Find key lessons learned by the Anticipatory Community over the years of implementing Early Warning and Early Action projects from around the globe.
During recent years, the Anticipatory Action community of practice has built up a wealth of lessons ranging from the design, set up and activation of Anticipatory Action programmes, strategies, and policies. In this section you will find resources that can help you identify lessons at all different levels of the Anticipatory Action process.
What can go wrong with a Forecast-based Financing project?
Achieving great things
The goal of Forecast-based Financing is to reduce the impact of disasters.
In the window of time between a forecast and a hazard’s impact, FbF releases resources to take early action. Ultimately, we hope this early action will be more effective at reducing suffering, compared to waiting until the disaster happens and then responding. For example, in Bangladesh, people who received a forecast-based cash transfer were less malnourished during a flood in 2017.
With the promise of increased effectiveness, the concept of FbF is rapidly gaining traction in the humanitarian and development sectors. Clearly, FbF can be a useful tool to assist communities who would otherwise experience a catastrophe.
However…what could possibly go wrong?
FbF doesn’t inherently have a higher chance of “going wrong” than much of our other work. But because it is new, people might not realize potential pitfalls.
Here we outline several ways in which FbF can go wrong – some are inevitable, and some can be avoided.
Let’s create a fake country – let’s call it Madeupsville.
In Madeupsville, FbF has taken off, and is widely implemented by everyone. However, in Madeupsville, people are starting to run into a few problems…
Scroll through the images to learn more about Madeupsville's problems implementing FbF
INVEST IN THE CAPACITY TO ACT:
Invest in basic organizational development, including volunteer training, staff salaries, and basic infrastructure. This will allow your local organizations to act on a meaningful scale when faced with a major disaster forecast.
MEASURE WHAT MATTERS AND USE THE RESULTS:
Monitor and evaluate relevant indicators to understand what’s working. Be honest about what is not working. When results are known, adapt programming accordingly. Newcomers – ask for the advice from others already piloting and measuring.
BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT RISKS:
Communicate the meaning of triggers and manage expectations about forecast accuracy. Understand that forecasts aren’t perfect.
BE SMART ABOUT DATA:
If you want the best possible data– you must invest in improving information management and data quality.
More data won’t automatically make your forecast trigger better. Focus on knowing and improving the skill of the forecast and quality of risk data. Even if you have very few indicators but have good quality data, your model is likely to be more effective.
AGREE ON GOALS:
Donors, implementers and at-risk people should have a common narrative of what the FbF system is meant and not meant to achieve. This will require education and communication.
ENSURE FINANCING IS PUT TO GOOD USE:
Financing is not a goal in itself. Early actions should be based on vulnerability assessments and what different social groups actually need and want in the event of a disaster.
Include household-level perspectives in system design and monitoring. So that unexpected or adverse consequences can be noticed quickly.
LINK TO WIDER RISK FINANCING STRATEGIES:
FbF is not designed to address every type of risk; FbF should slot into an overall ecosystem for risk management.
INVEST IN SYSTEMS AND PROCEDURES:
FbF is not just about science and clever uses of data. It must be underpinned by systems that channel funds efficiently, turn money into goods and services that are useful to people, and ensure all of this is done without malpractice, corruption and fraud. Make sure you have people who understand financial management, governance and political economy on your team.
BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT PILOTS:
Think about how your work contributes to longer-term (transformational) change to the institutions and processes that create or enhance risks. Don’t be hasty to “scale up” assuming what worked in a pilot will work on a much larger scale.
DONT'T GO TOO FAST:
Ensure technical expertise keeps up with new FbF work.
IDENTIFIY THE RIGHT TIME FOR FBF:
There should be an enabling environment in which to embark on an FbF project. This starts with meaningful interest and willingness of key actors.
THINK ABOUT EHETHER THIS IS A GOOD IDEA:
Consider whether FbF would be an efficient, equitable and cost-effective way of reducing risks, or whether other instruments or approaches might be better – this could be other ways of providing finance, or it could be just investing resources in preparedness and prevention.