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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2018 Democratic Republic of Congo: Evaluation of the Rapid Response to Population Movement (RRMP) Mechanism based on Performance



Author: Emergencies

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’.

Background:

In 2004, OCHA and UNICEF created the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to better respond to acute emergency needs in DRC. The programme merged with another UNICEF project, which addressed the needs of returned Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the Programme of Expanded Assistance for Returnees Plus (PEAR) in 2010, becoming the Rapid Response to Movements of Populations (RRMP). The objective of RRMP has been to deliver large‐scale, rapid, multi‐sectoral assistance in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), health, child protection, education and Non‐Food Items (NFI) to recently displaced persons and returned populations, the host families and those the most vulnerable. The RRMP operates in areas where the displaced/returned exert a high pressure (i.e., more than 30 percent of the community members are comprised of populations displaced/returned less than three months) on basic services. RRMP is one of the largest single humanitarian response programme in DRC. The RRMP has been progressively reinforcing partnership with WFP and further developing relationships with FAO and other key actors in the food security sector. Their coordinated interventions increased from 60 percent in 2017, to 90 percent in 2018. The programme continues to face several challenges, as, Increased requirement by donors regarding the cost‐effectiveness of the RRMP;  Increased demand on quality multisectoral interventions that are rapid and are well‐adapted to context; The emergence of new crises (Grand Kasaï, Tanganyika);  The need for greater involvement of the Congolese authorities in humanitarian response;  The need for a greater link between humanitarian and development programming and the declining funding of the RRMP by donors.  

Purpose/Objective:

The main objective of this evaluation is to explore the RRMP’s contribution in responding to the needs of the displaced and returnee populations and the host families in eastern and southeastern DRC, and the Kasai.  Beyond its main objective, the TOR includes specific objectives of the evaluation: ‐ Relevance of RRMP mechanism and its interventions in relation to the needs of the displaced and/or returned populations including specific groups ; effectiveness of the interventions ‐ with focus on quality basic services in non‐food items, education, health, nutrition, WASH, and child protection;   Efficiency of the national and local implementation mechanisms including coordination and partnerships; Impact of the programme on direct and indirect beneficiaries; sustainability of outcomes and general lessons learned and recommendations for the improvement of RRMP mechanism (including the multisectoral partnership model) for future humanitarian interventions in DRC and other volatile and fragile contexts. The purpose of this evaluation is both summative (assessing lessons learned and the contribution of the RRMP throughout its last four cycles in improving the living conditions of the affected populations) and formative (it fosters learning about the RRMP). It is intended to be used for strategic and programmatic decisionmaking and how best to improve the next RRMP cycle (RRMP9, 2018‐2019) as well as other humanitarian programmes in DRC based on findings and conclusions.

Methodology:

The methodology model of this evaluation uses the best mix of data collection tools to obtain the most reliable and valid answers to the Evaluation Questions (EQs) and generate useful learning within the limits of resources and availability of data. The programme’s theory of change was tested through the EQs. A mixed‐methods design, drawing on both qualitative and quantitative data using primary data collection methods and secondary sources was used.  The evaluation used a purposive sampling strategy to select areas to conduct focus group discussions (FGDs), given time and accessibility constraints. The evaluation team (ET) finalized the list of key informants and the sampling for the FGDs in consultation with UNICEF staff. The evaluation used semi‐structured questionnaires for conducting the key informant interviews (KIIs) and FGDs. The use of in‐depth key informant interviews and focus groups in the field in addition to secondary sources increased the breath of perspectives and validity of the data.  The evaluation assessed gender, equity, and ‘do no harm’ by including explicit questions on these issues in the questionnaires and triangulating findings with information from secondary source documents and reports. The design of the evaluation methodology was also guided by the Human Rights‐based Approach (HRBA) to programming and evaluation.  It includes a cost analysis with a focus on the strategy adopted by UNICEF to be more efficient, as well as the main impact attributable to the RRMP through its life‐saving activities.

