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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Vietnam: External After Action Review of the Government of Viet Nam and UNICEF emergency response supporting children and women in 10 provinces in Viet Nam affected by drought and salt water intrusion crisis (2016-2017)

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


Viet Nam is not only one of the most natural hazard-prone countries in East Asia and Pacific, but is also the sixth most climate change-affected country globally at risk from a variety of threats including floods, droughts, typhoons and salt water intrusion. Between 2014-2016, a strong El Niño-induced drought and saline intrusion severally affected one-third of Viet Nam and resulted in estimated economic losses of VND15,032 billion (US$674 million) or 0.35% of national GDP, affecting an estimated two million people. Assessments found that approximately 520,000 children and one million women had experienced acute water shortages and required humanitarian assistance. Additionally, 27,500 children under-5 were suffering from moderate to severe acute malnutrition and 39,000 pregnant and lactating women had micro-nutrient deficiencies. The GoV begun a humanitarian response in 2015 and on 15 March 2016, it requested assistance from international partners.Following the GoV’s call for assistance, a joint GoV UN and NGO MSNA was conducted between 21-24 March 2016 in six provinces (Ben Tre, Binh Thuan, Gia Lai, Kien Giang, Kon Tum and Ninh Thuan). Based on the assessment results and further monitoring and reporting by GoV and partners, the GoV and UN jointly launched the Drought and Salt Water Intrusion Emergency Response Plan 2016-2017 on 26 April 2016, with an appeal for US$48.5 million to address urgent the needs of two million people suffering acute water shortages. UNICEF together with UN agencies through the One UN mechanism explored funding possibilities with potential donors and engaged the GoV and partners to focus on the most vulnerable groups of children and women affected by the drought and salt water intrusion. The GoJ offered to support the appeal through UNICEF, adding to funding from CERF3 which has a long-term strategic bilateral partnership with the GoV.  


The purpose of the After Action Review (AAR) was primarily learning and secondly, accountability. It aimed to consolidate key lessons learned from the response to the drought and salt water intrusion crisis in the South Central Coast, Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions funded by CERF and the GoJ and synthesize learning in a document to inform the future strategic direction on risk-informed natural disaster preparedness, response and CCDRR in Viet Nam. The AAR sought to: 

  1. Identify if the overall response achieved key objectives, including addressing the needs of women and children in a timely and meaningful way. 
  2. Assess the project’s performance against seven benchmarks: timeliness, relevance, effectiveness and efficiency, coverage, coordination, coherence and sustainability of the emergency response.  
  3. Identify good practice and lessons learnt from the emergency programme’s design and implementation and provide recommendations for the GoV-UNICEF Country Programme 2017-2021.


After a desk review of key documents generated by the project (donor proposals and reports, situation reports (sitreps) and monitoring, trip and workshop reports), the review team prepared an extensive stakeholder mapping exercise and identified 73 national, provincial and communal-level participants to take part in semi-structured interviews (33 women and 40 men). Some 34 district and village-level key informants were also interviewed. In accordance with UN ethical standards, 25 men, 30 women and 24 children in selected villages were briefed about the review and they agreed to sign the consent form before invited to reflect on their participation in the response during participatory discussions and home visits. (See Table 2 for an overview of AAR participants). While the sample size was insufficient to extract scientifically significant data, the information collected during AAR interviews Ha Noi, Gia Lai, Hau Giang and Ninh Thuan correlated with findings of documents studied during the desk review. An evaluation matrix with details of information the review team collected can be found in Annex 3. Preliminary findings were shared first with UNICEF during an internal briefing, then with MARD and implementing partners at a consultation meeting before wider promulgation at the end of project conference in May 2017 in Ha Noi.  

Findings and Conclusions:

It has been widely documented by the UN in Viet Nam that implementation of the response was slow to start due to a lack of specific clauses for emergency situations in the Government of Viet Nam’s (GoV) Official Development Assistance (ODA) management legal framework and detailed guidelines to facilitate rapid responses. This resulted in implementation of emergency response interventions during the early recovery period.
Relevance and Appropriateness 
The response was broadly aligned to Viet Nam State laws, policies and priorities and supported longerterm development and disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities promoted by UNICEF and GoV, 
Effectiveness and Coverage  
The scale of the response was ambitious considering the unprecedented scale of the disaster in Viet Nam. The short timeframe, limited capacity at grassroots level and rigorous reporting and financial accountability procedures resulted in some overburdening of local implementing partners who worked long hours and juggled competing priorities. Their commitment and enthusiasm, however, was a key success factor that ensured all planned outputs were delivered on time.
The lower cost of imported nutrition products was two-thirds less than similar Vietnamese ones and inclusion of three extra provinces in the project enabled the programme to reach 4.8 times the original MMN (multiple micronutrient supplementation) target, six times the projected number of pregnant and lactating women (PLW) with MNP (multiple micronutrient powders) and 1770% of the planned number of children under-5 screened for MAM and SAM (88,510 instead of 5,000 children).
Connectedness and Sustainability 
The UNICEF response achieved varying degrees of success in transcending the gap between humanitarian and development programming.


  1. Strengthen legal and policy frameworks for risk-informed national disaster preparedness, risk reduction and response plans to strengthen implementation of the Sendai Framework. 
  2. Generate evidence on equity-focused and child-centred vulnerabilities to support riskinformed national disaster preparedness, risk reduction and disaster response planning. 
  3. Strengthen governance, accountability mechanisms, inter-sectoral coordination and collaboration for risk-informed national disaster preparedness, risk reduction and emergency responses.  
  4. Review and strengthen national capacity in DRR, disaster preparedness and multi-hazard contingency planning and responses.
  5. Strengthen communication strategies for DRR/disaster preparedness and response programming targeting ethnic/low-literacy/geographically isolated adults and children to strengthen engagement of vulnerable communities.
  6. Reinforce existing partnerships and develop new ones, including with the business sector.
  7. Strengthen next generations’ resilience to future shocks and stresses through promotion of innovative youth and child-led DRR activities.

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