Seven Tips to better evaluations in fragility, conflict and violence

Author: Hur Hassnain

The World Bank estimates that by 2030, the share of global poor living in contexts of Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) is projected to reach 46%. According to the OECD, ‘fragile states’ are most at risk of not achieving the sustainable development goals.

Hot Tips and Rad Resources:

Here are seven Hot Tips and Rad Resources to consider when evaluating in FCV:

1-Context.  Take context as a starting point and invest in FCV analysis to understand sources of tension and cohesion.

2-Be conflict-sensitive, whilst working in FCV we need to realise that no one is neutral. Evaluations should explain the interactions between context and the intervention.

3-Good monitoring precedes good evaluations. Traditional periodic evaluations are unrealistic when evaluators struggle to have access to the targeted people. Monitoring supports adaptive programming by informing decision makers faster, resulting in timely project fixes.

4-Engaging local communities where access is restricted, in the M&E processes to make them agents of change. This requires a well-planned and thoughtful process to ensure their safe and meaningful involvement.

5-Third Party Monitoring. TPM is a risk-management tool intended to provide evidence in inaccessible areas, it also presents some ethical and technical limitations. The Secure Access in Volatile Environments program suggests TPM works best when used as a last resort.

6-Using information and communication technologies where remote programming is needed, ICTs offer creative solutions to compensate face-to-face interaction, making evaluations an agile tool for adaptive-management; new ethical challenges and the new kinds of risks that digital data brings need to be mitigated. See Oxfam’s Mobile Survey Toolkit for tools and providers.

7-Is the evaluation worth the cost when money could otherwise be used to relieve human suffering? Think twice if the context is fluid, continuously changing and the target population is on the move. Cost is justified only if the findings have the capability and potential to lead to program improvements andgenerate learning without compromising the security of the affected population, people delivering aid or collecting data. Depending on the context you can choose from a spectrum of options including more informal reflective learning exercises (e.g., After Action Reviews/Real-Time Evaluations) and use user-friendly communications including social media posts with the evaluation participants.

A greater drive for meaningful conflict-sensitive evaluations that investigates the causes of FCV, instead of ‘fig leaf’, evaluations would contribute to better outcomes and new policies to provide more flexible and faster support for those whose lives are torn apart by war and conflict.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to the International Development Evaluation Association who with its partners established a Thematic Interest Group on Evaluation in fragility, conflict and violence (EvalFCV).

Read the blog on the American Evaluation Association’s website – Click Here