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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Global: Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation (IAHE) of the Response to the Crisis in the Central African Republic

Author: Andrew Lawday (Team Leader), Karimou Adjibade, Nicola Dahrendorf, Floribert Kubwayezu and Lezlie Caro Morinière [from The KonTerra Group]

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'.


For years the Central African Republic (CAR) had faced a chronic crisis in human development and governance within a ‘silent and forgotten’ emergency.  In 2012–2013 this protracted crisis became increasingly complex with the advance of Séléka forces, political and intercommunal violence, which would leave almost a fifth of the population displaced and half in need of assistance. 2013, the whole population was directly or indirectly affected, and approximately 2.2 million, out of a total population of 4.6 million, were in need of humanitarian assistance. 

In December 2013, the IASC declared a system-wide L3 emergency, and the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC)/Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) began implementing a 100-day Action Plan for Priority Humanitarian Action. By January 2014, the HCT produced a revised SRP, targeting 1.8 million people out of an estimated 2.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid.  The SRP’s overarching purpose was to “alleviate and prevent suffering of conflict-affected people in the CAR,” and its strategic objectives were to: (i) provide life-saving humanitarian, multi-sectoral packages to IDPs and host communities, migrants and returning persons; (ii) protect conflict-affected people from harm, specifically vulnerable groups; (iii) provide access to basic services for returnees and other affected people; and (iv) Restore the resilience of affected communities.  In 2015, humanitarian assistance targeted 2 million people in need, a slight increase on the previous year, concentrating on emergency relief, protection and reinforcement of resilience.


The purpose of the IAHE was two-fold. Firstly, it was to provide an independent assessment of the extent to which planned and collective objectives set in the 2014 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) to respond to the needs of affected people were met. In so far as possible, those set out in the 2015 SRP were also assessed. Secondly, the evaluation aimed to assess the extent to which response mechanisms, including the Humanitarian Programme Cycle and other key pillars of the Transformative Agenda successfully supported the response, and recommend concrete actions. The IAHE aimed to:

  • Assess to what extent the collective response to the crisis met the objectives of the 2014 SRP and the 2015 SRP, and how gaps and challenges were addressed;
  • Assess how effectively humanitarian needs were identified and prioritized, including the identification of associated coordinated needs assessments processes, and to what extent the collective response adequately met those needs;
  • Capture lessons learned and best practices in order to enable collective learning from the humanitarian response, including regional coordination, protection issues and strategies; and,
  • Provide actionable recommendations at both policy and operational level on how collective response mechanisms might be strengthened, particularly in light of challenges in the field, including access, protection and security challenges.


This IAHE was conducted from June to November 2015 in three phases: inception (June–July); data collection and analysis (July–September) and reporting (September–November). Key aspects of the methodology included: user engagement, framework development, stakeholder consultation, mixed method data collection, listening to the affected population and triangulation at three levels.

Limitations and potential bias of the selected methods include: evaluation time in-country and upcountry, the high turnover of humanitarian actors, making it hard to consult key agents in the CAR public at important moments in the evaluation, and the period of data collection (often in the midst of response). While purposive and stratified sampling of respondents and informants did not pretend statistical significance, it permitted cursory representativeness (i.e., via wide diversity) of the perceptions captured through both qualitative and quantitative means. It proved more challenging than expected to obtain interviews with some stakeholder groups. For example, only 14 global stakeholders could be reached instead of the desired 15–20. Rigorous and structured triangulation greatly limited potential bias.

Findings and Conclusions:

Evidence shows that the response contributed enormously to relieving the crisis in the CAR, saving many lives and preventing worse outcomes. It went a long way to achieving the SRP 2014’s goal of reducing suffering and to the humanitarian goal of saving lives. It also achieved process indicators on stronger resilience and national response capacity, but missed the opportunity to use greatly increased resources to address the country’s protracted crisis. 

The humanitarian response contributed to preventing higher mortality and saving lives through provision of food assistance, health, WASH and protection services. The number of lives saved is unknown, but UN actors believe that thousands of IDPs would not have survived without food assistance and basic health services.  

With a view to learning from the response, the evaluation highlights the following conclusions:

  1. The response made a large positive impact on the crisis, but struggled to deliver satisfactory results.
  2. The response focused only the immediate term without a strategic vision for solutions, resilience, early recovery, or national response capacity, with the exception of the health, nutrition and food security sectors.
  3. The performance management framework, as offered by the SRP strategic planning process, was inadequate for strategic management, course correction and accountability.
  4. The response was too dependent on the L3 mechanism and surge capacity, in the absence of local and national capacities disaster responses capacity or well-prepared humanitarian response capacities in the country.
  5. Coverage of all needs remained a fundamental challenge. The scale of targeting and funding was insufficient compared to actual needs, leaving some sectors poorly covered, and some people unassisted.


  1. The HC/HCT should develop an inter-agency strategy aimed at improving performance and focused clearly on assistance, protection, basic services and resilience. Additionally, the IASC should develop the IAHE Impact Pathway model with lessons from the Central African Republic to guide future responses to chronic and complex emergencies. This should include lessons from PoC, clarified expectations on resilience, and guidance on reporting lives saved and risks avoided.
  2. The HC/HCT should advocate for the mobilization of maximum capacities after the L3 surge, including humanitarian capacities, development and peacebuilding capacities, and local and national capacities, behind a coherent and comprehensive stabilization agenda.
  3. The IASC should maintain an adequate response in CAR after L3, and seek to adapt the L3 mechanism for chronic emergencies. This would include maintaining a fit-for-purpose response in the country while transitioning out of reliance on the L3 surge, ensuring adequate prioritization, attention and funding based on needs, and engaging with development and political actors and donors to this end.
  4. The HC/HCT should enable strategic leadership by ensuring a dedicated leadership role, well-functioning coordination structures and structured communications with stakeholders.
  5. The HC/HCT should address key weaknesses in the coordination process in order to strengthen effectiveness. It should concentrate on targeting specific vulnerabilities and groups of beneficiaries, strategic planning and monitoring, and define an effective approach to preparedness with development actors. 
  6. The HC/HCT should develop a collective accountability framework with monitoring mechanisms for coverage, specific needs, AAP and connectedness to national development. 

Note: You will find the report below labeled as follows:

  • REPORT - Final report
  • PART 2 - GEROS 2016 Review
  • PART 3 - GEROS Executive Feedback Summary

Full report in PDF

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Report information







Sequence #:
EO 2016/009

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