We often hear that measuring the impact of protection interventions is too difficult or even impossible. This perception is reflected in the fact that there are very few publications on evaluating protection in humanitarian action. One underlying challenge is that different organizations define protection in various ways, whether as specific activities, an approach or lens, or as a goal or objective of humanitarian action.
At its core, this reflects a fundamental definitional problem for protection work
Furthermore, protection evaluators are faced with several other challenges, including variation in protection approaches, understanding cause-effect relationships, and collecting sensitive data. After a nearly two-year pilot, ALNAP’s new guide, Evaluation of Protection in Humanitarian Action published on October 25, 2018, is intended for evaluators and relevant staff working in protection or more generalist positions, and seeks to address these and other challenges.
The guide is divided into 3 key arts: (1) Initiating the evaluation of protection, (2) Data management, and (3) Analysis. Useful toolkits are included as well. A great deal of critical questions are addressed , including scoping of protection evaluations and questions related to results that are beyond the control of the organization’s intervention; the use of proxy indicators and others for hard-to-measure issues; and questions related to collecting and managing sensitive data.
Analysis of protection risks and needs in a given context may be driven more by institutional worldviews or prevailing policy narratives than by deep contextual knowledge, thus skewing the assumptions underpinning programming.
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