Early Warning Systems
INDICATOR PHRASING: number of communities with an effective early warning system in place for major identified hazards
What is its purpose?
This indicator measures whether the target community has an effective early warning system (EWS) for major identified hazards in place. EWS is considered effective when 1) the system is in place; 2) the data is timely and correctly collected and shared; and 3) the community members are aware of EWS and the actions they should take.
How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data
Determine the indicator's value by using the following methodology:
1) Decide where you will collect the required data. If you target a limited number of communities (e.g. less than twenty), it should be possible to collect data from each community. If you target a larger number of communities, use a representative sample of randomly selected communities.
2) Review the survey questions and guidance suggested below on the four aspects of an effective EWS. If required, adjust them to the local context.
A) Existence of EWS
In each selected community, use reviews of relevant documents, interviews with people responsible for managing EWS, and interviews with the local authorities to assess:
Q1 for the data collector: Are the core functions and responsibilities of the EWS described in relevant guidelines?
A1: yes / no
Q2 for the data collector: Is there a clear agreement on who is officially responsible for operating EWS in the given community?
A2: yes / no
Q3 for the data collector: Is the responsible personnel aware of the main responsibilities described in the guidelines?
A3: yes / no / partly
B) Timely and Correct Data Collection and Sharing
In each selected community, use interviews with people responsible for EWS, key informant interviews (e.g. authorities), review of relevant records and testing of relevant staff skills to assess:
Q4 for the data collector: Has the most important data required for triggering an early warning been collected?
A4: yes / no
(ask the following two questions only if the previous answer is YES)
Q5 for the data collector: Is the data collected regularly, as defined in the EWS guidelines?
A5: yes / no / partly
Q6 for the data collector: Is the communication system for sharing early warning messages likely to reach all parts of the local community?
A6: yes / no / partly
Q7 for the data collector: Are the early warning messages that the persons responsible for EWS plan to communicate actionable, providing people with easy-to-understand guidance on what they should (not) be doing?
A7: yes / no / partly
C) Community Awareness of EWS
In each selected community, conduct interviews with about twenty (more if it is a large village) randomly selected people (both female and male, younger and older) who permanently live in the community.
Q7 for the respondents: Does this community have any formal system of warning its inhabitants about upcoming hazards, such as [specify 2-3 relevant examples]?
A7: yes / no / does not know
(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES)
Q8 for the respondents: According to the system, from which sources should people like you receive information about upcoming hazards, such as [specify 2-3 relevant examples]?
A8: knows the EWS information channel(s) / does NOT know EWS information channel(s)
Q9 for the respondents: According to the system, what should you do in the case of [specify a concrete situation]?
1) knows what s/he should do in the case of a specific disaster
2) does NOT know what s/he should do in the case of a specific disaster
3) Set very clear benchmarks for what answers can still represent an “effective EWS” – for example, which / how many questions from points A) and B) must be answered YES and how many of the interviewed residents in each community (point C) must be aware of the EWS.
4) In each selected community, collect the required data.
5) Using the benchmarks defined in point 3, count the number of communities that can be considered to have an effective EWS.
Ensure that the sample of respondents (for questions under C) also includes people who are more marginalized than others, such as extremely poor people, people with disabilities, elderly, etc.