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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2008 DRC: A Mid-term Evaluation of Programme for Extended Assistance to Returnees (PEAR) in the Democratic Republic of Congo



Executive summary

Background and Methodology

Since 2004, UNICEF, OCHA and partners managed the multi-sector Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to respond quickly to humanitarian crises across Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  In 2006 the lack of systematized support for families who were returning to their villages of origin became evident. Consequently, UNICEF and other key actors involved in activities related to Internally Displaced Populations (IDPs) developed the Programme of Expanded Assistance to Returnees (PEAR). The overall aim of PEAR is to assist the return of IDPs as a first step towards durable resettlement.

PEAR consists of three components: the distribution of non-food items, school rehabilitation, and multi-sector assessments.  At mid-term the programme has been financed in the amount of $12.24 million covering 1,650,490 IDPs. It is managed by UNICEF and implemented in four provinces of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by four NGO partners: AVSI, Catholic Relief Services, Norwegian Refugee Council and Solidarités. PEAR is the largest IDP programme in the DRC.

The evaluation covers the period September 2006 to August 2008. It was conducted by a 2 person evaluation team from the Channel Research consultancy firm. The methodology included documentation review and field visits to conduct semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions.

Major Findings of the Evaluation

• The chief aims of PEAR have been successfully achieved.  The programme’s approach, linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) is flexible and appropriate to current humanitarian realities in the Eastern DRC. The assistance received has been well-targeted towards the most vulnerable IDPs. PEAR’s overall coverage is one of the programme’s key advantages. However in some cases the assistance was not most responsive to returnees’ most urgent needs for seeds and tools.

• The multi-sectoral assessments (MSAs) undertaken in return areas by PEAR partners, are becoming an increasingly useful tool to other humanitarian actors.

• The partnership of UNICEF and the four NGOs: Solidarités, Norwegian Refugee Council, AVSI, and Catholic Relief Services, deployed respectively in the provinces of Orientale (Ituri), North Kivu, South Kivu and Katanga, is a successful model of cooperation.

• The evaluation performed a cost analysis on the basis of which it concluded that PEAR is a highly cost-effective operation.

• PEAR is currently facing an identity crisis. It is perceived by many as an emergency programme – yet its activities on the ground reveal that it is a humanitarian programme accelerating the transition from relief activities to recovery and longer-term development.

Main Recommendations

• UNICEF could replicate the PEAR programme in other countries where there is a need to link relief and development and where other agencies are not taking the lead in this key phase of LRRD transition.
• UNICEF should re-confirm PEAR as a humanitarian programme and reinforce the emphasis on the sustainability of return as a key entry point for PEAR intervention. The RRM can intervene on an emergency basis, if necessary, in areas where people have returned, but where the return is considered fragile and as yet ‘non-durable’.
• The PEAR programme should address the situation of those displaced who do not return to their home areas and chose instead to resettle in new areas. 
• A key contribution to maximizing the impact of the school rehabilitation programme and to fulfill UNICEF’s goal of “every child in school” is to have school fees abolished and offer free primary school tuition to every child across the country. The UNICEF Emergency Unit should continue to encourage its regular education programme to advocate for this energetically.
• The public awareness campaigns that have been part of PEAR since it began should be strengthened, including demonstrations and sensitization at distribution events on key messages including hand-washing, use of mosquito nets, and education for school age children. 
• Seeds and tools should be included in PEAR return packages and/or UNICEF and partners should reinforce collaboration with FAO or other actors to ensure that agricultural recovery needs of returnees are met. 
• The ultimate goal of PEAR should be the smooth phasing of its activities into longer-term development programmes. This calls for a progressive consolidation of activities and a phased withdrawal.



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Report information

Date:
2008

Region:
WCARO

Country:
Democratic Republic of Congo

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Emergency

Partners:

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:

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