Preliminary Reflections on the IASC RTE of Darfur prepared for ALNAP, December 2004. What worked well …. Response to Jan Egeland’s initiative. IASC members commitment to participate came quickly
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First visit revealed a number of areas of key concerns that applied to most agencies: timeliness of response, early warning and contingency planning, protection, gender, SGBV, difficulties to field staff, lack of good political and contextual analysis etc.
Already first RTE outcome: the initial feed-back triggered a major review of humanitarian response capacity to study whether difficulties experienced in Darfur are systemic issues and need addressing BUT so far limited impact
Use of a research assistant (OCHA ESU staff)
Establishment and continued updating of a timeline
Team dynamics: mix of external and internal with external team leader being the lead
Low key approach to first visit brought eventually stronger field buy-in BUT more is needed
Observation as a key method: participation in regular programmed meeting were extremely illuminating
First working paper tailored to reflect the challenges as encountered by humanitarian actors without “finger-pointing” nor backward looking. Degree of appreciation for the issues worked well with the field team. This led to acceptance of the team as part of the team there, an important step.
Undertake a low key preparatory visit ahead of first RTE visit. This could be the evaluation manager alone or jointly with the already identified team leader. Visit would help develop TOR and get buy-in
Consider testing method of appreciative inquiry to reduce field resistance
Ensure strong research capacity throughout
Plan for more team working time in between phases
Develop an evaluation website that provides all relevant background info plus reports
Train national consultants to spend quality time in the field while international team is not present