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Final report: External evaluation of IDMC’s 2015-2020 strategy

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Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Originally published
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Authors: Elsa Perreau & Roland Blomeyer

Executive summary

This summary briefly presents the main findings and recommendations.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) contracted the firm Blomeyer & Sanz in May 2020 to conduct the independent evaluation of its 2015-2020 strategy.

The Terms of Reference (ToR) refer to the following evaluation objectives:

  • Evaluate IDMC’s activities from 2015 to 2020 against the strategy’s performance indicators;

  • Evaluate the five-year strategy against the following criteria: relevance, effectiveness, impact, financial sustainability and added-value.

Findings

Relevance

The evaluation found IDMC’s activities to be highly relevant. Policy-makers and programming officers have substantial needs for data and expertise on internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially related to climate change and disasters. IDMC’s work clearly addresses important gaps related to internal displacement and provides crucial evidence to policy-makers. IDMC has been able to adapt to the evolving environment and will continue offering relevant support, maintaining the focus on areas where it can add the most value in the future.

Effectiveness

IDMC successfully implemented the activities planned in its 2015-2020 strategy and achieved the objective of “refocus[ing] on its original mandate to provide quality data, information and analysis on internal displacement and to make this knowledge available to policy-makers and operational managers in strategic and engaging ways”. Several drivers contributed to IDMC’s achievements: its efficient organisational structure and qualified and dedicated team, and the communication and outreach activities (with scope for further strengthening outreach). The evaluation identified the need for the development of more formalised tools or processes in place to systematically monitor the overall implementation of IDMC’s strategy. The lack of systematic monitoring data somewhat constrained the identification of areas of success and opportunities in term of influence or areas requiring adaptation.

Impact

Direct attribution to IDMC of progress in the global policy framework is of course difficult to assess, however, it is clear that IDMC makes a significant contribution to the conversation on IDPs at the global level. IDMC outputs are often cited by international organisations and donor partners. Stakeholder feedback suggests that IDMC contributes more directly to the programming efforts of operational actors than to the global policy framework.

Added-value

IDMC’s niche is its unique focus on internal displacement regardless of its causes. Currently, IDMC is the only organisation providing IDP data aggregates with such robust methodology. IDMC’s transparency, openness about the data sources and limitations as well as its unique position outside of the United Nations (UN) system but having a mandate from the UN, make it a very trusted a reliable source on IDP intelligence. The increasingly competitive environment makes it crucial for IDMC’s future to exploit its added-value.

Coherence

IDMC is very well-connected in Geneva and is coherent in its choice of strategic partners. IDMC needs to continue cultivating strong partnerships, sign data sharing agreements and start building a regional and country-network outside of Geneva, Washington DC or Brussels. General feedback on IDMC’s partner relations suggest that IDMC has been successful in terms of increasing the number of partners over the past five years, however, there might be room for improvement in terms of consistency of the engagement. IDMC’s future strategy is currently under discussion. All stakeholders emphasized the need for coherence and focus in the design of this future strategy.

Financial sustainability

IDMC’s financial resources have increased over the past five years and this can be attributed to the significant efforts of the organisation to diversify its sources of funding. IDMC’s fundraising activities are set to grow in the future even though the organisation finds itself in a competitive funding environment.

Recommendations

➢ In order to facilitate tracking of achievements and a clear understanding of IDMC’s strategy and objectives, consider establishing tangible performance indicators in the future strategy and start systematically tracking progress and activities. Systematic tracking of where and in what way IDMC had influence (e.g. through participation and organisation of workshops, formulation of recommendations / advocacy messages) could help IDMC in providing a clearer overview of the organisation’s effectiveness in the eyes of its partners and donors, and allow adjustments in the strategy on the basis of monitoring evidence. This recommendation is particularly relevant for new activities, e.g. the monitoring of capacity development activities would benefit from the adoption of monitoring approaches such as the Kirkpatrick model.

➢ In the future, IDMC needs to continue exploring its added-value to remain a relevant and credible data provider in a rapidly changing environment. IDMC also needs to further build on the progress it made over the past five years and yield the results, including in terms of innovative partnerships (e.g. with the private sector), expansion and further deepening of thematic research areas and the development of innovative tools.

➢ With a view to ensuring stakeholder engagement with the future strategy, IDMC’s next strategy needs to be clear in terms of focus and related activities, and just as importantly, it is recommended to communicate on the strategy with key partners (both bilaterally, and with groups of relevant partners).

➢ To increase outreach and advocacy and further support the implementation of activities (e.g. research), explore the possibility to have regional focal points to help facilitating and maintaining partnerships. IDMC could also consider more systematic targeted communication to increase visibility.

➢ To increase awareness and the visibility of IDMC and IDPs, IDMC could consider more systematic targeted communication towards policy makers and the strategic audience of each outputs. IDMC could consider linking its communication more directly to relevant developments in the international institutions (e.g. sending briefs on research related to topics being discussed at the UN Council about a week before meetings take place).

➢ To avoid potential tensions with partners, continue and deepen the collaborative approach implemented during the past five years and continue building on meaningful partnerships.