately limited to a few select countries chosen from the 29 countries covered by the first phase of the study. Ensuring the confidentiality of the respondents was deemed necessary to enable them to give as accurate a picture as possible of their current realities despite the, at times, politically sensitive nature of the questions and answers. The decision to limit the sample size was taken in order to develop a more detailed understanding of the situation in the case study countries, and to use the context-specific findings (through ‘case study analysis’) to generate more generic, cross-cutting themes of interest. While this report on the analytical assessment largely draws upon the findings of the second data- gathering phase, relevant information has also been used from the profile questionnaires completed by respondent organisations in the initial phase.SELECTION CRITERIA FOR RESEARCH SAMPLE FOR ANALYTICAL STUDY The purposive sampling method, prioritizing logistics and access, was employed to select the ‘case study countries’ for the analytical phase of the study. The selection of countries was based on practical considerations of logistics and access as well as the need to ensure that the sample was adequately reflective of the regional diversity within the group of 29 focus countries. Even more importantly, the need to preserve the confidentiality of respondents and the integrity of the data collection methods by reducing the risk of bias or prejudice was taken into consideration. Therefore for the analytical phase, it was considered essential for the research team to have direct access to the respondent pool rather than relying on the intermediary information providers used for the initial mapping phase. Direct access for data gathering was necessarily subject to the constraints imposed by linguistic, geographical, and communications barriers. Additionally there were budgetary and security constraints on direct access to certain locations. It is important to point out here that in drawing conclusions for a more generic analysis, the research team tried to ensure that the specific conditions of each context, such as the prevailing level and quality of services available to people with disabilities including survivors, the political, socio-cultural and economic environment of each case study country, and the existing level of capacity of local civil society actors and the specific nature of the challenges faced by them, were taken into account. Members of the research team conducted field missions to Lebanon, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Cambodia, where data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions using the analytical questionnaire as a basis. Analytical questionnaires were also completed by a small number of respondent organisations in Afghanistan, Angola and Jordan, where interviews were conducted either by consultants hired by the project or through direct electronic communication between the research team and the respondents. Logistical and budgetary constraints prevented the research team from covering Latin America in the second phase of the data-gathering process. 11
  15. 15. 6. ANALYTICAL ASSESSMENT PART I: THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT CYCLE A total of about 45 organisations in the four main (Lebanon, Cambodia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and three secondary case-study countries (Afghanistan, Angola and Jordan) were assessed for their strengths and weaknesses in each of the different stages of the project management cycle namely, needs assessment, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. The findings of this assessment are discussed in Part I of the Analytical Assessment. Additionally the respondent organisations were asked to reflect upon a few cross-cutting thematic issues of relevance to them namely, survivor/beneficiary inclusion, meeting the needs of persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors, and coordination mechanisms and their role in these mechanisms. These responses are discussed in Part II of the Analytical Assessment. UNDERSTANDING NEEDS AND CAPACITIES Cartagena Action Plan (CAP) #24: Enhance the collection of appropriate data to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate the implementation of relevant national policies, plans and legal frameworks, and link such data with national injury surveillance and other relevant data collection systems. As the Landmine Monitor’s research has made apparent year after year, the planning and implementation of victim assistance activities at the national level has not often been guided by any comprehensive understanding of existing needs and capacities. Reliable data on the number of affected people and communities needing support, their location, and the kind of support they need is simply not available in most countries. Although most countries maintain national casualty databases, these databases do not go beyond providing incidence data for each casualty or survivor with there being little to no follow-up data available on the post- incident conditions and needs of survivors. There is also insufficient linkage of casualty databases to databases which may be maintained by other sectors (such as the health, education, finance, and labour and employment ministries), or those maintained by organisations themselves. Even when a casualty database is regularly maintained and updated, there are often issues with how the data is used, shared with and accessed by the different stakeholders (government, local civil society, international humanitarian community etc.). Due to a lack of coordination and information exchange between ministries and government agencies, and between government and civil society organisations in most case- study countries, and due to an insufficient disaggregation of data collection on the basis of gender, age, ethnicity, livelihood profiles, geography, etc., whatever available data there is on mine/ERW survivors rarely feeds into national statistics on poverty, gender, disability and the distribution and quality of basic services for all population groups. The lack of adequate coordination between the different stakeholders also means that there is very little knowledge at national and even local levels, of existing capacities and resources and of the different initiatives being undertaken. This often leads to either duplication and overlapping or persistent gaps in service delivery, as a result of which, the needs of traditionally marginalised and deprived groups may continue to be overlooked. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE12
