Agulhas Applied Knowledge: Disasters Emergency Committee Yemen Crisis Appeal - Independent phase one review (May 2017)

Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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Executive summary

Before the current crisis, Yemen was already among the world’s poorest performers on most human development indicators. Conditions deteriorated further in the course of the ongoing civil war and foreign military interventions. By the end of 2016, nearly 70% of the population was in need of humanitarian support. The needs remain urgent and far outstrip the humanitarian community’s ability to meet them.

In December 2016, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) issued a ‘Yemen Crisis Appeal’ that has raised GBP 23 million to date. Of this, the DEC has already distributed GBP 10 million among its members. This report looks at the initial use of this funding. The DEC and its members intend to use the report’s findings to inform the next phase of operations.

This report is based on a rapid, light touch review in which we – an Agulhas team – conducted two brief field visits in the south of Yemen, had conversations with staff in Yemen and the UK, and reviewed programme documentation. We interpreted our findings with reference to the Core Humanitarian Standard and focused on themes that are relevant to the wider portfolio only (as such, the report does not cover issues that are specific to individual programmes or organisations).

While it is too early to assess the impact of DEC-funded work, we can confirm that implementing organisations provide relevant humanitarian products and services in priority fields, such as water, health and nutrition, to people with clear and pressing needs. They are aware that access often depends on the approval of Yemen’s (de facto) authorities, and similarly aware of the risks – including the risk of imposed targeting bias – that this engagement entails. Once organisations have gained access to hard-to-reach communities, they often opt to provide multiple types of support rather than single-service interventions in communities in which only a single organisation provides humanitarian support. This is appropriate.

We found areas that could be strengthened in the next phase of the DEC response, and made six recommendations that apply to at least some of the organisations involved. The most important recommendations relate to:

  • The quality of the needs assessments and programme monitoring, the options for which are severely constrained in the current security context but which could nonetheless be strengthened.

  • Blind spots in the response. All programmes pay careful attention to reaching, engaging with and reducing access barriers for women and children, and some programmes pay particularly careful attention to the inclusion of older people and people with disabilities. However, several organisations have an important blind spot in relation to the Muhamasheen. In conditions of engrained discrimination and selfstigmatisation, we have not seen sufficient evidence of the deliberate and persistent targeting that is needed to reach this group.

We conclude that, in the context of an extremely challenging and volatile environment, the overall response of DEC-funded operations appears to be strong and aligned to Yemen’s key humanitarian priorities.