Introduction to the TEC

On 23 February 2005, eight weeks after the devastating earthquake and tsunamis the previous December, a group of predominantly humanitarian agencies met in Geneva. Aware of the added value joint evaluation can bring to the humanitarian sector, their intention was to create a sectorwide, multi-agency process whereby participating agencies would collaborate on evaluations of the tsunami response in order to optimise sector learning. It was hoped that this collaboration would reduce the need for individual agency evaluations as well as duplication of effort.

Another significant intention was to focus collaborative efforts on recurring systemic problems in humanitarian action, with analysis concentrated at the policy rather than programmatic level.

In the wake of this meeting, many of the participating agencies joined together to form the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition (TEC). This independent learning and accountability initiative represents the most intensive study of a humanitarian response since the Rwanda multi-donor evaluation in the mid-1990s. It is also the first time since then that the sector has sought to scrutinise itself as a whole. The TEC is managed by a Core Management Group (CMG) of agencies and the ALNAP Secretariat (Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in humanitarian action) is the facilitating platform for the TEC.

The primary aim of the TEC is to improve the quality of humanitarian action - including the linkages to longer term recovery and development - by learning lessons from the international response to the tsunami. To optimise this learning, TEC member agencies have worked together by sponsoring five joint thematic evaluations on selected aspects of the response. It is the reports from these five studies that form the basis of the TEC's Synthesis Report.

In addition to its primary aim, the TEC has a further two aims:

  • To provide accountability to both donor and affected-country populations for the overall response: The TEC is doing this by, for example, producing a number of different reports in addition to its Synthesis Report that are suitable for public consumption, and by holding a number of evaluation feedback workshops to validate and create ownership of TEC findings.

  • Testing the TEC approach as a possible model for future joint collaborative evaluation: In order to achieve this, the TEC has already organised two learning reviews. Further reviews will be undertaken over the lifetime of the TEC.