  16. 16. The lack of coordinated and comprehensive needs assessments mechanisms is a recurringproblem in almost all the case-study countries, but was especially cited as being a majorchallenge in accessing information by respondents in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatiaand Angola. In Angola for instance, a mine victim survey is planned for this year by the Inter-sectoral Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Assistance (CNIDAH), but many of theAngolan organisations interviewed for the S101 research were not aware of it, although it isdue to take place in their area of operation.Another challenge to collecting reliable data on the real needs of persons with disabilitiesincluding mine/ERW survivors is posed by prevalent socio-cultural belief systems anddiscriminatory attitudes and behavioural patterns towards disability and in particulardisability and gender, due to which the marginalization and exclusion suffered by mostpersons with disabilities goes unacknowledged and unchecked. This was found to be the casein countries like BiH, Croatia, Cambodia and Afghanistan where most respondent organisationsmentioned the difficulty inherent in having disability issues sufficiently prioritized on thenational agenda, and in Angola, where it was more difficult to involve female beneficiaries inthe consultation process. In Jordan cultural issues were also listed as a challenge to collectinginformation, and it was considered important to be sensitive to traditional cultures andbeliefs.Funding issues at the project inception stage also, often posed a challenge to conductingcomprehensive needs assessments with one respondent organisation pointing out that“understanding the needs takes too much time and we have to do it without resources as mostdonors do not support this phase”.The majority of the organisations surveyed claimed to know the needs of their target group(s)and intended beneficiaries because they are “from the area, have first-hand knowledge of thelocal community and context, and work at the grassroots level.” This information is often moreexhaustive and detailed than what most existing databases are able to provide, and workingdirectly and sometimes through peer support, with affected survivors and communities on theground also, enables local civil society organisations to gather detailed information on theirneeds. In Angola, the respondents said that it was best to use participatory methods to collectinformation for needs assessments with one organisation describing its use of a “RapidParticipatory Diagnosis” approach to understanding the scale and scope of the problem. Incontexts such as Angola, Jordan and Afghanistan, it was also deemed important to consultlocal traditional leaders in the community consultation process. In Angola and Lebanon, mostrespondents were of the opinion that information was best collected by local people usinglocal languages. One faith-based organisation in Angola worked through the church network,while another mentioned that it would be useful to have access to reports of previous projectsundertaken by other NGOs, government agencies and local civil society actors in order to learnfrom their experiences in providing services to persons with disabilities including mine/ERWsurvivors.While the value of the grassroots knowledge which most local disability/VA service providersdraw upon cannot be denied, at the same time, it is important to recognise that there may bea risk of entrenching prevalent inequities and power imbalances and further marginalising themost vulnerable as the people working for these local organisations may either belong to thelocal power elites themselves or they may be reluctant to challenge the existing powerdynamics in the region. It is thus imperative to balance out existing local knowledge withexhaustive needs assessments using vulnerability and poverty mapping tools. 13
  17. 17. PLANNING CAP Action #22: Develop, if they have not yet done so, a comprehensive national plan of action that addresses all aspects of victim assistance with objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound, ensuring that such a plan takes into account broader national policies, plans and legal frameworks that promote and guarantee the rights of landmine victims in accordance with the highest international standards, and thereafter implement, monitor and evaluate the implementation of such a plan. Organisational planning Up to 85% of the organisations surveyed during the first phase of the data-gathering process claimed to have formal strategic and work plans in place, ranging from 1-5 years in duration and outlining the key objectives and activities of the organisation. These plans were developed in consultation with staff members, and sometimes beneficiaries and even donors. Most of the respondents also claimed that these plans were linked to national mine action/victim assistance strategies or disability plans where they existed, though given the inadequate level of coordination in most of the case-study countries, it was not clear to the research team how these links were manifested and what was the influence of national plans on the setting of organisational priorities. In case study countries such as BiH, a victim assistance sub- strategy was drafted with the participation of a few key civil society organisations, but those organisations which had not been involved in the drafting process, did not feel the need to engage with the strategy and its