LEvel two: prepare FOR THE ASSESSMENT

This level outlines the necessary steps to define where to do the EVCA and then prepare and coordinate with the community to carry it out. The activities to be carried out during this preparation phase are mainly the responsibility of the staff of the National Society that forms the national EVCA team.

​The preparation phase is a crucial one. How well you prepare will directly impact on the chances of success of the process and its outputs. Effectively engaging the community and other stakeholders and preparing the team and resources will take time. It is key that the time is taken to do these steps properly.

Step 2. Decide where to do the EVCA

Your National Society should analyze a range of factors that will enable it to decide where best to
focus its attention and resources. Secondary data (what is already known or written) is the place to start. The secondary data you compile in this step will also be useful later when you prepare for the assessment.

The following sub steps are a short version of a community selection process. However, if you have the time, we encourage you to go through the more thorough process of community selection outlined in the Strategic Targeting Methodology.


2.1 Select the sub-national target area

​Start by collecting information about the risks and hazards at the sub-national level. Make sure you are not only collecting data on past or current risks but are also considering risks that may change over time. Below are some links tosecondary sources that document and show risk indices that can also help to identify high priority risk regions within your country:

For additional tips on selecting priority sub-national areas, click here >


2.2 Select target communities

​Once you have narrowed down the scope to the sub-national level, the next step is to select the target communities where to undertake the EVCA. It is important that this be based on clear criteria adapted to the context and that there be transparent communication around why you pick some communities and not others.

In an urban setting, identifying the community level can be challenging. In such contexts, it is recommended that National Societies/branches start first by building local coalitions and identifying the most at-risk communities in the city. The section on “Resilience For Whom” of the toolkit is designed to guide National Societies on how to identify vulnerable communities within the city from a systems analysis perspective.

Click here to see detailed steps for the community selection process >

Key message

It is important to slow down the EVCA process until the communities fully understand it and show commitment for the entire process and outputs.

Step 3. Prepare for the EVCA


3.1 Make a work plan and budget

The next step to prepare for the assessment with the community is to plan your actions and create a budget. This should be done by the national EVCA team and subsequently further refined and adapted once the members of the local EVCA team have been selected and trained. An EVCA does not need to be expensive - the resources most needed are the time, energy and commitment of communities, staff and volunteers. 

Your plan and budget could be captured in the following format:

Good practice: To the extent possible, it is preferable to already have identified a minimum level of resources that will be available to help implement the community risk reduction action plan and micro-projects before the process starts in order to avoid disappointment when the community action plan is ready. To ensure this, it is important to engage stakeholders (local, national or international) that could fund the projects from the start. See more on this in section 3.3.

Click here for more details and tips on how to create a work plan and budget >


3.2 Discuss with community leaders​

Even if you have already obtained the consent of the community leaders (during the community selection process), it is important to go back and explain the next steps of the preparation and the assessment. Informing them of the next steps will also be an opportunity to invite them to be part of the team or to get involved in other ways.

Tip: The more time you give the community to genuinely join the process, the better the results.


3.3 Engage other stakeholders at the sub-national and community level

To increase the chances of a successful process, you should have some resources to fund micro-projects. For this, it is important that you engage stakeholders that could fund or support the projects. You might have already engaged stakeholders at the national level in Level 1, but it is now time to continue this engagement and to engage sub-national and local stakeholders as well. Consider inviting key stakeholders to the training and engaging them in the EVCA process.

​This is of crucial importance especially if your National Society does not have the necessary funding to support the micro-projects that the community will ultimately identify as important during the EVCA.

The following steps and suggestions are proposed to guarantee proper stakeholder engagement:

  • Map the different stakeholders at the sub-national and local level
  • Think about how to engage the different stakeholders and what you want to achieve by engaging them.
  • Organise meetings and sensitise local stakeholders on EVCA.

​Click here to read the steps in more detail >


3.4 Select and train the local EVCA team

It is now time for the national team to select and train the local EVCA team.

Selection of team members

The composition of your local EVCA team is important. Without the right team composition, people may not feel comfortable to open up about their needs, priorities and capacities. Consider practical ways to ensure that the team is gender-balanced and representative of the diversity in the community.

You will also need to decide on the team's size. To create the team, start by identifying key champions and volunteers from inside the community. The more they are involved, the greater the chance of community ownership of the EVCA results. Complement the community volunteers with National Society volunteers, staff members and other interested local stakeholders.

