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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 WCARO: Evaluation of the UNICEF Response to the Lake Chad Basin Crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria

Author: Michele Tarsilla, Enrico Leonardi

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 3’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 4’.




The welfare of millions of children living in four West African countries (Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria) has been affected by an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks and unpredictable violence over the last few years. The daily reports of mass killings across the region, the tenfold increase in the adult’s use of children in suicide attacks (75% of whom are girls) and the over 20,000 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in the three North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in Nigeria, are just a few examples of the crimes perpetrated by the Boko Haram’s movement in its effort to carve out an Islamist caliphate in the region. While the abduction of 270 schoolgirls in Chibok (Nigeria) in 2014 has been heavily mediatized, the so-called Nigeria+ Crisis has been ignored for long.  What media have not covered and the international community has not fully understood yet is the magnitude of the devastation experienced by all four affected countries. Schools and recreational spaces for children have been burnt and bombed, health and nutritional centres have been destroyed or severely impaired in their capacity to deliver any assistance to people in need; millions of children and women have been forced to flee their communities to find safer living conditions elsewhere. Sadly, all of this is occurring in some of the world’s poorest regions, often characterized by the lack of an adequate access to water, shelter or food.

Otherwise said, this is not a crisis like many others experienced in the past: it is a mega-crisis, an emerging concept used to characterize “a set of interacting crises that is severe in impact, complex in nature and global in fallout, with no distinct start and end points” (Yen & Taylor, 2017).  In response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Lake Chad Basin, UNICEF launched in early 2015 a comprehensive emergency response in five key sectors. The evaluation was conducted between August and November 2016.


The evaluation findings are expected to inform future UNICEF programming in emergency in the four crisis-affected countries. In particular, this evaluation aims to assist UNICEF staff in: (i) adopting corrective implementation and coordination measures; (ii) building lesson learned into their planning and implementation processes; and (iii) scaling up the services to affected populations in the four countries affected by the Nigeria+ Crisis.  The primary users of the assessment are UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO), the 4 UNICEF Country Offices (CO) and the Field Offices (FO) involved in the humanitarian response to the Nigeria+ crisis response, as well as UNICEF Headquarters (HQ) and the federal/national and state/regional government in the respective countries. A secondary tier of users includes non-UNICEF partners, such as implementing partners, other UN agencies, and donors.
• To assess the effectiveness, relevance, coverage, efficiency, timeliness, coordination, and gender & equity dimensions of UNICEF’s humanitarian response to date;
• To identify lessons learned from the UNICEF humanitarian response in the 4 crisis-affected countries between April 2015 and July 2016.


The evaluation was based on a mixed-methods design with a predominant use of qualitative methods. The sample of individuals interviewed and of sites visited during the field mission were identified through a three-stage sampling strategy. Overall, it was ensured that data be collected among a sufficiently large number of key informants in a reasonably large sample of sites characterized by different dosages of interventions: from high (sites with UNICEF interventions in 4 sectors) to low (site with UNICEF interventions in only 1 or 2 sectors). A total of 417 Key informant interviews (KII) were conducted along with 52 focus groups discussion among a total number of 582 participants. Interviewees and focus group discussions participants included UNICEF beneficiaries (children and female caregivers for the most part) as well as Implementing Partners (IP), governmental counterparts and UNICEF staff at the Dakar Regional Office as well as at the Country and Field Offices. Direct observations were conducted in all the sites included in the sample (n=62). A questionnaire was also administered to all 4 CO and FO staff (response rate: 80%) and a review of over 300 UNICEF programmatic documents pertaining to the response was completed. The analysis of the qualitative data was conducted through the use of an advanced analysis software package (MAXQDA). All the transcripts from the interviews and focus group discussions (in both English and French) were coded according to the assessment criteria adopted by this evaluation as well as a number of additional criteria emerged in the course of the analysis. Results are presented by country and sector in the 4 annexes while the main report attempts to provide a more aerial view of the UNICEF response based on the comparison of the country-level findings. 

Findings and conclusions:

Please see the report for findings and conclusions.


Please see the report for strategic, operation and sector specific recommendations. 

Lessons Learned:

Please see the report for lessons learned.


WCARO-2018-001-NIGER Annex

WCARO-2018-001-NIGERIA Annex

WCARO-2018-001-CAMEROUN Annex

Full report in PDF

PDF files require Acrobat Reader.



Report information

Year: 2018

Office/Country: WCARO

Region: WCARO

Type: Evaluation

Theme: Emergencies

Language: English

Sequence #: 2018/001 

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