objectives in any capacity in the course of their own activities. None of the other disability organisations and associations representing those affected by war was included in the plan either. A number of respondents pointed out that they were not always able to meet all the objectives of their plans due to a lack of funding and staff capacity implying that some of the planned activities may have constituted a ‘wish list’ rather than being based on a realistic assessment and understanding of what was possible within available resources. These respondents admitted that this necessarily led to a decrease in their ability to deliver services effectively with a corresponding narrowing of the beneficiary pool. Those respondents which said however, that they developed realistic plans taking into consideration access to and availability of resources - both human and financial - appeared to be more effective in meeting their core objectives. An important point to consider here, and linked to earlier observations on the lack of comprehensive needs assessments, is that while plans may be formulated and implemented, if they are not truly responsive to the specific needs on the ground and do not actively involve beneficiaries in the decision-making and implementation process, their impact on improving the living conditions of their target group(s) can only be limited at best, and detrimental at worst. However it was beyond the scope of this study to assess the potential impact of some of these plans. IMPLEMENTATION Internal organisational capacities By and large, most respondents (at least 75% of respondent organisations were dependent on project-based grants for their survival) linked their limited organisational capacity to a lack of sustained and regular funding for meeting their core costs as opposed to funding for project activities. With a limited funding cycle determined by the duration of the project cycle, most of the surveyed organisations found it difficult in practice to retain skilled and trained staff SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE14
  18. 18. and to invest resources to build their capacity for fundraising, proposal writing and donorliaison, better communications, data management and research among other things. A numberof respondents also voiced the need for improving their technical skills and financialmanagement capacities. Erratic and variable funding flows were inevitably found to lead tohigh staff turnover with a corresponding loss of knowledge and capacity, and an inability toimprove the quality of their service delivery, and caused some organisations to be reluctantabout widening their beneficiary pool despite a high demand for their services.Some respondents said that they had had to rely on volunteers due to a lack of funding forsalaried staff. However, they did cite certain advantages of working with volunteers, particularlywhen those volunteers were beneficiaries themselves, in terms of making activities moreinclusive and participatory.Most of the respondent organisations seemed to have a good understanding of their particularstrengths and weaknesses and had made efforts (including partnering with internationalorganisations, employing external consultants and technical specialists, and enabling staff toattend training courses and workshops) to build up capacity within the resources available tothem.External factors affecting implementationCAP Action #26: “Ensure that capacity building and training plans are developed andimplemented to promote high quality standards and availability of age-appropriate andgender-sensitive services in all components of victim assistance, and enhance the capacity ofboth women and men and national institutions charged with implementing national policies,plans and legal frameworks, including through the provision of adequate resources.”CAP Action #27: “Increase accessibility of both female and male landmine victims to qualityservices and to overcome physical, social, cultural, economic and political barriers, with aparticular focus on rural and remote areas.”Some of the most commonly cited external challenges to effective and sustainableimplementation included lack of effective national legal/policy frameworks (for the health andeducation sectors, for the mine action sector, for the non-profit sector as a whole, disabilitylegislation etc.) or their inadequate enforcement, lack of political will at the national level,lack of funding, lack of physical security in the operational environment, bureaucraticconstraints, lack of access to relevant information, logistics, geographical isolation, lack ofeffective national coordination mechanisms, discriminatory attitudes towards beneficiariesand corruption/nepotism. The extent to which these challenges exist or impact onorganisational capacity for implementation, varies from country to country and according toeach individual organisation’s capacities.Ironically, some of the challenges that local service providers face were also constraints onthe S101 research. Thus in countries that face problems of physical insecurity due to conflict,such as Iraq and Afghanistan, or where modes of transportation and communication weredifficult and unreliable, such as in Angola, it was more difficult to gather reliable andcomprehensive information for this study.Geographical isolation and inaccessibility, often accompanied by physical insecurity, wasmentioned as being a major constraint to implementation in countries like Afghanistan andAngola and largely accounted for the disparity in the quality and coverage of services betweenrural and urban areas. In Angola, the problem of geographical isolation is compounded by thelack of adequate infrastructure. The country is vast, road networks are poor and badly 15