Train the local EVCA team

Once the team members have been selected, sufficient time must be allocated to train them on the EVCA. It is vital that the team members understand what the EVCA is and how it should be done. Community work is very specialised and the staff and volunteers must be properly prepared if they are to make full use of the methods, tools and materials at their disposal. 

One of the key roles of the national EVCA team is to give this training to the facilitation/implementation team at the branch level. You should design and implement a training programme that will ensure that the trained staff and volunteers have the necessary knowledge and skills, feel comfortable with facilitating the different participatory EVCA tools and understand how to analyse the findings.

Click here to read useful tips for selecting and training the local EVCA team >


3.5 Familiarise yourself with the context and compile secondary information

Building upon what is already known is an important part of any assessment and should be done by compiling and analysing existing relevant data from secondary sources. In previous steps, you conducted a context analysis at the national and sub-national level, which means you already have collected some secondary information. Now, you need to build on that process with data at the community level, compiling information that specifically describes the community. The secondary data review tool of the EVCA toolbox will give you more details on how to do this.

If other assessments have already been undertaken in the community by the RCRC or other organizations, it is important that you consider the information from these assessments. It will help avoid collecting information that is already available and may save you time during the EVCA assessment phase.

Based on this information, you should start to develop a simple ‘community factsheet’ (see community factsheet in the EVCA toolbox).

Click here for more details and tips on how to compile secondary information >


3.6 Identify the assessment tools you will use

Beyond the secondary data review and community factsheet referred to above, there are number of tools that can be used in an EVCA. The most common tools have been included in the EVCA toolbox. Many additional participatory assessment tools are available in the old VCA toolbox or sectoral assessment toolbox (see examples in section 7.1.6).

In the process of selecting the relevant EVCA tools for your context, remember that there is no single EVCA tool that must be used in each and every context. The selection of tools will depend on which part of the assessment you are in (hazard and exposure assessment, or vulnerability and capacity assessment). Some tools are more appropriate for a specific stage of the assessment. There is no need to use all the tools as time will not allow for this and several tools achieve similar results.

Click here for more information and tips on how to select tools for each stage of the assessment >


3.7 Identify the composition of community participants

For an EVCA to be balanced and representative, carefully consider who within the community needs to be engaged and how participants and informants are selected. Participants need to be "recruited" based on a clear set of predetermined criteria. The team can use the secondary information and their knowledge of the community to select a representative composition of community participants. In order to be inclusive, make sure to include vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Once you confirm community participation and sensitivities, you can set up each specific data collection event by establishing how many events are required and which team members will lead their collection. For example, if certain ethnic groups are not comfortable speaking in front of each other, a group method such as a focus group discussion would need to be repeated for each specific ethnic group. A group method may also need to be repeated for men and women.

Click here to read more on ensuring appropriate composition and setting up data collection events >


3.8 Develop a schedule

Once you have decided which tools you will use in the different steps of the assessment, it is time to make a schedule for each activity with the community and plan out in detail how you will carry out the assessment with the community. The more time you give yourself, the more likely it is that the community will be “on board”. EVCAs typically run from three days to multiple weeks.

Click here for more information, including for a template to organize your schedule >


3.9 Invite the community

With a well-informed choice of tools and participants and a good schedule, you should consult the timing of the proposed schedule with the community and formally invite community members to the assessment.

Make sure that the information about the assessment date, time, venue, purpose and persons required for each assessment activity is communicated well to all the people in the community. Make sure to also inform marginalised community members so that they know about the assessment and can join. It is also important to invite all relevant stakeholders in the area.


3.10 Prepare the logistics

Reserve the venue(s) and make the transport arrangements for the days with the communities.

​Consider what means to use for data collection. You will need different things depending on the context of the communities you will be working with. Consider the technology that is most available and unifying. If every household has a cell phone, or can be provided one for the EVCA, you can organize a very simple household questionnaire using SMS responses. If the EVCA team members are comfortable with computers, consider collecting data using tablets. If you are in a rural isolated community with no electricity, stones and sheets of paper and markers work just fine.

​Once you have decided what you need for data collection, make sure you have the necessary data collection equipment and other material you may need: e.g. props, flipcharts, different colored pieces of paper, pens, maps.​

Prepare the tools as much as possible before the assessment: e.g. print or prepare tables for the tools, draw up the templates for the different tools, etc.

Now that you have taken the necessary steps for the preparation of the EVCA, you are ready to start the assessment with the community >>

EVCA - Level Two: Prepare for the assessment

Click below to explore Level Two and its activities in more detail.

© International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2018

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