The following good practices were distilled from a recent Real Time
Evaluation (RTE)1 of an emergency project in Niger implemented by
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and financed by OFDA that is using cash
for work and seed fairs to address food insecurity in the departments of
Ouallam and TIllabery.
What is an RTE?
An RTE is an internal rapid review carried out early on in an
emergency response (usually between six to eight weeks after
the onset of the emergency, depending on the scale of the
emergency). It helps to identify what is being done, what is
working, what is not working, and what needs to change to
improve the appropriateness and effectiveness of the emergency
response program. An RTE looks at where the response is at
a given point in time and provides an opportunity for staff to
step back and reflect on an emergency response. It is used to
gain quick feedback on operational performance and identify
systemic problems. Ultimately it is intended to ensure that a CRS
emergency response benefits disaster affected people.
This is part of a larger effort to respond to the Sahel Crisis in which
below-average rainfall and crop production shortages in 2011 have
resulted in reduced food and livestock fodder availability and increasing
environmental degradation. Lack of ground cover increases erosion
and environmentally negative coping strategies are used to compensate
for lack of production and livestock. Many vulnerable families are still
recovering from the 2009/2010 food crisis. Cash for Work projects are
especially important now before households’ own livelihoods/agriculture
We arrived at these good practices by responding to evaluation questions
posed to the RTE team by project managers. Our responses were
informed by the 2011 SPHERE standards2, document review, observation,
interviews and focus groups with project participants, community leaders
and key informants. We hope this document will reinforce familiar good
practices as well as highlight new ones.
2 SPHERE Project, Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards on Humanitarian
Response, 2011 Edition.