Malawi is highly exposed to natural disasters, such as floods and droughts. Available records indicate that the country has experienced about 20 droughts in the last 100 years. Impact, frequency and spread of droughts in Malawi have considerably intensified over the past decades and are likely to worsen with climate change. Other factors, such as population growth and environmental degradation aggravate this situation (WB, EU, UN 2016).
In 2015/2016, erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells across most parts of the country led to the driest period in the past 35 years. A delayed start of the 2015-16 agricultural season by two to four weeks, and below average rainfall during November and December 2015, caused severe crop failure in the Southern and Central Region of the country. The Government of Malawi declared a state of disaster in April 2016.
In response to the crisis the Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS), with support from the Swiss Red Cross supported 13 pre- and primary schools through a school feeding program running for 8 months. The overall objective of the project was to reduce prevalence of acute malnutrition in the target area and mitigate the effects of food insecurity among the most vulnerable people (children) affected by the drought. A small video clip tells more about the project: http://www.srf.ch/sendungen/mitenand/besser-lernen-mit-vollem-magen
The evaluation, commissioned by Swiss Red Cross, wasan external, final or summative assessment that sought to provide information on the project goal achievements and impact. At the same time, it served a formative purpose, as lessons learnt and recommendations will provided the Project Management with an information base for decision making with regards to potential follow-up projects.
Consequently, the evaluation served three main objectives:
- Promote accountability with regards to the achieved outputs and outcomes towards (future) donors, target groups and the wider public.
- Generate internal learning effects on organizational level, by enhancing joint learning for all involved staff and volunteers, and thus
- Provide the Project Management with a base for planning and decision making regarding a potential continuation/expansion of activities.