Countries in the East Asia Pacific (EAP) region face extremely high climate-related disaster risks from typhoons, hurricanes, monsoon rains, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural phenomena. Indonesia in particular endures over 2,000 disaster events each year, with the incidence of natural disasters rising by almost 350 percent over the last three decades.

To mitigate these risks, the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has funded a range of disaster risk reduction activities in the region, including the Incident Command System (ICS) activity, a standardized incident management approach applicable to any disaster scenario and designed to improve coordination and communication among the various actors and agencies involved in disaster response. Among other components, the program includes standardized training and consistent certification requirements for disaster response staff.

In 2017, after eight years of supporting ICS in Indonesia, USAID sought a deeper understanding of the successes and areas for improvement of the program to inform future decisions. USAID enlisted the help of DevTech’s experts to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Incident Command System in order to better understand the effectiveness and sustainability of the program.

Upon evaluation, we found that:

  • Prior to the implementation of the ICS model, stakeholders (such as the national and local governments of Indonesia, and training staff) felt disaster response was disorganized and communication systems among agencies were poor whereas after implementation, stakeholders reported improvements in disaster response times and ICS use among partner GoI (Government of Indonesia) agencies.

  • There was a need for ICS and its resources to be more contextualized to the Indonesian setting, feedback shared by 67 percent of respondents. Respondents said that ICS needed to understand the dynamics of the local culture and ICS resources such as forms, manuals, and other documents not only need to be translated to Bahasa, but also needed to be revised to use terminologies that would be easier for stakeholders to accept.

  • Due to the recent decentralization of the Indonesian government, reported low information retention from master trainers, and a need for stronger Indonesian contextualization (see above), the program still had room to grow, an effort that could be informed and aided by the evaluation that DevTech performed.

We know that development work does not always mean building something new; it can mean protecting what is already there. Therefore, we pair our strong methodological capabilities in research with insightful and practical solutions to support the protection of communities and countries around the world. Thus, when USAID needed assistance to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of the ICS program in Indonesia, we were able to employ our deep experience in environmental development to create a sustainable and lasting solution for better disaster prevention. To learn more about this project and DevTech’s capabilities, please visit the full report.