During FY 2018, USAID/OFDA S&S advisors deployed to serve on USAID Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs), conduct field assessments, design sector strategies, and monitor project activities. Travel to disaster-affected areas often entails conducting land and housing market analyses to better understand impacts, needs, and resources, as well as engaging with affected populations, cluster lead agencies, host country institutions, and implementing partners. In FY 2018, S&S advisors served on the Caribbean Hurricanes DART in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria to ensure the timely provision of shelter assistance and develop strategies to implement the Build Back Safer initiative for disaster-affected populations in Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica. USAID/OFDA also airlifted emergency relief commodities, including rolls of plastic sheeting to disasteraffected populations across the region. S&S interventions included project monitoring and hands-on trainings, as well as online, radio, and text programming to ensure that the plastic sheeting was utilized for maximum benefit.
In FY 2018, S&S advisors also worked closely with regional and field teams to provide guidance on sector strategies, including in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Syria. Related to this work, the S&S team reviewed approximately 180 grant proposals, providing input to regional teams and implementing partners to improve both proposal and project quality. S&S advisors also participated in discussions with colleagues and other stakeholders to clarify and apply USAID’s policies and procedures on construction, disability, and environmental compliance. In addition, the advisors engaged with Global Shelter Cluster (GSC) lead agencies, focusing on recovery issues and more effective transitions from humanitarian shelter activities to longer-term housing reconstruction. Identifying opportunities to incorporate disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures into S&S sector projects, where needed and appropriate, also remained a priority. Finally, S&S advisors continued to participate in the research and evaluation of plastic sheeting, solar-powered lights, stoves, kitchen sets, and other non-food items, in concert with other humanitarian agencies.