  19. 19. maintained and the local service-providers do not have sufficient resources for transport. Another significant challenge highlighted by respondents in Angola was the lack of internet access, which they felt hampered their links with the international community and limited the fundraising opportunities available to them. As mentioned previously, a prevailing culture of discriminatory attitudes and taboos against disability often posed a serious challenge to respondent organisations in BiH, Croatia, Cambodia and Afghanistan, and made it difficult for them to access government resources or to highlight the needs of people with disabilities in comparison to other disadvantaged groups in the population. A general lack of government capacity combined with limited understanding of needs on the ground, lack of political will and inadequate resource mobilisation to plan, implement and coordinate service delivery to persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors, imposes huge constraints on the functioning of local civil society actors by obliging them to fill in the gaps in service provision without having access to the resources and infrastructure of the state. Besides the fundamental ‘rights-based’ issue of government responsibility and duty in the domain of service provision, service delivery by civil society actors can never be sustained in the long term owing to the latter’s “high dependence on external funding, the difficulty of ‘going to scale’ and their inability to recover costs through user charges.” 11 Some civil society organisations have tried to resolve these external challenges through advocacy to effect policy change at the national level, but with varying degrees of success. Funding and financial sustainability The majority of respondent organisations from all the case-study countries considered the lack of regular sustained funding as a key concern, and in fact for many, it was the main problem they reportedly faced (with at least 75% of surveyed organisations reliant on project- based grants). As discussed earlier, a lack of funding was also seen to be one of the contributing factors for the inability of some organisations to realise all their plans. Some of the respondent organisations expressed a need to increase their capacity for fundraising and proposal writing as they often found themselves restricted from accessing international donor funding owing to overly complex international donor procedures or simply due to a lack of information about available sources of funding. It is nevertheless important to highlight here the lack of sustainability and excessive donor dependency caused by an over-reliance on grant-based funding. Several of the respondent organisations used a combination of funding mechanisms in order to diversify their funding sources and to make up for any shortfalls in donor funding. International non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and national governments were the 2 biggest donors for at least 30% and 20% of the respondent organisations respectively, with foreign governments and private individual donations being the biggest source of funding for about 10% of them. 12 About 5% of the organisations surveyed charged beneficiaries/users for services provided, while another 5% of them undertook various income-generating activities such as rental of office space etc. 11 Solava Ibrahim and David Hulme, Has civil society helped the poor?–A review of the roles and contributions of civil society to poverty reduction, Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper 114, University of Manchester, March 2010, p.10. 12 The figures cited here are based upon responses received from about 170 organisations during the first ‘Profile’ phase of the data-gathering process. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE16
  20. 20. There have been repeated calls for affected states to contribute long-term national funds to victim assistance, and for donor states in a position to assist to increase multi-year funding for victim assistance 13. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in one of its statements at the Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings of the Mine Ban Treaty in June 2010, incited countries to “not end your international cooperation efforts once a country has finished its clearance obligations. Instead, continue to channel mine action funds to victim assistance as victims’ needs will continue over the long term” 14. It highlighted the need to “acknowledge that attitudes, practices and national resources will not be changed in a matter of one or two years. Therefore ensure sustainability and effectiveness of VA projects by committing to long term financial support.” 15 While it is possible to solicit and fundraise specifically for VA donor funding - some organisations found it relatively easier to raise funds under the VA banner by invoking donor obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty - the services offered by these organisations were not limited to any one single group or community. In Colombia several donor-funded projects work to strengthen capacity to meet the needs of mine/ERW survivors, but simultaneously also benefit other persons with disabilities. Against this though, is the argument that funding should not discriminate against people based on the cause of disability, but should be based on need and has been a reason commonly cited by several big donors such as the European Union, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Department for International Development (DFID), UK among others for their seeming reluctance to earmark funds specifically for victim assistance activities. Implementation carried out in ‘partnership’ with international organisations Over the last 10 years, INGOs have played a significant role in helping to develop the capacities of national NGOs and other civil society actors in several countries. This support has taken several forms ranging from an INGO establishing operations and then handing over to national management and ownership, to a close partnership with a national organisation, to the provision of support more remotely as a donor. Most respondent organisations in Lebanon, BiH, Croatia, Afghanistan and Cambodia were generally positive about their experience of working with international organisations. The benefits