Although a number of evaluations of international assistance in complex emergencies have been carried out, experience from the planning and execution of large scale aid for relief and rehabilitation has not been extensively documented and assessed. Those that have been undertaken have invariably been limited in their scope, focusing only on the actions of a particular donor organisation or relief agency and concentrating on the effectiveness with which the assistance was provided, rather than the political, diplomatic aid and management in the period leading up to the crisis.

Recognising the magnitude of the Rwanda emergency and the implications of complex emergencies for constricted aid budgets, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its development cooperation wing, DANIDA, proposed a Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance to Rwanda. The initiative resulted in the launching of an unprecedented multinational, multi-donor evaluation effort, with the formation of a Steering Committee, at a consultative meeting of international agencies and NGOs held in Copenhagen in November 1994. This Committee was composed of representatives from 19 OECD-member bilateral donor agencies, plus the European Union and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD; nine multilateral agencies and UN units; the two components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (ICRC and IFRC); and five international NGOs.

The main objective of the Evaluation was to draw lessons from the Rwanda experience, relevant for future complex emergencies as well as for current operations in Rwanda and the region, such as early warning and conflict management, the preparation for and provision of emergency assistance (which is the focus of Study III’s work and the subject of this Network Paper), and the transition from relief to rehabilitation and development.

In view of the issues to be evaluated, four separate studies were contracted to different institutions and individuals:

Study I: Historical Perspective: Some Explanatory Factors (Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden)

Study II: Early Warning and Conflict Management Chr. Michelsen Institute (Bergen, Norway and York University, Toronto,Canada)

Study III: Humanitarian Aid and Effects (ODI, London, UK)

Study IV: Rebuilding Post Genocide Rwanda (USAID, Development Alternatives Inc, Refugee Policy Group, Washington DC.


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