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Evaluating Humanitarian Response in Rapid Onset Crises: The Power of Pre-Positioning Research

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When it comes to evaluating humanitarian programming and emergency responses, we have a conundrum. The urgency of humanitarian response is widely thought to be at odds with lengthy evaluation processes. In the case of a rapid-onset humanitarian crisis, such as a natural disaster or armed conflict, setting up research partnerships, designing a methodology, obtaining ethical approval, and collecting baseline data are challenging, if not impossible activities.

Given this, the evidence base within rapid-onset crises is limited, reducing the information humanitarian agencies have to inform and design their relief activities. Evidence to inform how to optimize humanitarian programming is increasingly important as humanitarian need expands and funding to meet that need struggles to keep pace. While it may be possible to conduct monitoring of the outputs of such programming, routine and robust beginning-to-end evaluations are infeasible without a shift in how evaluations are procured.

That’s where pre-positioning evaluation research comes in.

Read the blog here