El Salvador + 3 more

Independent evaluation of expenditure of DEC Central America Hurricane appeal funds

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
Originally published

Terms of Reference
(Approved 11/06/99)
1. Background

The tropical storm that was to become Hurricane Mitch first struck the northern coast of Costa Rica on 22nd October, 1998. The storm moved along the Caribbean coast across Nicaragua and Honduras and intensified until, by 26th October, it was stationary over the Honduras islands of La Bahia and had reached the maximum hurricane force, level 5. Eight days of constant torrential rains followed during which Mitch unexpectedly turned south through Honduras, slowly passing across the mountains directly over the capital (Tegucigalpa) and the main Pacific city (Choluteca). The resulting floods and mudslides severely damaged buildings, rural and urban infrastructure and agriculture across Honduras and neighbouring areas of Nicaragua. The storm then went west along the coast of El Salvador before returning north, across Guatemala and into the Gulf of Honduras.

More than 6.5 million people were directly affected and at least 2.5 million were temporarily dependent on emergency relief supplies. A consultative group for reconstruction set up by the Inter American Development Bank estimated the cost of the destruction of infrastructure and economic production losses in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua at US$ 5.4 billion, equivalent to a quarter of annual income for every man, woman and child.

Acknowledging that response to the emergency was beyond their capacity, a state of emergency was declared in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and appeals made to the international community for assistance in the recovery process. In Nicaragua, though pressed by local government and civil society to declare a state of emergency, the President initially only called a state of "natural disaster".

In Honduras, the authorities made every effort to co-ordinate with relief organisations from the beginning. The Honduran Red Cross Society launched a local media campaign for disaster preparedness as the alert began. The government established a Permanent Contingency Commission (COPECA) and an Agricultural Development Commission (CODA) with an emergency plan to supplement the basic food supply and control prices. With roads and bridges destroyed and basic services paralysed, entire regions and cities were isolated and rural communities were particularly badly affected. As elsewhere, local NGOs and other civil society organisations (many of which had had previous experience of responding to Hurricanes) played an important role in the emergency, relief and subsequent rehabilitation responses throughout the region, in conjunction with local emergency committees and authorities.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is an umbrella charitable organisation which launches and co-ordinates a National Appeal in the UK in response to a major disaster overseas. It brings together a unique alliance of aid, corporate, public and broadcasting services to rally compassion and ensure that funds raised go to those amongst the fifteen member aid agencies best placed to bring effective and timely relief.

The DEC Central America Hurricane Appeal was launched on 12th November, 1998. To date, the appeal has generated some £12m. Pooled funds have been distributed amongst eleven participating aid agencies in support of humanitarian responses including:

  • food aid
  • medicine and health care
  • water and sanitation
  • shelter and housing
  • clothing and household items
  • medium term food security and agricultural rehabilitation
  • infrastructure
  • technical and logistical support
  • working capital (in cash or in kind).

DEC pooled funds should be spent within six months and agencies' statements of expenditure submitted seven months after the launch of the appeal.

DEC rules require an independent evaluation of the expenditure of appeal funds to be initiated in the eighth month following an appeal launch. This provides an important mechanism for DEC transparency and accountability to fundraising partners and the British public. Evaluation also enables DEC agencies to extend individual and collective learning on good practice in response to humanitarian emergencies. The evaluation report will be made public within twelve months of the appeal launch.

2. Main purpose of the evaluation

To assess overall appropriateness, effectiveness and impact of a sample of projects supported by DEC pooled funds and implemented by either member agencies and / or with local partner agencies.

3. Specific outputs of the Central America Hurricane Appeal evaluation

  1. In the context of the overall response, the breadth and depth of presence in affected countries (member and partner agencies), how appropriate was the geographical coverage of relief and rehabilitation projects supported by DEC pooled funds?
  2. For sample projects, how appropriate were the processes and criteria by which beneficiary needs were defined, identified and reached? Was there evidence of thorough vulnerability analysis?
  3. In sample projects, what was the level of beneficiary involvement in project design, implementation and monitoring? How effective and appropriate were these processes in ensuring relevant and timely project delivery in support of the most needy and vulnerable?
  4. How did agency action (in the sample projects) serve to strengthen or impede existing coping strategies?
  5. How effective were the different interventions adopted by the sample projects in bringing humanitarian relief to the affected population? How appropriate was the duration of these interventions and what, if any, is the likely, longer-term socio-economic impact? Where possible, outline the groups which benefited most?
  6. What was the likely overall effect of the sample projects supported by DEC pooled funds in terms of lives and livelihoods saved?
  7. What was the added value of DEC appeal funds in the context of the overall humanitarian response? Did DEC funds facilitate a quick response?

4. Method

It is anticipated that the evaluation team will:

  • undertake a brief literature review of humanitarian responses to natural disaster in Central America.
  • develop a purposive sampling framework within the range and complexity of DEC-funded projects, member agencies and local partnerships in Central America.
  • use gender-aware and participatory approaches to seek the views of beneficiaries and, where appropriate, non-beneficiaries.
  • use inclusive techniques to seek active participation in the evaluation by members of local emergency committees, staff of implementing partner agencies and member agencies, representatives of local and central governments
  • use agency and partner expenditure reports to assess direct and indirect project costs, and, in conjunction with beneficiary/team assessment of direct and indirect benefits, compare the cost-effectiveness of strategies and initiatives to identify most cost effective approaches.
  • undertake the evaluation with due reference to the Red Cross/Red Crescent NGO Code of Conduct, which all agencies have signed.
  • arrange for feedback to and validation by implementing agencies (including local partners) in situ.

