Lessons of Lessons: A window into the evolution of the humanitarian sector

Alexander, J. and Kerkvliet, E.
Publication language
Date published
30 Sep 2022
Lessons papers

Monitoring and evaluation is critical for assessing performance and maintaining accountability in the humanitarian sector. For 25 years, ALNAP Lessons Papers have brought together findings and recommendations from a range of different contexts and disaster types, laying out lessons from previous responses in concise and readable ways.

This paper looks at a selection of ALNAP Lessons Papers across 20 years, aiming to identify where and how the humanitarian system has evolved over time, as well as the areas where progress has been weaker and stronger attention is still needed.

It identifies four interesting trends:

1.    Structural, system-wide themes appear more frequently in the Lessons Papers.
2.    Lessons related to technical learning showed the most change from ‘observational’ to ‘instructional’ over time.
3.    Lessons related to structural and system-wide issues don’t change has much over time, staying more ‘observational’.
4.    Lessons related to localisation and community engagement and accountability (CEA) show least progress over time.