Taking stock of progress

UK, 12 Oct – MapAction has just received an independent evaluation report in its work. The review was done as part of the charity’s commitments under the DFID Programme Partnership Agreement (PPA), in which MapAction receives strategic funding.

The headline findings of the review were that: MapAction is being effective in making it easier for aid agencies to make evidence-based operational and coordination decisions; that its work is judged to be conducted effectively and efficiently; and that the charity delivers value-for-money both through its volunteer capacity and its cost conscious ethos.

The independent evaluators interviewed external partners and service users and also MapAction’s own volunteers and staff. There was a high correlation between views of the organisation from outside and inside. The consultants described the feedback from users as “incredibly positive”.

Although no serious shortcomings were identified, the consultants highlighted several areas that MapAction needs to keep under review to ensure sustainability of impact. This includes its capacity building work – which began as a way to use volunteer resources in between major emergency response missions. The charity concurred with the consultants that it is important to ensure that delivery of training in GIS methods to partner agencies in developing countries ‘sticks’ and contributes to long term capacity enhancement for disaster risk reduction.

Humanitarian organisations appear to be demanding ‘more MapAction’ in a number of areas: to extend its deployments in major emergencies, to deliver more capacity building support and to accelerate its work in putting relevant new geospatial technologies into the hands of aid workers in the field. At the same time, the challenges of funding this capacity came through in the report: the charity’s total annual budget is currently less than £450,000 ($675,000) per year.

MapAction’s chief executive Nigel Woof said: “It’s gratifying that the review endorsed our overall approach and that users in the humanitarian sector value our services so highly. The review findings point towards the ‘multiplier effect’ that we have on the impact efficiency of emergency aid. The consultants felt we should be shouting this from the rooftops to attract the resources we need to extend our reach.”

The Independent Progress Review executive summary and management response can be accessed here – MapAction IPR 2012 Final Exec Summary and Management Response.