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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Disaster Interventions and the Need for Evaluation, Accountability and Learning. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds Sameea, like many others escaped from the war with her mum and siblings. Running for days with nothing to eat they finally arrived at the camp with other families. She immediately looked around for a school because she enjoyed learning and she wanted her life back. But when it rained the school roof leaked. School toilets got blocked so they could not wash before prayers. She witnessed her friends getting sick and, as if that wasn’t enough, their school books fell apart when they tried to do their homework. Just like Sameea, nine out of ten Syrian refugees arriving in neighboring countries receive aid, but only three in ten of them found it useful. Too often aid money is misspent and community needs are ignored.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second When we stop being accountable we cause more problems than expected and people exposed to disasters continue to suffer. As humanitarians we need to be accountable in everything we do. Accountability is responsibility. It is connecting with the community. It means no one gets left behind. When we respond to disasters we are not rescuing countless people we are working for a community. This is why we need disaster interventions, evaluation and learning. This module will focus you on essential ethics, honesty and transparency in all your interventions.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds We will show you that through good connections with community leaders, such as teachers, doctors, religious people, you can develop feedback and complaints system for communities to tell you what they think of your work and what they really need. We will cover essential frameworks for designing and implementing projects. We will learn how to measure the relevance and effectiveness of our work and to account for situation changes and we will look at accurate data gathering so you can translate good information into great policy and make it flow from the senior manager to your organisation’s grass roots. For Sameea and her family just getting away from the war was hard enough.

Skip to 2 minutes and 28 seconds Having aid organisations that cut corners and did not listen to them just made things worse.

The big question

Welcome to Disaster Interventions and the Need for Evaluation, Accountability and Learning.

In this course, we’re going to consider disaster interventions by looking at the organisations involved and the people who work in them, and what they do to deliver effective, professional interventions in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian situations.

Your task

Let’s start by considering a question which is fundamental to this course: what does evaluation and learning have to do with disaster interventions?

It might seem like there’s an obvious answer: it will improve things. But in what way can evaluation and learning help? Have a think about how and why it’s important when governments, development and humanitarian agencies respond to risks and disasters.

It might help you to think about a disaster-affected location you’ve read about in the news, or to draw on an example from your professional life. What role does evaluation play? What should be evaluated? How important is evaluation?

Share your ideas in the comments section below. Don’t be afraid to make use of other comments as inspiration and respond to your fellow learners.

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This video is from the free online course:

Disaster Interventions and the Need for Evaluation, Accountability and Learning

Coventry University