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Review of the humanitarian response to the 2016/17 drought in the Horn of Africa for the European Commission
May-September 2018

Groupe URD and ODI have been asked by DG ECHO to carry out a lesson learning exercise on the humanitarian response to the 2016/17 drought in the Horn of Africa by comparing it to the response to similar crises that have affected the area in the recent past. The aim will be to establish how the humanitarian system and DG ECHO-funded responses have evolved over time and whether this has led to a better response to humanitarian crises in the region.

This project has been requested by the European Commission (DG ECHO) in connection with the work of the INSPIRE Consortium. The objective is to identify 1) whether the response has been more effective in 2016-17 compared to 2010-11 and why?, and 2) how ECHO has contributed to this. The countries of the Horn of Africa are regularly affected by episodes of drought and poor harvests, as well as conflicts, insecurity and economic shocks affecting the most vulnerable and increasing humanitarian needs. A combination of the consequences of climate change, environmental damage and other factors have caused phases of drought that have had a serious impact on the population, as in 2005-06, then 2010-11, and recently 2016-17.

The overall objective of the work is to identify if, why and how the humanitarian community’s response to the drought can be considered better in 2016-17 compared to 2010-11.

The aim will then be to focus on the strategic orientations of the operations funded by ECHO in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in 2016-17, in order to underline their strengths and weaknesses and provide guidance for ECHO’s future drought-related programming.

The review is therefore being carried out for ECHO, but also more generally for its partners and the sector as a whole who will be able to apply the lessons learned in their future programmes.

Concretely, the project aims to:

  • Analyse performance factors to allow actors to reflect on what happened and why;
  • Document good practices, successes and challenges, with a view to identifying what needs to be changed in order to support organisational forces and improve ECHO’s drought-related programming;
  • Promote lessons learned in order to improve operational procedures, structures and ECHO policies, and make recommendations for country offices and headquarters.

This strategic lesson learning exercise is being carried out by Groupe URD in partnership with ODI as part of the INSPIRE Consortium. Field visits are planned in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.