5. The Report

The evaluation report should consist of:

  • executive summary and recommendations (not more than six pages)
  • main text, to include emergency context, evaluation methodology, appeal management, commentary and analysis addressing evaluation purpose and outputs, conclusions (not more than thirty pages)
  • appendices, to include evaluation terms of reference, maps, sample framework, agency notes, sub-team report(s), end notes (where appropriate) and bibliography.

6. Evaluation team and timeframe

Evaluation team members should contribute an appropriate balance of professional and analytical skills (eg health/nutrition, water/sanitation, agronomy, micro-enterprise, organisation development, project cycle management) and an understanding of Latin America. Field teams should include Central American nationals (men and women) and be proficient in Spanish as well as competent in written English (evidence may be requested). All team members should be gender aware, a gender balance within field teams is desirable.

Consultants or independent evaluation teams who are short-listed in the tendering process should seek DEC approval for any proposed changes to the composition of the team originally submitted.

As a guide it is envisaged that around 200 person-days will be required to carry out the evaluation.

The evaluation timeframe should allow for submission (end September) for comment by DEC agencies and presentation of the draft report to member agencies (mid-October) for completion by 1st November 1999.

7. Tenders and Evaluation Management

Tenders should be submitted to the DEC Secretariat by the closing date of 16th July. A maximum 5 page summary should be submitted with appendices of team member CVs and an indication of availability. The DEC may wish to see substantive pieces work or to take up references of shortlisted consultants.

The final decision on tenders will be taken by the DEC Executive Committee, following short-listing and interviews. Key factors will include:

Provisional framework, methodology, team balance, local experiences, distinctive competences, timeframe and budget, an appreciation of key constraints and comments on the above terms of reference.

Professionalism of the bid, team experience (professional and analytical), degree of parity with the terms of reference, likelihood of achieving the DEC timetable, realism, not just competitiveness, in the cost submission.

Tenders will be accepted from "freelance" as well as from company, PVO or academic teams.

Administration and overall co-ordination, including monitoring progress, lies with the DEC Secretariat. The evaluation Team Leader must, from the commencement of the evaluation, submit a weekly report on actual against anticipated progress. The Steering Committee will via the Secretariat undertake to respond to weekly submissions as necessary. In addition, the Team Leader should alert the Secretariat immediately if serious problems or delays are encountered. Approval for any significant changes to the evaluation timetable will be referred to the DEC Operations Sub-Committee.

It is anticipated that the selection process will be completed by the first week of August.

9. Further information

For further information please contact:

Jamie McCaul, Executive Secretary
52, Great Portland Street
London, W1N 5AH
Tel. 44 + (0)171 580 6550
Fax. 44 +(0)171 580 2854
email decuk@ compuserve.com

El Salvador
Costa Rica

Activities: Health, food, water, sanitation, shelter, housing, food security, agricultural rehabilitation &\production, infrastructure, diagnostics

Activities: Health, food, water, food security
Activities: Health, food, water, shelter, food security
Activities: Health, food, food security
Activities: Health, food, water, food security
Activities: Housing
Activities: Sanitation, housing, food security
Activities: Sanitation, housing, food security, infrastructure
Activities: Infrastructure, housing, micro-credit
Activities: Water
Activities: Health, food, water, sanitation, housing, blankets and clothing.
Christian Aid
Activities: Health
Activities: Health, food, water, sanitation, housing, clothing, food security, logistics, credit, infrastructure
Activities: Food utensils, food security, disaster prevention.
Activities: Health, food, housing, clothing, food security, infrastructure
Activities: Health
Activities: Health, food, shelter, housing, food security
Activities: Health, water, sanitation, shelter, food security
Activities: Health, food, water, sanitation, shelter, food security
Activities: Health, water
Activities: Health, food, water, sanitation, shelter, food security, infrastructure, personnel, capital, child d/t
Activities: Health, food, water, sanitation, shelter, housing, food security, infrastructure, logistics, personnel.

Locations: La Mosquitia, Comayangua, Cortes, Yoro

Partner: Salvation Army

Activities: Food, blankets, mattresses, health, clothes and shelter

Locations: Metallo, Acajutla, Sonsonate, Barra de Santiago, Cara Sucia, Islas Porvenir - Auchapan, Jucuapa, Jiquilisco - Usulutan, Chilanguera, Chilanga - San Miguel.

Partner: Salvation Army

Activities: Mattresses, food, water, health services

Locations: Dept. of Guanacaste & Perez Zeledon

World Vision
Activities: Assessment, health, food, water, education, food security, infrastructure, counselling

Housing was the only DEC funded activity

Activities: Health, water, housing, utensils, training, of medical volunteers, fumigation, blankets and agriculture.