Using CLA to Position Frontier County Governments for Effective Disaster Response
This case explores the CLA approach of the Resilience Learning Activity (RLA), in partnership with local stakeholders, in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and positioning counties in Northern Kenya for better disaster preparedness and management in the future. RLA is a five-year, USAID/Kenya and East Africa-funded Activity led by ACDI/VOCA. To strengthen resilience capacities and evidence-based programming, RLA supports regional, national, and local organizations and institutions in Northern Kenya, Somalia, and the Horn of Africa to build their analytics capacities, facilitate learning for adaptive management, and improve knowledge management and communications. At the onset of the pandemic, stakeholders were striving to provide local communities with real-time information. However, Kenya's mainstream media faced an upsurge of fake news which resulted in confusion and panic and threatened public trust. The lack of coordination between the County government and development partners resulted in the duplication of efforts.
In response, RLA applied the CLA approach to support resilience capacities for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic through three significant interventions: Promoting collaboration for rapid disaster risk response communications; development of a county government disaster risk and crisis communications plan and building the capacity of local county leaders and media outlets for crisis response. Consequently, the interventions led to increased stakeholders’ buy-in and engagement with RLA, fostered USAID's reputation among other donors in the county as a leader in collaboration and learning, promoted relationships between USAID/KEA Mission staff, County leaders, and thought leaders in the resilience space, and increased the demand for RLA’s CLA interventions.