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This Companion aims to support Oxfam staff to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) into programmes where drought is a significant hazard. In East Africa, this work is commonly called drought cycle management (DCM). Droughts have traditionally been viewed as one-off disasters requiring an emergency response. Typically, emergency responses focused on the delivery of food aid and life-saving humanitarian support including rehabilitating boreholes, emergency vaccination campaigns and so on. Following a drought, agencies tended to move onto rehabilitation programmes, such as restocking, and then back to ‘normal’ development activities in various sectors such as health and education. However, given the frequency of droughts in many regions, development work is increasingly disrupted and often undermined by the shift to emergency response. During the late 1980s and 1990s, drought became increasingly accepted as a normal occurrence in pastoral/ dryland areas and not a rare or intrinsically disastrous event. The DCM model emerged from this thinking and improved programmes that recognised the cyclical nature of drought. The DCM model acts as a guide to development agencies supporting pastoral communities in planning for and responding to droughts. By putting the drought cycle as the central reference point, it ensures that appropriate interventions are implemented before, during and after droughts. This ultimately reduces the risks and consequences of drought.

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