Very soon after the earthquake of January 2010, having carried out two iterative evaluations, Groupe URD began thinking about the possibility of setting up an Observatory of humanitarian and reconstruction aid. With a “tsunami of evaluators” arriving in the Pearl of the Antilles, we felt that the role of the Observatory should be to increase the sharing of lessons from evaluations, explore issues raised by the evaluations in more detail, and help to promote a culture of evaluation and quality.
Having been presented at the Evaluation Task Force in London in May 2010, and having received support from ALNAP, the OECD Evaluation Network and the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG), the idea gradually took shape and the Observatory officially opened its doors in September 2012.
Since then, a trilingual website (in French, English and Creole) has been created, fourteen newsletters have been published and there have been numerous studies, thematic discussion workshops and training courses. With the Observatory closing its doors, there is both pride in what we have achieved and frustration that we were unable to do more and that we are unable to continue despite the fact that Haiti still faces an uncertain future.
A huge thanks to the team who ran the Observatory and to those who contributed to its activities: aid organisations, Haitian institutions and the donors who supported us (DG ECHO, DFID, IrishAid and OFDA/USAID). Groupe URD will of course continue a certain number of activities in Haiti depending on the resources that can be mobilized, and we will do our best to continue to support our Haitian friends in the future.