ICF is currently working on an evaluation on Providing Humanitarian Assistance to Sahel Emergencies (PHASE) programme where DFID has entered into a partnership with ECHO who oversee the allocation of funds and monitor programme implementation. The countries of implementation are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
The Sahel region includes some of the poorest countries in the world. All seven countries included within PHASE are considered as “low human development countries” according to the UNDP Human Development Index. Four of the countries (Mali, Chad, Niger, and Burkina Faso) are in the ten least developed countries, with Niger ranked the lowest in the world.
The combination of poverty, climate, and political issues, as well as the cyclical nature of chronically poor harvests, makes the humanitarian situation in the Sahel extremely challenging. The problems that are primarily faced in the Sahel are due to multiple factors such as food insecurity, lack of industry, high population growth, a weak educational sector and few prospects for work outside of subsistence farming and pastoralism.
In response to the crisis, the UK Government agreed to provide funding of up to £139 million over the period November 2014 to February 2018 to address the humanitarian needs of people living in the Sahel region. This is being implemented through PHASE which adopts a multi-year approach to the humanitarian response in the Sahel. The programme allows DFID to plan projects and develop linkages in line with the seasonal calendar. It also contributes to the evidence base of resilience work and value for money and test some of the assumptions that cost savings will be made in the longer term by reducing humanitarian demand.
PHASE has been designed to enable DFID as well as its partners, “to address the emergency needs of those affected by multiple humanitarian crises in the Sahel”. This is to provide predictability in funding, stimulating more preparedness and prevention programmes that link with the seasonal calendar.
The overall purpose of PHASE funding is to reduce the morbidity and mortality that arises from both acute and chronic humanitarian drivers, through three complementary approaches:
- Integrated Nutrition Package for people affected by the Nutrition and Food Security Crisis
- Support for people affected by conflicts and insecurity
- Emergency preparedness and response
The project is a hybrid of a process and performance evaluation. The aim is to understand which aspects of these mechanisms work well and which work less well to explore how and whether these mechanisms can be integrated into future DFID programming. With in-house evaluation expertise and extensive experience in conducting evaluations in fragile states, ICF have taken a lead on developing the methodology for this programme.