Expanding the scope of humanitarian program evaluation.

Center for Refugee and Disaster Studies, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.
Prehospital and disaster medicine: the official journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the World Association for Emergency and Disaster Medicine in association with the Acute Care Foundation 10/2007; 22(5):390-5. DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X00005100
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The effectiveness of humanitarian programs normally is evaluated according to a limited number of pre-defined objectives. These objectives typically represent only selected positive expected impacts of program interventions and as such, are inadequate benchmarks for understanding the overall effectiveness of aid. This is because programs also have unexpected impacts (both positive and negative) as well as expected negative impacts and expected positive impacts beyond the program objectives. The authors contend that these other categories of program impacts also should be assessed, and suggest a methodology for doing so that draws on input from the perspectives of beneficiaries. This paper includes examples of the use of this methodology in the field. Finally, the authors suggest future directions for improving this type of expanded assessment and advocate for its widespread use, both within and without the field of disaster response.

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