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Tsunami appeal 2004: 10 years on – an impact evaluation

December 2014 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Asian seaquake. Swiss Solidarity is marking it by organizing for the first time a broad-based impact evaluation of the aid brought to the victims of the devastating tsunami. Just short of 200 aid projects amounting to almost 217 million francs have been co-funded since the launch of the largest donation appeal in Swiss Solidarity’s history. Independent experts in three countries are currently analysing how this contribution has shaped the lives of those affected by the disaster.

In contrast to previous assessments, the prime objective of this wide-ranging impact evaluation is to examine whether the aid recipients have gained a foothold in their new environment, whether a positive momentum has developed in the villages and what influence the aid projects have had on today’s socio-economic factors. Managing Director Tony Burgener speaks of an innovative approach: “Impact evaluations of humanitarian projects have been rare to date. One objective of our evaluation therefore is to identify whether this approach can lead to decisive results.”

Between April and September, independent experts from the renowned Belgian consultancy Channel Research are conducting the evaluation in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka on behalf of the 13 countries affected by the tsunami. Its conclusions will be published at the beginning of December.

Information and knowledge exchange
Within the framework of the evaluation, Swiss Solidarity aims to inform its donors about the use and impact of the funds donated. The public was last extensively informed about the appeal in 2009 with the publication of a free “Merci” newspaper. The foundation intends to again provide comprehensive details based on the 2014 impact evaluation marking the tenth anniversary of the tsunami.

Since 2005, independent experts have carried out several assessments during the reconstruction and rehabilitation phases. Swiss Solidarity does not just wish to be acknowledged as a competent, conscientious and transparent donor with this evaluation, but also seeks to demonstrate that the foundation acts as a catalyst for knowledge exchange among the parties involved in humanitarian relief, through the work of its Swiss partner relief organizations, the independent assessment of delivered aid and the related information provided (as in Haiti in January 2014).

Asia Seaquake 2004 – background information:
In the morning hours of 26 December 2004, a 9.1-magnitude seaquake in Southeast Asia triggered several tidal surges (tsunamis) which had catastrophic consequences in 13 countries. Almost 15 million people were affected and 2 million left homeless. The tsunami disaster generated a hitherto unprecedented wave of global solidarity. In Switzerland, some 300 million francs were donated – 227.7 million francs to the Swiss Solidarity appeal alone.