DFID’s response to the Darfur conflict since 2003 was one of its largest ever humanitarian operations. In the absence of a clear political agreement, the humanitarian support has continued, even though many displaced people have now settled permanently in new locations.
This evaluation looks at the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) component of DFID’s response. It examines the relative effectiveness of three delivery channels and DFID’s ability to adjust from emergency to more sustainable support in a protracted conflict.
Overall Assessment: Amber-Red Following mass displacement in Darfur, DFID helped to save lives by providing essential WASH services to the affected population. As the crisis became chronic, however, continued emergency support has created dependency. DFID has been the largest contributor to a United Nations Common Humanitarian Fund (UN-CHF), with £36 million in WASH support. While the UN-CHF helped to strengthen UN leadership of the emergency response, it has failed to adapt to a changing strategic context. With its £6.7 million Darfur Urban Water Supply (DUWS) project delivered by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), DFID attempted to shift to more sustainable investments in water security. The initiative was, however, poorly designed with insufficient attention to institutional and economic realities. DFID’s direct partnership with the non-governmental organisation Tearfund (£2.8 million in WASH support) has proved more responsive and beneficiary-focussed. On its own, it would merit a Green rating.Overall, we find that DFID needs to rethink its approach to engaging in chronic emergencies.