CIVIC’s Inaugural External Evaluation Finds Program “Saved Civilian Lives”
As a part of its Evaluation Policy, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has committed to conducting a final project evaluation for as many of its projects as possible. An important part of this policy is CIVIC’s emphasis on transparency and accountability in its work. One of the ways CIVIC is operationalizing this commitment is by publicly sharing evaluation reports.
CIVIC’s first external program evaluation examined the program “Promoting the Protection of Civilians in Conflict in Afghanistan and UN Peacekeeping Operations,” funded by the Netherland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs for the period of June 2019 – May 2022. This project spans two very distinct conceptual areas of work – national protection of civilians policy and practice and protection in the context of UN peacekeeping- and a broad geographic scope. The program promotes the protection of civilians through adaptations to national policy and practice and community-based protection projects in Afghanistan, and in changes to policy and practice in Peacekeeping Operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Mali, and South Sudan. This mid-term evaluation covered the start of the program (June 2019) to mid-term (November 2020) and assessed progress made toward improved protection of civilians.
The authors of the evaluation noted that:
“An overarching finding of this evaluation is that direct engagement with policymakers and armed actors, as well as affected communities can yield life-saving results. Civilian harm can be prevented, minimized, and remedied. Lives have been saved that otherwise would have been lost because of CIVIC’s efforts.”
Findings from external evaluations contribute to the evidence base for CIVIC’s work, demonstrating that civilian casualties are not an unavoidable cost of conflict.
The findings of this external evaluation are a key step toward providing concrete data of CIVIC’s progress towards its five-year goal – bringing about a significant reduction in conflict-related civilian harm. As CIVIC grows as an organization, expands its MEL capacity, and conducts more evaluations, more lessons learned will be collected to continuously improve our ability to evaluate programs in support of learning and building the evidence base for CIVIC’s activities, tools, and approaches. These programmatic and process lessons learned will improve both CIVIC’s work and the evaluation process.
Follwing a competitive proposal process, the evaluation team was selected by CIVIC based on their evaluation experience, on-the-ground presence in several program locations (enabling primary data collection), proposed technical approach, and cost. The evaluation team was composed of seven members: Dr. Conor Foley (team lead), Dr. Cecilia Deme (co-team lead), Dr. Friedarike Santer, Horia Mosadiq, Syed Kazim Baqeri, Richie Lontulungu, and Gina Matalatala. The evaluation used a mixed methods approach and included primary data collection via key informant interviews and focus group discussions, review of internal and external project documents, and review of external literature.
You can find the evaluation report here, which includes the evaluation questions, methodology, findings, emerging best practices, and recommendations.
Note: In August 2021, Taliban forces rapidly took control of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of United States military forces. CIVIC worked for over a month to evacuate our Afghanistan staff to a third country for resettlement. As of September 2021, CIVIC suspended activities inside Afghanistan. We remain deeply committed to continuing to support Afghan civilians, who face dire humanitarian protection challenges. We continue to undertake private and public advocacy in support of Afghan civilians as we work to determine whether and how to pursue future programming with civilians in Afghanistan.