An evaluation by the Office of Development Effectiveness of Australia’s response to the Horn of Africa humanitarian crisis, 2011.
This report identifies many strengths of the Australian response to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa in 2011. At the time, humanitarian operations in severely affected areas were fraught with danger and were extremely difficult. Australia was a new player compared to other donors with years of experience in the region and a much larger presence on the ground. The Australian aid program responded quickly, despite limited capacity and experience in the region.
The speed and flexibility of operations were notable strengths of the Australian response. Australian funds clearly saved lives; however, the results depended on more than funds alone. Effective coordination of response efforts is a persistent challenge for the global humanitarian system. Australia’s role in influencing implementing partners and coordinating important aspects of the overall system increased the effectiveness of Australian assistance, and the overall international response.
Another clear finding is the need for funded agencies to improve reporting on activities and results. The reporting is essential for learning and to ensure informed decisions are made. The evaluation recommendations in areas such as these are designed to improve the effectiveness of Australian humanitarian assistance in the future.
Finally, the evaluation highlights the complexity of disaster situations, which are growing in number and severity and will continue to pose a challenge for Australia in their commitment to supporting humanitarian work in the Indo-Pacific.