Final evaluation COVID-19 Food Assistance program CAS islands

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1.1. Overview of the program

The Netherlands Red Cross (NLRC) has branches on 6 Caribbean islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius). These branches are part of the NLRC and focus on direct emergency aid after disasters and the provision of assistance to vulnerable groups on the islands. Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten are independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In March 2020, these three countries experienced their first COVID-19 cases. The population of these countries are very dependent on tourism for their livelihoods, which has been heavily impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Many people were already vulnerable and have now become even more vulnerable due to a loss of their source of income.

The COVID-19 outbreak has had a huge impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people on the islands. To support the most vulnerable people in Aruba, Curacao and Sint-Maarten with their acute food & hygiene needs, NLRC started rolling out a relief operation in May 2020 funded by the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs to provide assistance to vulnerable households impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19, hereafter “RC COVID-19 Response Programme”. The main components of this relief operation are Cash (through e-voucher modality), food & hygiene parcels and ready-to-eat meals. The program supported a total of around 24.000 households (74.000 persons). It consists out of four phases and has a total budget of EUR 59.2 million.

1.2. Purpose of the evaluation

This final evaluation is two-fold namely to:

· Assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and synergies of the activities, systems, management, and coordination of the Food assistance program responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

· Identify lessons learned and providing concrete recommendations to NLRC HQ and to the branches/mission for future disaster response interventions.

1.3. Scope

· Geographical: The evaluation will include data collection on all three islands (Curacao, Sint Maarten and Aruba). Moreover, data will be collected in the Netherlands (HQ).

· Timeframe: It includes the (first) 12-14 months of the operation which is the response and early recovery phase of the operation (May 2020 – June/July 2021). **

· Respondents: The evaluation will assess the views and experience of the strengths and challenges of the program of:

· The beneficiaries/households receiving support,

· The implementing branches and SXM mission, plus the local partners with who they collaborated for the implementation of the program.

· The grant holder (NLRC HQ).1

1.4. Evaluation questions

The evaluation will seek to gain insights about the following evaluation questions.

  1. Relevance and appropriateness

  2. To what extent did the programme respond to the needs of the target group/beneficiaries?

  3. To what extent was the delivered assistance appropriate for the needs and context?

  4. Effectiveness

· What were the main results achieved?

· Looking back at the results achieved, how relevant do we consider this program at:

· A beneficiary level

· A branch level (for volunteers and branch staff)

· An institutional level (both for the branch and at HQ)

  • What efforts are being undertaken to create an enabling environment for sustainable positive results or effects?

  • To what extent has the programme been effective in reaching the objectives that were set out in the programme design?

  • Which challenges were encountered in reaching the intended objectives?

  • Efficiency

· To what extent were the interventions efficient in delivering quality services with minimum resources?

· What were the strengths and challenges of the management and systemic mechanisms and strategies; and accountability to the affected population in relation to service delivery, sustainability, engagement, inclusion and resilience building.

  1. Synergies

  2. To what extent have collaborations on project implementation level led to better results compared to what the projects could have achieved when implemented in isolation?

  3. To what extent has the CAS RC and NLRC on the 3 countries built strategic partnerships with other humanitarian actors or other relevant stakeholders (e.g. local NGO’s, UNHCR, WFP, IOM) on the islands or in the region?

  4. To what extend was the regional approach effective and where is there room for improvement.

· Evaluation team

The review will be carried out by an evaluation team (ET), which is led and coordinated by an External Evaluator.[2] The external evaluator can apply with team members or a team can be composed with the support of the Red Cross. The evaluation team will together decide on the roles and responsibilities of each team member and closely collaborate with the EMT. The External Evaluator will be selected through a tender procedure.

Internally, the process of the review will be managed by an Evaluation Management Team (EMT) which will be headed by the NLRC PMEAL advisor and consists of members of the NLRC HQ, the CAS Regional Team and the branches/mission. The EMT provides input and advice particularly during the inception phase and other important milestones of the review that will be identified in the evaluator’s inception report. It will monitor the ET regarding evaluation management, design, implementation and quality control.

Regular meetings between the ET and the EMT are to be scheduled to discuss progress.

· Methodology

The Evaluation Team is expected to propose of a mixed review methodology of (primarily) qualitative and quantitative research methods. A summarized proposal should be part of the application documents. Once selected , a detailed work out is expected in the inception report. **

The methodology will adhere to the IFRC Framework for Evaluations , with particular attention to the processes upholding the standards of how evaluations should be planned, managed, conducted, and utilized. The EMT will manage and oversee the review and ensure that the review upholds IFRC standards for evaluations and OECD-DAC criteria for evaluation.

· Deliverables

  • Inception report – The inception report should include the proposed methodologies, a data collection and reporting plan with identified deliverables, draft data collection tools such as interview guides, questionnaire, sampling method, a timeframe with firm dates for deliverables and travel (if applicable) and logistical arrangements for the evaluation.

  • Draft report: The consultant will produce a draft report (identifying key findings based on facts, conclusions, recommendations and lessons for the current and future operations) which will be reviewed by the NLRC and the branch teams. The consultant will be given the feedback after 10 working days to incorporate into the final report. The draft report will be also shared with the branches for validation.

  • Final report. A Final report highlighting key findings, conclusions, lessons learned and recommendations will be submitted within 10 days of receiving the feedback from the draft report. Final evaluation report of no more than 40 pages (excluding executive summary and annexes such as copy of the ToR, cited resources, a list of those interviewed and any other relevant materials).

  • Lessons learnt presentation and one-pager:** A final meeting/workshop will be held to share the key findings and recommendations. The key lessons and recommendations will be presented in a one-pager to share.

· Timeline

The review is expected to be implemented between mid-May and end of August 2021.

[1] An internal review/evaluation was performed on the HQ processes related to the COVID-19 response in the six islands.

[2] The evaluator neither has been involved nor has a vested interest in the RCRC-Movement, and will be hired through a transparent recruitment process, based on professional experience, competence and ethics and integrity that will ensure that the review process complies with quality standards.

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