8.2 Commissioning and managing an evaluation

An evaluation can be defined as ‘…a systematic and impartial examination of humanitarian action intended to draw lessons to improve policy and practice and practice and enhance accountability‘ (ALNAP, 2001). CARE’s current policy states that external evaluations are optional but will usually be carried out in cases where at least one of the following conditions has been met:

  • involves a large-scale commitment of resources
  • has strategic implications for CARE
  • has piloted innovative approaches that could become standard good practice in future emergency responses.

An evaluation should be led by an external, independent facilitator. The terms of reference for the evaluation should describe how the results will be used.

As with the AAR, the CO has the primary responsibility to identify funding, and organise and manage the evaluation. An external evaluation led by a professional evaluator can typically costs USD20,000-35,000. In some circumstances, a joint evaluation with partner agencies may be more appropriate. While an evaluation (with the exception of real-time evaluations) usually don’t take place until several months after the emergency event, there are a few planning and budgeting steps that need to be taken during the early stages of an emergency response. For more details see the following annexes.

Annex 9.14      Sample TOR for an evaluation

Annex 9.15      Sample format for an evaluation report

Annex 9.16      ALNAP’s evaluation quality proforma