Case study: H2H Vanuatu activation 2020

CARE_Photo by Julia Marango, North Ambrym_MAY20.jpg

Photo: CARE, Julia Marango, North Ambrym, May 2020

In April 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, Tropical Cyclone Harold struck the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, and Tonga, leaving a trail of devastation. Vanuatu was the hardest hit of the four Pacific Island nations, where the cyclone made landfall on 6 April 2020 on Espiritu Santo Island as a Category 5 storm (OCHA). The cyclone directly affected more than 160,000 people, approximately half of Vanuatu’s total population (OCHA).

Travel restrictions due to the pandemic made it difficult for international actors to bring support and emergency supplies into the country. Local response was necessary. The H2H Network, in consultation with UK DFID (now FCDO), immediately recognized the need for H2H members' services in support of the ongoing, locally led response. The H2H Core Team convened network members to consider what could be done and asked those active in the country to assess the situation on the ground. Shortly after, the H2H Fund was activated. Two members,Field Ready and CDAC, already present in Vanuatu, were selected to support local responders.

CDAC, in partnership with CARE Vanuatu, worked through the Vanuatu Communications and Community Engagement (CCE) to support the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to coordinate communication and provide crucial information on shelter, food, water, and protection issues around Covid-19 to affected people. Field Ready supplied locally manufactured WASH supplies intended for distribution by local responders.

The H2H Fund enabled CDAC and Field Ready to pivot their preparatory disaster activities into response actions for cyclone-affected areas and help to strengthen the local response. Both members noted that without the funding from H2H, they would not have been able to respond.

"For small NGOs like us it is nearly impossible to build up your cash reserves to respond but the H2H Fund meant that we could."

Andrew Lamb, Field Ready

This case study explores how the H2H Fund activation for Vanuatu in 2020 contributed to an improved humanitarian response. It examines a chain of ‘humanitarian value’ beginning with H2H Fund inputs, through to the products and services delivered by grantees, and on to to their key users and discernible contributions made to responses. It was conducted in June 2021 for the H2H Network by Itad monitoring and evaluation advisers, based on six key informant interviews, two project reports, and wider communication documents from H2H. The Vanuatu case study, selected among 10 activations 2017-2021, aims to understand how the Fund strengthened a local humanitarian response to Tropical Cyclone Harold in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.