Inter-agency real-time evaluation in Haiti: 3 months after the earthquake

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
Originally published



Background, scope and method

On January 12th 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti's capital Port-au- Prince and its surrounding areas. The earthquake had devastating effects: an estimated 230,0001 people were killed, with many left injured and homeless. Material loss is reported to be equivalent to more than 100% of Haiti's national income.2 More than 2 million displaced persons3 sought refuge in spontaneous settlements in and around the capital, with host families, and in rural areas. The humanitarian situation in Port-au-Prince and the provinces was compounded by the high level of chronic poverty in Haiti. The scale of the disaster was comparable to the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, but in a much more limited area.

By May 2010, over 1,000 international organizations had provided humanitarian assistance in Haiti.

- 57% of the 1.5 billion US dollar Revised Humanitarian Appeal had been funded,

- thousands of wounded people had been provided with care,

- the Food Cluster had provided 3.5 million Haitians with food aid; 17,500 people had been employed in Cash for Work programs,

- thousands of cubic meters of potable water had been distributed,

- the Shelter Cluster had distributed over half a million tarpaulins and the Protection Cluster reported that it had organized social activities for 45,000 children

In view of the scale of the disaster and the subsequent response, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) launched a Real-Time Evaluation (RTE) to inform decision-makers at country and headquarters levels, to draw lessons and to allow corrections to be made where necessary.

The Haiti RTE includes three phases. The first phase was implemented between April and May 2010. The three-week country mission included several workshops with key stakeholders, in-depth data analysis, and debriefings in Port-au-Prince. The process of gathering information and recording local people's perceptions was carried out as rigorously6 as possible on the basis of a typology of different sites and zones via semi-structured face-to-face interviews and focus groups. The field work was followed by a series of debriefings and additional data collection exercises in New York, Geneva and London.