they mentioned included gaining of international experience and heightened visibility, improved access to donor funding, and the enhanced ability to influence international conventions and advocacy campaigns on a global level. Nevertheless, a few also mentioned challenges such as those posed by the random, non-context specific application of international concepts and standards at the local level, or by the different and sometimes conflicting agendas of the INGO and its local implementing partner. In Angola in particular, some of the survey participants expressed dissatisfaction with their relationship with international organisations when asked to comment on the perceived benefits and challenges of working in collaboration with them. Some of them felt imposed upon by their international partners which in their view, were more willing to support projects based on their own priorities rather than on the needs defined and identified by the national partners and their beneficiary populations. This was also echoed in the responses received13 Survivors’ Call to Action, Cartagena Summit on a Mine-free World, Colombia, 29 November-4 December 2009.14 ICBL Statement on International Cooperation and Assistance - Victim Assistance, Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings, 25 June 2010, Geneva, Ibid. 17
  21. 21. from some organisations in Afghanistan. The respondents did not feel that such a manner of working led to a real partnership approach. They were reluctant about participating in research projects which did not yield any material or tangible benefits for their own work. However some of the INGOs which were interviewed in the course of this study also experienced difficulties, for instance, by being excluded from national coordination activities (e.g. in Angola, an INGO was excluded from a VA evaluation workshop). MONITORING AND EVALUATION CAP Action #28: Monitor and evaluate progress regarding victim assistance within broader national policies, plans and legal frameworks on an ongoing basis, encourage relevant States Parties to report on the progress made, including resources allocated to implementation and challenges in achieving their objectives, and encourage States Parties in a position to do so to also report on how they are responding to efforts to address the rights and needs of mine victims. The internal monitoring and evaluation systems of the respondent organisations vary considerably. The vast majority of them said that they know if their services are effectively meeting the needs of beneficiaries from the feedback received from the beneficiaries themselves. Some also used questionnaires or held feedback meetings. A few had more formal monitoring systems in place with different indicators to monitor progress and impact. On a more macro level, there appeared to be no nation-wide evaluations of VA activities in any of the case-study countries, which was surprising, particularly given that the other pillars of mine action have been subject to evaluation on a regular basis. This issue is also linked with the lack of information on needs and capacities. Without an adequate understanding of needs and capacities, it is not possible to adequately assess the impact of programme activities. Similarly without planning processes and specific objectives and goals in place, it would be difficult to monitor and evaluate outcomes and impact. With responsibility for the planning and implementation of VA and disability-related activities shared on a sectoral basis between the relevant line ministries in each country, the survey found that there was often a lack of clarity about the most appropriate agency to monitor and evaluate progress and impact. There were some notable exceptions though: the Lebanese Mine Action Centre plans to issue Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for VA activities later in the year; in Jordan there are efforts to ensure that services provided for people with disabilities meet required standards with the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCAPD) planning to accredit all disability organisations and to regularly monitor their activities; in Croatia most of the respondent organisations received their funding from the national government, which is currently in the process of putting more stringent monitoring mechanisms in place. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE18
  22. 22. 7. ANALYTICAL ASSESSMENT PART II: CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES RESPONDING TO SURVIVOR NEEDS Much has been said already about the need to develop context-specific responses to actual needs on the ground in ways which ensure equitable access and equality of opportunity and choice for all persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors. In order to do so, it is imperative to build upon existing local knowledge of the context and to improve our understanding of existing needs, capacities, resources and constraints to avoid overlapping and duplication of effort and to increase coverage and quality. It is worth noting here though that “NGOs operating in service delivery … should be careful not to adopt an exclusively needs based approach that neglects the poor’s rights and fails to challenge the structures and institutions that brought about their deprivations in the first place. The danger here is that NGOs in service provision might sometimes seek to maintain these exploitative structures which provide them with funds to finance their projects.”16 Based upon their first-hand grassroots knowledge of their communities and areas, most of the respondent organisations highlighted the challenges inherent in undertaking economic inclusion/ livelihoods recovery and rehabilitation programmes, given the extended investment of time and resources required to build up the ‘skills, knowledge and employability’ of this traditionally marginalised target group to enable them to overcome widespread discrimination and social exclusion, which restricts their access to jobs, markets, entrepreneurship development and micro- finance facilities17. Despite the inherent challenges, the study found that as many as 80% of the organisations surveyed during the first phase of the project (more than 170 in number) were offering socio-economic services in some form or the other – vocational training, small business support, peer and/or psychosocial support – to persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors. This seems to be in direct response to two principal factors – one, that improved economic and employment opportunities have consistently been flagged by survivors and other persons with disabilities as being key to their successful inclusion into mainstream society18, and two, that due to a lack of capacity, resources and an insufficient understanding of real needs, there has been far too little government support for such activities. 