Findings and conclusions:

Relevance : The RRMP has a clear added value in the humanitarian crisis context in DRC and is a relevant ‘first resort response’ mechanism in view of the limited capacity of other humanitarian actors and the cluster system itself. It is the only mechanism that brings together many characteristics and the geographical spread of the humanitarian crisis including the hard‐to‐reach areas. Effectiveness: The RRMP’s contribution in improving the living conditions and saving the lives of the displaced/returnees and the most vulnerable indigenous populations, especially children, cannot be denied. In its absence it would have been unlikely for the affected populations to be able to alleviate their living and survival conditions given the protracted crisis in DRC and limited resources. Efficiency: Overall, humanitarian funding has been decreasing in DRC since 2013. In its most recent cycle (RRMP8 June 2017 – May 2018), the RRMP succeeded in reducing its organizational footprint in the budget. The greatest impact with these adjustments is that a larger proportion of the budget flows directly to the beneficiaries (59 percent of the total budget. Sustainability: respondents felt that the RRMP is not designed as a sustainable programme since its overall objective is to improve the living conditions of affected populations by reducing vulnerabilities rather than resilience‐building.

Recommendations:

Advocate to donors for multi‐year funding for better prepositioning of partners/supplies and for transition from humanitarian to development and resilience building. Consider greater flexibility by allowing it to extend its mandate beyond the 3‐month period according to risk/vulnerability assessments and context specific needs. Consider further options for targeting, vulnerability analysis, and programming redesign that better address the conflict sensitivity ‘do no harm’ aspects of intervention modalities and implementation processes and mitigate the unintended negative effects of targeting and interventions; Secure separate funding for conducting multisectoral evaluations for each cycle; develop a road‐map to ensure greater humanitarian coordination, cohesion, and alignment of strategic planning and collaboration between RRMP and relevant clusters; Advocate for a specific share of humanitarian and/or development funding recovery/transition to address the funding gap in transition between the humanitarian and development programming nexus; Develop relations and formalize partnerships based on concrete capacity building strategies; Develop a mobility tracking mechanism or use tools such as SCOPE jointly with WFP to better distinguish between the IDPs and returnees, to track population movements in order to improve predictability/contingency planning (and thus pre‐positioning and rapidity), and to assess the impact of the interventions on beneficiaries; Redefine impact and outcome indicators through participatory processes and establish thresholds for key sector indicators in order to classify severity of needs and context‐specific elements of gender, equity, protection, and ‘do no harm’; Moderate UNICEF’s IP reporting requirements so that they focus efforts & resources towards weighing programming options, modalities and implementation processes according to context and improving the quality of their reports.

Lessons Learned:

Based on lessons learned from the RRMP8, the programme now recognizes the importance to refocus on vulnerability assessments rather than prioritizing the number of households, duration of displacement, and the size of the crisis.  Furthermore, UNICEF and partners acknowledge the need for better evidence regarding the differential vulnerability levels among the IDPs.  In addition to risk analysis, it is particularly important to enrich both the pre‐intervention and post‐intervention assessments with more in‐depth analysis of gender and vulnerability that incorporates ‘do no harm’, even if it may take more time.178. An important advantage of the RRMP8’s consortium approach is that multisectoral interventions that involve a variety of partners in coordinated action are often more successful than those that work in isolation as observed in previous RRMP cycles. Key to a successful multisectoral response is the recognition of the diversity of needs in terms of equity and gender and consideration for the size and urgency of the problem. In this regard, it is not always necessary for every sector to be involved in every area of activity. Rather, it is important to determine which sectors and what modalities of interventions are best suited to respond to needs. Furthermore, management and leadership capacities are especially vital to ensure effective partnerships, coordination and accountability.  A large number of host community members resented RRMP’s beneficiary selection criteria despite participatory awareness‐raising practices implemented to inform of targeting criteria. Consequently, some host community members had adopted negative coping mechanisms.  In this regard, the question arises whether household‐based assistance ‐ versus community‐based assistance ‐ is the most appropriate approach in all contexts in DRC, especially when it could potentially jeopardize the ‘do‐no‐harm’ principle. 



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Report information

Year: 2018

Office/Country: Democratic Republic of Congo

Region: WCAR

Type: Evaluation

Theme: Emergencies

Language: English

Sequence #: 2018/003 

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