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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Sudan: Evaluation of Humanitarian Action: Child Survival in North Darfur

Author: Philimon Majwa, Reem Abbas, Dr Tayseer Abdelsadig

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’.


UNICEF’s humanitarian interventions in North Darfur focused on supporting the affected people with immediate lifesaving assistance and protection crucial to their survival, in a sustainable manner. UNICEF targeted more than 517,000 IDPs , (including 180,950 men, 232,650 women, and 103,400 children) between 2010 and 2015, for provision of water and sanitation services under its WASH Humanitarian Programming. The goal was to contribute to a reduction of diarrheal cases through provisions of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. The Nutrition Humanitarian Programme focused on the integration of the new CMAM services into the existing Primary Health Care facilities targeting up to 163,420 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition. Regarding the Health Humanitarian Programming, UNICEF targeted the strengthening of the IMCI program reaching some 628,566 individuals, representing 33 percent of children under five in North Darfur, and capacity building state level health care workers.


The Government of Sudan, represented by Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) and UNICEF, agreed to undertake an independent evaluation to assess the effectiveness of UNICEF humanitarian interventions from 2010 through 2015 in North Darfur. One of the primary targets was to learn from the outcome and impact of the interventions in promoting child survival. Evidence generated on the intervention strengths and weakness will be used by the Government of Sudan (Federal, State and Locality level), UNICEF, Donors, and other UN agencies to improve humanitarian programming for the greater wellbeing of children.


The evaluation was an ex-post outcomes and impact evaluation of the humanitarian action delivered by UNICEF and partners in addressing the needs of the population affected by emergencies in North Darfur. The evaluation used the utilization- focused approach where the intended users of the evaluation were identified and engaged in the design of the evaluation TOR and tools from the onset. This was enhanced by putting in place a technical committee from the ministry of education, Health, Nutrition, water and social services from the Government side. While from UNICEF there was engagement of UNICEF PME and Senior management team in the evaluation process. The quantitative analysis is built on the already existing reports from previous Household Surveys conducted during the period under review (2010 – 2015) mainly MICS 2014, S3M 2013, SHHS 2010, Routine Statistics of Sector MIS (for example, routine data related to health services) and Community Village Survey Data. Data on programme implementation related to Services Delivery (Supply and Cash) and achieved Outputs were extracted from UNICEF internal financial reports. Trends Analysis was conducted in order to assess progress made vis-à-vis base line indicators as captured in UNICEF annual work plans.  Qualitative data was collected from various project stakeholders through individual interviews, Focus Group Discussions with key beneficiaries (children aged 8 - 12, parents, caregivers and service providers), and community members.  The cost effectiveness analysis focused on the cost of achieving the intended programme actual outcomes. The analysis of financial data, including budget allocation, utilisation by outcomes and sector result area was initiated to compute the cost effective analysis as outlined in the DFID value for money framework.

Findings and Conclusions:

  1. Regarding the relevance, UNICEF WASH, Nutrition and Health humanitarian programmes are relevant and appropriate to the needs of the displaced affected population. The programmes contributed to the Sudan Government policies in humanitarian programming focusing on Health, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation at the state and community level.
  2. About the coordination, UNICEF ensured that it effectively met its obligation as a cluster lead for WASH and Nutrition by ensuring that there were strategic engagements in terms of planning at the North Darfur state level. This ensured that there was no duplication of activities among the humanitarian actors. UNICEF led and coordination inter-agency needs assessment mainly for WASH, while for Nutrition there were periodic nutritional status assessments to inform the programming at North Darfur state level. UNICEF led the contingency planning in process, which is a key preparedness tool for both the WASH and Nutrition Cluster at North Darfur state level.
  3. Regarding the efficiency, UNICEF demonstrates the comparative advantages of being present on the ground through the field office (staff and logistics), the pre-positioning of supplies at state level within the warehouse of state line ministries, UNAMID compounds, good partnership/relations with Government counterparts and existing signed partnership with NGOs;
  4. UNICEF has strengthened in 2016 its capacity of programme field monitoring at FO level, the establishment of Third Party Monitoring in assessing the effectiveness of services delivery and the improvement of HACT financial risk management; In Khartoum, capacities for information management in support to sector cluster coordination was strengthened; however, there is gap at state level;

***more findings are available in the evaluation report.


Recommendations to UNICEF

  1. The current administrative cost of up to 48.5 percent is on the higher side and UNICEF should institute innovative strategies of partnerships in order to minimise the administrative/ overheads costs.
  2. Institute an independent audit to examine and document the extent of the leakage of Plumpy nut, water jerry can and soap, and UNICEF must take immediate measures closely with the Government to eliminate the leakage of supplies and commodities in order to increase the effects of outcomes for children.
  3. Strengthen urgently the supply chain management system beyond the state level by ensuring the supply delivery to beneficiaries at community level and document the resources transacted by UNICEF on behalf of Implementing Partners.
    a. UNICEF needs to explore the engagement with private shop owners as avenues for distribution of therapeutic Plumpy nut, mainly in the hard to reach areas where the shops are the first point of reference for assistance at the community level.
    b. Branding and visibility of relief items mainly water jerry cans and Plumpy nut should be explored to minimise the leakage of such items.
    c. As noted in South Darfur where there is an elaborate policy framework in handling humanitarian leakage, UNICEF should lobby North Darfur state Government and the national Government to enact policies criminalising the sale of therapeutic relief items.
  4. Promote a multi-sector integrated package of interventions at the community level starting from the programme planning stage. UNICEF should promote the equity in delivering services that must also be a benefit to host communities for Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and CP.

***recommendations 5 - 11 can be fond in the report. Also in the report are recommendations for the Government of Sudan and for Partners. 

Lessons Learned:

  1. Multi-sectoral interventions at both state and community levels contributed significantly to addressing the immediate needs to the affected population. This approach ensured that there was no duplication of activities, that efforts were complementary and leveraged the various technical, logistic and financial capacities of organizations within the target areas.
  2. UNICEF’s presence in operations and in the field, as well as the availability of human resources and emergency financing, ensured a response within the recommended 72 hours, after supporting stakeholders to develop actionable contingency plans in both North and South Darfur.
  3. Investment in multi-hazard contingency planning has improved emergency services and timely responses in both slow onset emergencies (floods) and rapid onset emergencies that involve targeting displaced communities due to conflict.
  4. The focus on humanitarian intervention in the context of protracted crisis led to weak emphasis on investment in long-term strengthening of primary health care services, water service provision and livelihood programming at the community level to improve resilience among the affected population.

Lessons 5 - 16 can be found in the report.

Full report in PDF

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