19 As a consequence, local civil society actors have stepped in to fill in the gaps. Whether such activities undertaken by civil society actors can be sustained over the long term remains doubtful, for reasons discussed earlier in this report, as well as because addressing the root causes of livelihood vulnerability and insecurity requires the establishment of linkages at multiple levels with multiple stakeholders, and of structural mechanisms which eventually lead to equality of access, opportunity and choice for all vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities.16 Solava Ibrahim and David Hulme, Has civil society helped the poor?–A review of the roles and contributions of civil society to poverty reduction, Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper 114, University of Manchester, March 2010, p.12.17 “an estimated 80 per cent of all people with disabilities in the world live in developing countries. Of these, some 426 million live below the poverty line and often represent the 15-to-20 per cent most vulnerable and marginalized poor in such countries”, The right to decent work of persons with disabilities, Arthur O’Reilly, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2007. (ISBN 9778-92-2-120144-1)18 “... that the States Parties reconsider the importance of measures to ensure economic inclusion since this vital component of Victim Assistance has often been ignored in the past,” Survivors’ Call to Action, Cartagena Summit on a Mine-free World, Colombia, 29 November-4 December 2009.19 “Most efforts remained focused on medical care and physical rehabilitation, often supported by international organisations and funding, rather than on promoting economic self-reliance for survivors, their families, and communities,” Landmine Monitor Report 2009, Executive Summary, Special Ten-Year Review, Victim Assistance, p.53. 19
  23. 23. SURVIVOR INCLUSION The Survivors’ Call to Action calls on all states to “guarantee meaningful participation of landmine survivors in all areas of victim assistance at all levels”20. Participation may take place at the civil society level, or the government level, and through coordination mechanisms. In many countries, survivors have in fact taken the initiative themselves and set up their own associations, such as in Croatia, the Karlovac Association for Mine Victims; in BiH, Eko Sportska and UDAS, and the Landmine Survivors Initiative (LSI); in Uganda, the Ugandan Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA) with its many member associations representing the different districts of Uganda; and in Cambodia, the local NGO, Yodifee, established by a person with disability who was unable to find a job, and wanted to provide socio-economic support to people in the same situation as his, to list a few. Most of the respondent organisations which participated in the initial data-gathering phase claimed to have active beneficiary involvement in the planning and implementation of their day-to-day activities, with at least 45% of them employing beneficiaries as volunteers and about 15-20% of them employing beneficiaries as paid staff members. In terms of their inclusion in national VA and disability coordination mechanisms, some of the associations run by survivors, particularly those in BiH, were critical of the role played by the national coordinating body and questioned its right to represent survivors. IMPROVING COORDINATION CAP Action #23: “Establish, if they have not yet done so, an inter-agency coordination mechanism for the development, implementation, and monitoring of appropriate national polices, plans and legal frameworks, involving the full and active participation of landmine survivors and other relevant stakeholders, and thus ensuring that the entity is assigned primary responsibility for overseeing this coordination and has the authority and resources to carry out its task.” Coordination is crucial to effective VA planning and implementation for several reasons: it enables the participation of all the relevant stakeholders, links national civil society actors with government actors, facilitates exchange of information and sharing of resources, helps to improve understanding of main issues and concerns, and to avoid duplication of effort while addressing gaps, and enables all participants to benefit from each others’ experiences. Additionally, it can be instrumental in helping civil society actors to identify and determine their most appropriate and effective role in the domains of service delivery, advocacy and policy change. Advocacy work and policy change, in order to have an impact, cannot be done in isolation and must be conducted in collaboration with other actors. However, effective coordination of VA activities remains elusive to many countries, despite efforts made in recent years. Given the crucial role of coordination in developing a cohesive and structured response to needs on the ground, simply saying it should take place is not enough, and it is important to identify the reasons why coordination is not happening as it should and set into place the concrete mechanisms to support it. As identified during the course of this research, two main gaps in coordination were found to exist: between government and civil society actors in general, and between survivor associations and VA organisations, and more mainstream disability-related organisations. A number of disability and veteran organisations (and some government bodies) surveyed in Croatia and BiH claimed not to pay any particular attention to the needs of mine/ERW survivors in order to avoid any discrimination on the basis of the cause of disability. Consequently they did not see any value in being part of VA coordination mechanisms. Other causes of ineffective coordination may be a lack of political will, and government incapacity to hold meetings, disseminate information, and monitor activities due to an insufficient allocation 20 Survivors’ Call to Action, Cartagena Summit on a Mine-free World, Colombia, 29 November-4 December 2009. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE20
