Capacity development of local technical committees in infrastructure damage assessments in Aleppo, Homs, and Rural Damascus


  Syrian Construction workers repair a shop damaged by the violence.

UNDP, through its partner NGOs in affected areas, continues to update the needs assessments of IDPs and host communities in order to plan an adequate and efficient response. However, proper planning mechanisms for identification of emergency priority interventions should be put in place. This includes livelihoods needs assessments including information collection on the social, economic, agricultural losses and the relevant socio-economic impacts of the crisis. Destruction and damage of existing infrastructure hinders the functioning of various services in many neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities and paralyze local economy in affected commuintes.

Hard hit areas have witnessed complete, and to a lesser extent partial destruction of housing units, basic infrastructure such as street lights, water networks, sewage systems, cesspits and other assets, in addition to the severe damages of various service centres including education, social, health and other public and private facilities. This impedes the immediate return of the IDPs to their original locations, and prolongs their displacement. On the other hand, there is a large number of the population that had remained in their affected areas with disrupted utilities and difficult access to basic services. In light of the current situation, detailed damage assessments are not taking place, whether due to the difficulty of accessing the hard hit areas, but more importantly due to the lack of well-capacitated staff and community members to conduct such complex technical assessments.

To this end, a well-coordinated systematic damage assessment is crucial to reveal the extent of destruction of various local service delivery and basic infrastructure facilities, in addition to public and private housing and business. The outcomes of such damage assessments will inform the response planning mechanism and the development of adequate interventions for quick repairs, full rehabilitation and/or reconstruction efforts. These assessments will be coordinated by a national recovery cell/unit relying on data collection at the governorate levels and linked to a management information unit.

Expected Results and Achievements

The overall objective of the project contributes to strengthening the resilience of the Syrian people to cope with the effects of the current unrest and enable those whose livelihoods were severely disrupted to recover and rebuild their lives.

The project’s specific objectives are to ensure that proper damage assessment methodologies are developed and relevant technical people are trained and ready to engage in such local level assessments particularly in the hard hit areas. The safe return of IDPs to their homelands is contingent on the outcomes of such damage assessments and pertinent rehabilitation actions. Local committees and technical staff from Homs, Aleppo and Rural Damascus will be trained and capacitated to start the initiation of quick damage assessments in accessible neighbourhoods.

Considering the current conflict in Syria and the levels of human suffering and physical destruction, UNDP considers the mapping of recovery and reconstruction needs as well as physical damages as a cornerstone for accurate interpretation of the gaps, proper targeting of any assistance and effective monitoring and evaluation of assistance. UNDP is prioritizing the requirement for a unified nation-wide coordination system supported by an effective database, that would be functional in all stages from humanitarian, to (early) recovery and reconstruction.

In order to achieve the above-mentioned specific objectives, this project will serve the overall output on “Coordination systems for emergency livelihoods enhanced“ as stipulated in the larger UNDP humanitarian livelihoods programme, and will consist of the following major activities to be implemented over a nine (9) months period:

Output: Coordination systems for emergency livelihoods enhanced

This project will enhance and reinforce the livelihood and early recovery network as well as foster the various relevant working groups that are in place or to be activated. Coordination with all stakeholders will be a priority to ensure synergies, coherence, and avoidance of duplication and maximization of resources. A coordination that facilitates response planning, targeting, implementation and tracking will be developed in the form of an active database resorting to GIS and interactive mapping and reports. This mechanism can also serve as a monitoring tool for the UN to better assess the gaps, needs, response and the future plans for humanitarian, (early) recovery processes in the country.

The project will mainly focus on:

      1. Development of Damage assessment tools and system:

  • Develop the damage assessment tool, based onacomprehensive questionnaire including all elements and parameters to be assessed

  • Pre-test the assessment tools (locations might be subject to change depending on the security factor. The proposed assessment is at village/city level feeding later into a district then region level)

  • Identify the local committees, technical expertise and relevant local stakeholders for liaison, identification, training and assessment purposes

  • Develop the Information Management System and the related database for the infrastructure damage assessment. The database is to be expanded to include new areas in the future.

    2. Capacity Development on the damage assessment tool: Technical representatives from local committees, trained on standardized infrastructure damage assessments, taking into consideration good governance elements and participatory approaches in devising the related methodology and tools:

  • Identify representatives from Homs, Aleppo and Rural Damascus to be fully engaged in the training on Infrastructure Damage Assessment: the selected persons (professional men and women) will come from local associations, local engineers, youth volunteers, and other stakeholders with the relevant technical background.

  • Develop the training packages and surveying methodology (also relying on best practices from UNDP Lebanon and Iraq re-construction programmes).

  • Conduct capacity development programme based on three training packages: 1. Use of assessment tools, 2. Ensure participatory approaches and good governance elements in modality of implementation of the surveys, 3. Use of the database, data entry and analysis for prioritization and targeting mechanisms based on specific parameters and indicators.

  • Conduct the Training of Trainers (TOT) to at least 15 trainees. The core trainers will be utilized to transfer the knowledge and develop the capacity of other engineers, members of CBOs and local associations that can be involved in the field surveying exercise. Also, to conduct trainings in new areas that might be included in the future.

The project will target local committees and technical expertise and concerned stakeholders from various governorates with particular focus on Aleppo, Homs and Rural Damascus.

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