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Irish Aid Humanitarian Programme Plan 2017-2018 Meta Evaluation
This meta-evaluation documents findings from the evaluation of the Irish Aid Humanitarian Programme Plan (HPP) 2017-2018 implemented by Concern in Afghanistan, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Lebanon, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria/ Iraq.
The programme of work aimed to achieve the following results:
- Saving lives and alleviating suffering in response to new and existing emergencies
- Ensuring that programmes are designed to maintain the dignity of disaster-affected populations
- Identifying and building on existing community capacities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters, and to build that capacity through our interventions.
The objective of this evaluation was to assess the contribution of the HPP-funded programme to the achievement of the results. Specifically, the evaluation aimed to determine whether the programme targeted those most in need; to assess the implementation against standard criteria; and to review Concern’s capacity to strengthen synergies between humanitarian response and development programming.
Overall, the performance against the extended DAC criteria across all programmes was good according to the reports. No projects were assessed to have been unsatisfactory against any of the criteria.
Appropriateness/ relevance: There was evidence that all eight projects were satisfactorily appropriate and relevant. The responses met needs that were articulated by target communities and contributed to country-wide targets and priorities. Improvement in participation and complaints response mechanisms (CRM) would increase accountability and likely result in greater ownership by the community.
Connectedness: Across most of the projects, there was a focus on provision of emergency response without sufficient consideration to the long-term impact or connected problems. There was a lack of clarity on the nexus thinking. Despite the weaknesses identified, staff in at least three of the projects are working in a context which requires delivery of concurrent humanitarian and development activities and they are looking for innovative ways to be responsive and address changing needs. Concern has capacity to strengthen the synergies between humanitarian response and development programming but must find ways to share and disseminate the learning.
Coherence: Overall the adherence to internal policies, government plans, HRPs, Country Strategic Plans and guidelines was good. Most projects showed adherence to the policies most relevant to their intervention. They also demonstrated the humanitarian principles and showed consistency with national level strategies. An area of weakness was the need to ensure that all staff are familiar with the relevant policies, especially national staff.
Coverage: Considering Concern’s emphasis on targeting those who are most in need and least well-served, this is a particularly important criterion. Efforts had been made to identify the most vulnerable populations and communities were often involved in the process to determine the selection criteria and to identify those who meet the criteria. In general, the projects were reaching the most in need. Improving the targeting would require some further refinement of the selection criteria and some additional effort to ensure inclusivity.
Efficiency: Five out of eight projects were satisfactorily efficient with evidence that the inputs were being used appropriately and had, or were likely to result in the intended outputs. There was evidence that there were good financial controls in place and that staffing levels were appropriate, notwithstanding high staff turnover in certain contexts. There were reported efforts to strengthen and improve the logistics systems. Suggestions for improvement at project level were made in relation to planning and budgeting and, in one programme, in relation to the choice of activities.
Effectiveness and Timeliness: In general, there was evidence that the objective and purpose of projects would mostly be achieved by the activities by the end of December 2018. The reports included some suggested ways to increase the effectiveness by developing detailed implementation plans, improving some of the design decisions and strengthening the monitoring and evaluation capacity. According to those interviewed, most activities were carried out on time and this was confirmed by those who received the assistance.
Impact: There is no doubt that the HPP projects had an impact in the different countries where they have been implemented. Anecdotal evidence of impact included the following:
- A reduction in conflict over water resources in Afghanistan;
- Improved cleanliness in informal tented settlements led to environmental and social benefits for displaced people living in Lebanon;
- Lower incidence of Acute Watery Diarrhoea due to improved water and sanitation in Somalia;
- Improvements in emotional well-being and interaction for children attending Child Friendly Spaces in Syria;
- Access to fresh vegetables for remote communities in CAR;
- Ability to meet priority needs at a household level for families in DRC;
- Access to good quality health care for a wide population in South Sudan;
- Increased dietary diversity in Ethiopia.
In summary, the findings showed that Concern’s HPP-funded programme has contributed to the achievement of saving lives, alleviating suffering and maintaining dignity for people affected by disaster. To a lesser degree, community capacity has been developed to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
Of particular importance was that Concern staff showed a high level of dedication and commitment. They were trusted and well-liked in many of the communities where the evaluations were carried out and this may be equally as important as the delivery of high-quality assistance. Concern are to be commended for this.
More information on the methodology used in the evaluation and recommendations from the evaluators can be seen in the executive summary of the report below.
The ideas, opinions and comments herein are entirely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent or reflect Irish Aid policy.