  24. 24. of time and resources. Factors that impede coordination may also include divergent political orstakeholder interests and agendas. While some political differences may be obvious in a post-conflict country, others may be less so. There may be competition between various stakeholders forthe same pool of funding. In Angola for instance, the competition for scarce resources among thenational NGOs was cited by an international NGO, as being an obstacle to effective coordinationamong them. One organisation may have more political influence than others to lobby government,or there may simply be personality differences between the staff of the different organisations.However, it should not be assumed that political differences mean that civil society organisationswill not coordinate together – there are plenty of examples of good coordination among groups thatmay have been opposed to each other during conflict and may still be political rivals. It is useful toconduct a stakeholder analysis, and study the interests of the different organisations and the powerrelations between them. External bodies, particularly international organisations, should bemindful of the fact that coordination problems may be due to factors that are not immediatelyobvious to the outsider.At times, the study found that there was confusion within the mine action centre (MAC) itself as toits role in victim assistance. Among the survey respondents, a range of attitudes towardscoordination could be found, ranging from support towards coordination efforts to feeling someresentment and viewing the MAC as “controlling”, with some survivors questioning the MAC’s rightto represent them. In Lebanon, the MAC is a military body, it chairs a victim assistance steeringcommittee, and although at first glance a military body might not appear to be appropriate for thisrole, certain advantages can be identified, such as that it is authoritative enough to coordinate theactivities of a diverse group of actors in a politically diverse context, and that it facilitates access tosensitive areas through providing permits etc.One way to strengthen coordination mechanisms and processes can be to demonstrate tostakeholders the benefits of coordination. If the coordinating body provides incentives – forexample, capacity-building and training courses on subjects related to project cycle management,information on survivors and their needs, ways to increase the visibility of the work done by localservice providers – accompanied by a genuine culture of generating dialogue, knowledge-sharingand information exchange, then local civil society organisations may be more inclined to play anactive role in ensuring the effectiveness of coordination mechanisms.THE EVOLVING ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN VA AND DISABILITY SERVICEPROVISIONThe role played by civil society actors in VA may lie in the domains of advocacy, policy change and/or service delivery, and can vary from country to country depending on several contextual factorsincluding: the specific needs of affected people and communities; the services delivered by otherproviders, including government, UN agencies and INGOs; the existing strength and capacity forengagement of national/local civil society as a whole; and available resources combined with thecapacity for mobilisation of these resources, amongst other factors.23% of the respondents surveyed in the first phase of the data-gathering process were only involvedin service provision, 10% were only involved in advocacy and awareness-raising, and 70% wereengaged in both service delivery and advocacy. The majority of organisations engaged in advocacywork believed that their work had been instrumental in effecting policy change at the national level.However, it may be beneficial to pay greater attention to which role(s) may be the most appropriateone(s) to play for local civil society organisations in a given context. Many actors may assume rolesbased on present needs, but may not have taken into consideration longer term sustainability, orhow their activities may fit into the wider sector, or how their activities may impact on otherorganisations. For example, by providing services directly, local civil society organisations may riskabsolving governments of their primary responsibility to ensure the basic rights of their populations.It should also be noted that civil society organisations do not work in isolation, and their individual 21
