Evidence-based Programming

The demand for evidence in the humanitarian sector is higher today than ever: it is needed to assess affected people's needs, design responses, monitor and evaluate programmes, and improve both accountability and learning.

Eastern Aleppo, Masaken Hanano district. The ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent assess the living conditions for people who decide to come back once it will be possible. Sevim Turkmani/CR SYRIE

Our evidence-based programme delivery

At the ICRC we recognise the importance of ensuring that our humanitarian programmes and responses are designed for maximum positive impact – that is that they rely on evidence, focus on outcomes, and put the people who are affected by armed conflict at their centre. We do this by developing and implementing processes that support this approach throughout the programme cycle – at the design phase, during implementation and in our assessment at the end of the programme.

As a humanitarian organisation we must demonstrate our impact and our ability to design and adapt programmes through feedback sought (and received) from affected people.

The work of our Analysis and Evidence Unit

When programmes are designed and implemented independently by different departments within our organisation, the methodologies and processes used to leverage evidence to inform such programmes are complex. It is therefore challenging to deliver a coherent multidisciplinary response when that requires making use of evidence gathered at different levels while keeping affected people at the centre of our humanitarian response. Learning from that evidence to adapt and improve our ongoing response is essential.

To respond to these needs, we have a dedicated Analysis & Evidence (A&E) Unit within our Department of Protection and Essential Services. The unit counts on expertise in strategic planning, results-based management, geospatial analysis and humanitarian information management and analysis.

The A&E Unit provides critical technical advice throughout the programme cycle in all programmatic areas, drawing on a portfolio of tools, frameworks and methodologies for each step of the cycle and each thematic area. Its work consists of assessing and analysing needs, formulating and planning programmes, monitoring key success indicators to ensure programmes are on the right track, evaluating programmes and learning from them.

The A&E Unit's vision is to enhance the quality and relevance of the ICRC's humanitarian response, diplomacy and dialogue through the use of evidence and insights to guide the organization's strategies, policies and programmes.

The mission of the A&E Unit is to promote and enable an evidence-based, outcome-oriented and people-centric programming culture, through the development, planning and implementation of methodologies, processes and frameworks that support that shift throughout the programme cycle.

Working closely with other departments and in coordination with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other partners, our A&E Unit supports all matters related to situation monitoring and early warning processes, multidisciplinary needs assessments, targeting and managing affected people, managing operational information, conducting thematic analyses, monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning.

Our strategic priorities for evidence-based programming

Strategic Priority 1: Strengthening evidence-based and outcome-oriented decision-making
Whether it is about deciding how to allocate resources to different priorities or how to best respond to a sudden-onset emergency, we follow a meticulous decision-making process. Our A&E unit helps to ensure that our efforts are focused on achieving humanitarian outcomes and are supported by the best available evidence, insights and foresight.

Strategic Priority 2: Enabling multidisciplinary, needs-based and people-centric programmes
To formulate and implement multidisciplinary, people-centric programmes, we have ways to effectively understand the dynamics between individuals, households and communities, as well as the wider environmental, institutional and infrastructure systems they are in, while at the same time incorporating affected people's perspectives and feedback across the programme cycle.

Strategic Priority 3: Promoting a culture of learning
The practice of identifying and documenting good and bad practices, and learning lessons from them, allows programme staff and management to take informed decisions, and adapt programmes and avoid unintended consequences. While ensuring the "do no harm" principle is carefully observed, we promote a culture of learning, to help strengthen accountability and programme quality.

Strategic Priority 4: Leveraging human and social capital in A&E
Our staff are our main value creators and the driving force behind our success, delivering solutions to complex issues in challenging and unpredictable environments. We leverage the human and social capital that we have built over years, and continue to strengthen our resource base, in order to deliver for the people who need our help.