Author: Kai Hopkins & Nick Van Praag, GroundTruth Solutions
Three months on from the earthquake in Nepal, and efforts to meet local needs are still in full swing. As highlighted by Feedback Labs, the need to respond in an emergency has to be balanced with collecting feedback from affected populations. Ground Truth Solutions has tried to help address this balance in Nepal, launching regular feedback surveys of both communities and frontline workers.
Feedback from communities across the most seriously hit districts gives a disturbing picture of unmet needs, lack of confidence in both the government and NGOs, and a sense that the path to recovery is slow and, so far at least, unsatisfactory. Women in particular feel left out and marginalised. In a separate survey, frontline workers are also concerned about unmet needs–especially women’s–although they are more positive than communities about the fairness of the support provided and whether the relief effort is making progress.
No surprise that people feel more should be done. But the data also provides many pointers for aid managers about how to be more responsive to the concerns of affected people. Working with our in-country partners, Local Interventions Group and Accountability Lab, we will be collecting data every month and feeding it into the decision-making process in Nepal.
Now it is time for relief agencies to discuss these findings internally as well as with affected people themselves in order to make sense of the data and find out why people responded to questions as they did. We will ask the same questions next month and will be able to make more sense of any differences between community and frontline worker perceptions. We will also hopefully be able to track positive changes in the way people see things. This will only happen if the humanitarian agencies listen to what people are saying and act on the feedback. Getting the right balance between listening and acting is critical. Listening without acting does not help.