  25. 25. roles may be best worked out through the coordinated efforts of all relevant stakeholders, including both government and civil society actors. In case study countries such as Croatia, BiH, Afghanistan and Colombia, besides filling gaps in services, local organisations also help survivors and other persons with disabilities to access services by providing them with information about available services as well as facilitating them to access these services in accordance with their rights. For example in Croatia, one local NGO worked with the Mine Action Centre to compile a guidebook of the legal rights of survivors with a directory of service providers. In Colombia, government officials recognise the crucial role played by NGOs and view this as an integral part of VA activities within the country. Advocating on behalf of survivors and helping them to navigate confusing government regulations to access services and benefits is seen as being the responsibility of the local NGOs.21 Some organisations do not provide services at all, but see their role entirely as facilitating survivors’ access to services, and advocating on their behalf. The respondents varied considerably in their views about their roles in advocacy and policy change, with some viewing it as the primary focus of what they do, while others regarded it as very secondary, if important at all, to their primary role of providing services. Some thought it would detract from their service provision activities. Overall though, as mentioned earlier, up to 70% of organisations surveyed in the first phase of data- collection claimed to be active in both service provision and advocacy and awareness-raising. In a Victim Assistance Workshop organised by Handicap International in May 2010 in Amman, Jordan, the advantages and disadvantages of a civil society-government partnership in advocacy work were discussed at great length. Some NGO participants saw governments as partners with whom they could work together to advocate for survivors’ rights, while others viewed governments as the targets of their advocacy work. Working on policy change can only be effective if there is recognition of the constraints that governments face, and if civil society organisations see the government as an ally to work with rather than as an adversary. For example, several NGOs in Lebanon were sympathetic to the challenges their government faced as a result of political instability. In BiH, most civil society respondents spoke of the challenges caused by complex national governance structures. They were also understanding of the lack of funds available due to the global economic recession. Another lesson learned was the need for patience. If legislation is new, then changes may take time to follow through. For instance, local civil society actors in Croatia credited themselves for bringing about necessary changes in the law, but also recognised the fact that it would take time for the new policies to take effect. As well as lobbying politicians and government bodies, a number of respondents also saw their role as involving the changing of the mind-set among the public at large, for example through education in schools about disability rights. A number of respondents also emphasised the need for a paradigm shift away from a purely ‘medical’ approach to an approach based on human rights, which empowers persons with disabilities to fight for their rights as individuals as well as collectively. On the whole it can be argued that collectively, it is best for civil society organisations to be involved in all three activities provided they have the capacity to do so. “Service delivery can create the necessary knowledge base for advocacy work because NGOs providing services to the poor are in a better position to collect the necessary data needed to lobby for policy change. On the other hand, those organisations operating in advocacy need to make sure that they do not ‘lose’ touch with the grassroots.”22 21 ICBL, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor 2010, Colombia Country Profile, 2010, 22 Solava Ibrahim and David Hulme, Has civil society helped the poor?–A review of the roles and contributions of civil society to poverty reduction, Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper 114, University of Manchester, March 2010, p.11. SUSTAINABLE 101: VICTIM ASSISTANCE 10 YEARS ON BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN POLICY AND PRACTICE22
  26. 26. 8. CASE STUDIES The selected case-studies were collected in the first ‘Profile’ phase of the data-gathering process and represent a few interesting examples of the range of activities being undertaken by local civil society actors in the field of service delivery to persons with disabilities including mine/ERW survivors. These examples do not necessarily include the respondents of the second “Analytical” phase of data-gathering. CASE STUDY I: MINE AID, CROATIA Project I: Provision of psychological assistance to and capacity-building of survivorsName of Organisation: Duration: 10 months (May 2009 - March 2010)MINE AID, CROATIA Goal: Strengthening and integration of mine victims into society through groupTarget Group: psychotherapy and education, to enable them to cope with the lasting effects of disability,Landmine/ and to improve their employment prospects.ERW survivorsLocation of Activities: Activities:Zagreb, Brod-Posavina,Karlovac, Lika-Senj, a) Group psychotherapyOsijek-Baranja,Sisak-Moslavina, Main Objective:Sibenik-Knin,Vukovar-Srijem and 1. To empower victims by assessing their skills and capacities and by supporting themZadar according to their individual needs, abilities and preferences.Kind of Activities: The current group consists of 6 mine victims, four of whom are amputees, one has internalPsychological Support injuries and one is the child of a survivor. The group is led by a professional psychotherapist(professional and the observer is a social worker.psychological and peerSupport), Psychosocial b) Conducting of seminar “Promotion of rights of the mine survivors and coordination ofsupport (counselling, social services and activities” - 27 participantseducation, rightsawareness, field visits, Main Objectives:financial aid,scholarships, 1. To promote exchange of information and knowledge on the scope and nature of theincentives for problems faced by organisations/institutions involved in the protection andself-employment) implementation of rights for persons with disabilities; 2. To improve cooperation and networking between these organisations/institutions, and relevant governmental and non-governmental actors. The target audience of this seminar included both mine victims, and institutions and organisations directly or indirectly involved in the protection and implementation of rights for persons with disabilities. 23