CHC with partners, Global Emergency Group (GEG), carried out an interactive and iterative evaluation alongside UNICEF’s response to the 2018/17 drought in Kenya.
Beginning in 2016, Kenya experienced a severe drought, affecting 23 of 47 counties. On the 10th of February 2017, the Government of Kenya declared a national drought emergency. Extreme conditions caused substantial loss of life, increased morbidity related to nutrition insecurity, reduced access to suitable, clean and safe drinking water and adverse effects to the national economy. In partnership, a team of consultants from GEG and CHC undertook a real time evaluation of the UNICEF’s emergency drought response programming, closely monitoring program activities throughout six counties severely impacted by the drought. Over a time period of six months, and through a combination of thorough desk review and a series of extensive field visits, the team gathered relevant and critical feedback to inform and improve the ongoing response.

The RTE methodology included monthly feedback to the UNICEF Task Force allowing them to discuss the observations and agree on action to strengthen the response in real time. A number of critical adjustments to the activities were made which significantly improved the impact. The Task Force also agreed on specific themes to explore during the next round of field work.

The RTE found that UNICEF has made progress in adapting its approaches since the previous (2011) emergency and the Nutrition section had an effective surge mechanism based on comprehensive system strengthening with county government which enabled local capacity to respond in a timely and appropriate way. Other sectors, notably WASH, responded with a conventional emergency response which was late and in some cases inappropriate. The RTE recommended that UNICEF expand its system strengthening approach to other key sectors and adopt a more risk informed approach to programming, including replicating the surge approach in all sectors.

The UNICEF Kenya office considered the RTE to be of high standard and, unusually, took time to discuss the findings and recommendations with stakeholders at national and county level. UNICEF also prepared a Management Response that accepts and proposes action to address many of the recommendations. CHC has done follow on work with different UNICEF teams to support this action.

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