Evaluation of development programmes

Building a Coherent Approach to Evaluating the Haiti Earthquake Response


With all of the aid going to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, evaluation had a role to play in helping to ensure that money is spent well and projects managed effectively to achieve intended results. The DAC Network on Development Evaluation has been working to promote a collaborative approach to evaluating the reconstruction and recovery efforts, bringing together Haitian and international partners to support learning and accountability. This effort is led by the Observatoire / Haiti Evaluation and Learning Support Office, supporting national stakeholders to engage with evaluations and build capacities for better results management in the long run.  This evaluation support function is run by the organisation URD, with support from ECHO and the evaluation departments of Ireland and the U.K.. Development partners, Haitian NGOs, government and implementing agencies are invited to work with this office to increase collaboration and data sharing and ensure take up of evaluation findings.


The OECD DAC EVALNET also worked with the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG), and the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP ) to produce a shared Context Analysis and Evaluation Framework and create an online Haiti Learning and Accountability Portal. One year after the earthquake, a light synthesis of Lessons from the Haiti Earthquake Repsonse  was published to share emerging insights.


Evaluation Insights:

Lessons from the Haiti Earthquake Repsonse


Evaluation Insights are informal working papers that present emerging findings and policy messages from evaluations. This first note draws on available evaluations of the Haiti earthquake in January 2010 to highlight emerging lessons for those working to support a sustainable recovery in Haiti and future emergency responses elsewhere.



(Patrick McManus, Irish Aid)


Haiti Earthquake Recovery: One Year On


Initial evaluations of earthquake relief and recovery programmes in Haiti show that, while extensive aid was provided in the immediate aftermath, many of the mistakes from past disasters are being repeated.  We are working with donors to improve evaluation and provide better evidence about what is working, what is not and why. 


Read the article: Haiti Earthquake: Independent Evaluations Needed



Key resources on the Haiti earthquake response


Following the Haiti Earthquake in January 2010, and the large-scale relief and recovery efforts that have been mounted, a number of evaluative efforts have already been initiated or are being planned by diverse stakeholders. The number of evaluation initiatives is likely to continue to grow as pressure to explain and account for the results of aid efforts in Haiti mount.


One of the lessons from the Indian Ocean Tsunami events is that high accountability pressure led to a number of fragmented, individual evaluations. This type of fragmentation not only results in duplication and wasted effort, but can overwhelm local systems and undercut opportunities for learning about broader impacts. The responsibility for ensuring a more co-ordinated and useful evaluation effort in Haiti lies partly with evaluation managers. But it also depends on demands made at the policy level. DAC members and other development partners will be asked to respond to questions from parliaments, media and the public about the results achieved in Haiti. When translating this accountability need into demand for evaluations, policy makers need to be aware of the opportunities for collaboration and help ensure a co-ordinated and joined-up evaluation approach.


Haiti Evaluation Task Force

The joint Haiti Evaluation Task Force was launched in May 2010 at a joint meeting in London. The meeting was co-hosted by the OECD DAC Evaluation Network, ALNAP, and UNEG and brought together key players involved in evaluative efforts in Haiti with operational and policy-level decision makers. The aim of the meeting was to draw on experiences from evaluations of past disaster responses, establish a shared understanding of evaluation aims and priorities, and start working collectively towards a coherent and cost-efficient process for commissioning and undertaking evaluations. Please visit the meeting website for more information.


Context Analysis

This joint context analysis synthesises background material, research and evaluations for those involved in assessing the earthquake response. A shared context analysis and evaluation framework can help reduce duplication and support joint thinking and work. Using a common basis for analysis will also make it easier to share and compare findings from evaluations carried out by different agencies.


--> Haiti Earthquake Response: Context Analysis and Evaluation Framework 


You are welcome to use this paper in designing, planning and implementing evaluations or other learning and accountability mechanisms in Haiti, and it may also be of value for briefing staff joining the operational response. The paper is intended to be a shared resource to be used and circulated as you see fit.  Any comments will be gratefully received.


Evaluation Support Office in Haiti

The Task Force is looking at how best to support evaluation in Haiti and developed a Concept Note  (see attachment three) on how a support office might strengthen evaluation capacities and improve coordination and use of evaluation findings. The group agreed that it was necessary to engage with stakeholders in Port-au-Prince and a team visited Haiti from 18 to 22 October 2010 to undertake these consultations.


--> Read the mission report


The objective of the mission was to determine the need for evaluation support in Haiti, to discuss the various evaluation support services that may be demanded and, if an evaluation support office was needed, issues around its location. The team met a cross-section of stakeholders from the Haitian Government and civil society, bilateral and multilateral donors, the UN system, and non-governmental organizations. 


The mission team confirmed that there is an existing demand and likely increasing pressure for evaluation in Haiti. Further, a large majority of stakeholders in Haiti are supportive of the idea of providing support services on evaluation and that this should entail a physical presence of some sort. However, given the complex and evolving institutional context, the team recommends that a progressive approach to the development of the evaluation support service be adopted. The approach should be highly participatory with respect to key Haitian stakeholders, be responsive to the context and itself be about building evaluation capacity.


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