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Islamic Relief’s Global Covid-19 Response & Recovery Programme 2020/21 (June 7, 2021)

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The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest global health emergency in nearly a century with huge long-term consequences for the global economy. It has disrupted people’s lives, livelihoods and children’s education and is disproportionately affecting the poor and those in existing humanitarian crises, conflict zones and refugee settings in all IRW countries. IRW and its country programs launched significant response efforts to confront Covid-19’s primary and secondary impact. Initial responses were focused on short-term lifesaving needs including risk communication and community engagement (RCCE), strengthening of health systems to take care of Covid-19 affected patients, and provision of emergency food security assistance to those impacted by lockdowns. IRW also recognised the need to act on the secondary impact through livelihoods work in subsequent phases to guide a more holistic recovery effort focused on secondary impacts of Covid-19.

The global IRW response to date in both phases includes 37 projects funded by Islamic Relief USA worth over GBP 8 million and 169 projects worth over GBP 21 million by all donors across 28 countries in Asia,
Africa and Europe. The actual amount of Covid-19 work is much higher since many existing projects reallocated funds for Covid-19 related work. The biggest programs were in Yemen, South Sudan and Lebanon, which together constituted nearly one-third of the total IRW response.

The purpose of this evaluation is to map IRW global Covid-19 response and recovery programs and assess their effectiveness with reference to outcomes and outputs as well as draw lessons for future programming and preparedness. This evaluation, which was conducted over April and May 2021, is in line with IRW’s commitment to learning and accountability to communities and partners. It takes into consideration the OECD/DAC Evaluation Criteria as well as the Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) highlighted below to evaluate the quality of the interventions. An overall judgment of “satisfactory” and “needs improvement” are given on each commitment. Performance on a commitment is considered satisfactory when beneficiary satisfaction was above two-thirds for field-level commitments and where strong systems exist in case of commitments related to agency systems and processes.

To answer these questions, this evaluation covered five countries directly, including Mali, Pakistan, Sudan,
Somalia and Tunisia. The 12 projects include both Phase 1 projects focused on basic needs in the areas of WASH, health, food and protection and Phase 2 projects focused on livelihoods and income. However, most of these latter projects were still in the early phases of implementation and as such only a basic evaluation could be conducted for them. The evaluation also provides a broader picture of the overall global response based on secondary documents and a brief survey to cover the countries beyond the five mentioned above. A total of five additional countries responded to the survey that represent another 20% of the IRW Covid-19 global response. Thus, the ten countries covered directly or indirectly in this evaluation represent nearly half the IRW global response budget.

The external evaluation team consisted of a Global Team Leader and national consultants for the five countries directly covered. The team collected information through documents review, key informant interviews with IR staff and external stakeholders in government and other aid agencies, a large-scale household survey in Mali, Sudan and Somalia and a smaller one in Tunisia and focus group discussions in all countries except Tunisia. The tight evaluation duration, Ramadan, Covid-19 threat, and security issues were significant hindrances that affected field work and the ability to capture in-depth information. The main conclusions are as follows: