1. Background to the RTE
This report contains the findings of a real-time evaluation conducted for the DEC in Kenya in late October-early November 2011, as part of a wider regional RTE also covering Ethiopia and the response to recent Somali refugee influxes in both countries. A summary Synthesis report has also been written for the overall regional response (not including Somalia), which includes some generic conclusions about the DEC response and should be read in conjunction with the present report. The provisional conclusions of this RTE were shared and discussed with DEC member agencies in Nairobi prior to the evaluation team’s departure. One member of the team was appointed by the Canadian Humanitarian Coalition1 to evaluate the use of HC funding, test the viability of joint evaluation and provide a particular focus on gender issues.
Following the DEC ‘accountability priorities’, the performance of the DEC agencies was reviewed according to the effectiveness and efficiency of the response to date, including preparedness; the quality of responses judged against established standards, principles and best practice; the accountability of agencies to aid recipients; and the extent to which lessons had been learned from previous responses, in particular regarding the link between short and long term dimensions of crisis in this region. The specific questions addressed under each heading can be found in the Annex.
The context for the Kenya response was a food security and livelihoods crisis located mainly in the northern regions of the country and escalating through the course of 2011 to a peak of severity in May-September. The immediate cause was the consecutive failures of the short and long rains of late 2010 and early 2011; yet what made the crisis so severe was not the extent of drought per se (2006 was said to have been worse in this respect) but a combination of factors, including high food prices and households hit by two recent bad years and unable to withstand a third. The symptoms of the crisis included very high levels of acute malnutrition (as high as 37% in parts of Turkana), distress migration and loss of income and assets, particularly the livestock of pastoralists. While there were increases in morbidity and mortality, for the most part the crisis did not result in large-scale ‘excess’ deaths – with the exception of the Somali refugees in the Dadaab camps. The present crisis in Kenya is part of a recurrent pattern, made worse by both short-term economic factors and longer-term pressures of demographics, climate and resource scarcity. For that reason it is as much a matter of developmental as of humanitarian concern. But given the extent of human suffering involved in 2011 and the damage inflicted on livelihoods, few would dispute that this was a crisis that demanded an exceptional response.