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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Nepal: Evaluation of UNICEF’s Response and Recovery Efforts to the Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal (25 April 2015-31 January 2016)

Author: DARA

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'.


Two devastating earthquakes struck Nepal on 25 April and 12 May 2015. In April a 7.8 magnitude
earthquake struck the district of Gorkha, 76 km northwest of Kathmandu, and in May, Nepal was hit
by a magnitude 7.3 aftershock with its epicentre in Dolakha district.

Nepal had not faced a disaster of comparable magnitude for over 80 years. Although 35 of the 75
districts in the country were affected by the earthquake, 14 of them, with an affected population
estimated at 2.8 million, were classified as severely affected. Massive destruction of houses and
disruption of basic services threatened the rights and dignity of many, particularly for the vulnerable,
women and children.

UNICEF has been present in Nepal for over four decades. The 2013-2017 Nepal Country Programme
Action Plan (CPAP) aims to address the policy, system and societal causes of inequality and provide
children, adolescents and women with access to basic rights. Prior to the earthquake, UNICEF
interventions were focused in 15 districts in the west and eastern Terai, which were not affected by
the earthquake.

Carried out nine months into UNICEF’s response and recovery efforts to the Gorkha earthquake, the
evaluation aims to learn lessons from, and strengthen, UNICEF’s response to future emergencies.
The evaluation also aims to strengthen accountability and transparency to the United Nations (UN),
partners, donors and the affected population.


The evaluation has two objectives: to assess how core elements of the emergency response were
addressed; and to assess linkages between response, early recovery and reconstruction phases.
The evaluation assessed UNICEF’s response and recovery efforts between 25 April 2015 and 31
January 2016 in a sample of the 14 most severely affected districts. The institutional scope of the
evaluation was UNICEF’s response at the UNICEF Nepal Country Office (NCO) level as well as support
received from the regional and headquarters levels under Level 2 (L2) emergency procedures. A
detailed assessment of individual sections’ responses was beyond the scope of this evaluation and
was not attempted.

The evaluation does not assess the performance of the clusters UNICEF co-led. However, the extent
to which UNICEF as an organisation fulfilled its commitments to the cluster system was considered,
as was the impact of its commitments as Cluster Lead Agency on its overall response.


UNICEF’s response is evaluated against six established Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development/Development Assistance Committee criteria, UNICEF’s Core
Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action and the Humanitarian Performance
Monitoring indicators which were defined for the response. Other core humanitarian
standards and Inter Agency Standing Committee guidance, such as the Red Cross Code of
Conduct and IASC Module for Cluster Coordination at Country Level, provide a secondary framework
for the evaluation.
The evaluation team used both qualitative and quantitative methods to ensure the issues were
explored in depth, ranging from a thorough document review and semi-structured interviews, to
group discussions, field observation and a household survey.
The team travelled to Nepal from 2 to 26 February 2015. Following initial meetings, the team split
into two sub teams to conduct field visits from 8 to 17 February. The team visited nine districts and
19 VDCs/municipalities. Field evidence was gathered through key informant interviews (KII), group
discussions (GD), field observations and a household survey to the affected population. The
evaluation team worked with UNICEF to determine the sample of districts and VDCs/municipalities
to be visited.
A total of 163 KII (248 participants, 94 females, 154 males) were carried out, with the following
breakdown: UNICEF staff, affected population, partners, GoN. Thirty-one group
discussions (126 females, 73 males) were organized and included partners, UNICEF staff, affected
populations and teachers. Site observations included health centres, outpatient therapeutic care
centres, temporary learning centres, child friendly spaces, shelter homes,
community/individual toilets and internally displaced persons sites.
A household survey took place between 26 March and 1 April. Two hundred household interviews
were carried out in two districts (100 interviews in each), Dhading and Sindhupalchowk.

Findings and Conclusions:

Refer to Chapter 3 of the report for the detail on findings for each topic such as connectedness, appropriateness, coordination, coverage, efficiency and effectiveness.


Recommendations have been arranged in five thematic areas. Specific recommendations are expanded in section 4.2
Recommendation 1: Strengthen preparedness measures
This includes the required training on CCCs and emergency procedures, the formulation of a theory
of change, the update of contingency plans through the EWEA system, preparedness to allow for
initial Rapid Needs Assessment, and the need to consolidate a core group of partners for emergency
response and ensure adequate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) components in the CPAP.
Recommendation 2: Increase community participation in programme design and implementation
This encompasses the creation of beneficiary reference groups and strengthening partnerships with
local NGOs with a strong field presence.
Recommendation 3: Strengthen data collection, monitoring and evaluation
This includes the clear categorization of data to be collected, a centralised capacity for consolidated
data analysis, reinforcement of 3PM and its use of programme design and adaptation, and the
suggestion of a corporate review of the HPM.
Recommendation 4: Ensure adequate planning processes and frameworks in future emergencies
This encompasses the need to strengthen corporate guidance on early recovery and resilience,
including through a revision of the CCCs, and to ensure that the IRP incorporates from the beginning
early recovery actions. It is critical to define a transition plan encompassing emergency response and
early recovery activities and bridging with the CPAP. The challenge of programme and geographical
integration has to be addressed.
Recommendation 5: Improve timeliness of overall emergency response
This covers the need for more proactive mechanisms to address factors limiting timeliness of the
response and recommends expanding cash based programmes to expedite procurement and
identifying strategic warehousing opportunities for emergency response.

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