NZ Red Cross

Evaluation of the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal and Recovery Programmes

An integral part of how Red Cross works internationally is its commitment to evaluation of its efforts to ensure that donor money is well spent and that ‘beneficiaries are effectively and efficiently helped’.

Following the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, Research First was commissioned to conduct a formal and independent impact-focused evaluation of the New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Recovery Programme for greater Christchurch. This Programme discharged the funds raised by the New Zealand Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, resulting in $120 million of grants and recovery programmes being funded across greater Christchurch by June 2017.  The Programme was primarily concerned with addressing how the earthquakes affected people individually and in their communities, and therefore focused on personal impacts and how those have been addressed or alleviated.

The potential impacts of participation in the research process, together with ethical considerations, were key in formulating the research design and the manner in which the evaluation was conducted.  Priority was afforded to minimising risks to engagement, both for participants and the research team through:

  • A participant focused risk management strategy with established referral links to mental health services, mediators and specific organisations and individuals linked to the recovery.
  • The establishment of an evaluation advisory group made up of evaluation experts from independent agencies across New Zealand. This group oversaw the design and application of the research to ensure it remained culturally safe and accountable as well as meeting information needs.
  • A strong focus on collaborative and open working between the client and research project teams to provide complete transparency of operations, progress, risk management and outcomes.

The evaluation involved a seven-stage mixed method data collection process, conducted between September 2016 and February 2017. This approach was designed to combine both qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights from a diverse range of stakeholder groups, including staff of NZRC, service providers and strategic delivery partners:

Stage 1 2 workshops with NZRC staff and alumni
Stage 2 Desk research
Stage 3 8 focus groups with service providers and partners
Stage 4 70 In-home interviews with recipients
Stage 5 15 community focus groups
Stage 6 Door to door and phone survey of over 3,000 Christchurch residents
Stage 7 Workshop with NZRC staff

NZRC’s CEARP had a widely experienced and deeply-felt impact on the wellbeing of greater Christchurch residents. In a survey of 3,048 people, approximately one-in-five (22%) of greater Christchurch’s residents as at February 22nd 2011 drew on NZRC assistance, with the majority of these drawing on more than one kind of assistance.

The evaluation provided many learnings around the relative impact of these initiatives for both immediate survival and longer-term recovery of the community. Strategic insights from the evaluation resulted in the adoption of a national strategy for the approach to disaster recovery. This strategy has recently been adopted by Red Cross as its global disaster response model.

Download the report here

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