Evaluating humanitarian action using the OECD-DAC criteria

This guide provides practical support on how to use the OECD Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC) criteria in evaluation of humanitarian action (EHA). It offers clear definitions for the OECD DAC criteria with explanations, issues to consider, and examples of good practice.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Amelie Sundberg, Neil Dillon, and Maria Gill.

Authors and their affiliation

Tony Beck

Key features

"This guide draws on good-practice material on evaluation and on EHA, including other guides, handbooks and manuals (as listed under References below). The intention was to build on rather than to replicate what already exists. It also draws on a questionnaire completed by 25 Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) Full Members, and on the work of the author on the ALNAP Review of Humanitarian Action." (ALNAP 2006, p11)


  • Thinking about EHA
    • What is the evaluation of humanitarian action?
    • What is different about EHA?
    • The use of evaluation results
  • Working with the DAC criteria
    • Relevance/appropriateness
    • Connectedness
    • Coherence
    • Efficiency Effectiveness
    • Impact
  • Options for the evaluation of humanitarian action: pointers for good practice
  • Good practice examples

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

This is an excellent tool for those looking for applied support on how to use OECD/DAC criteria in EHA. I have used it to help understand how to best apply the criteria in an evaluation where the Donor stipulated the criteria were a mandatory component of the evaluation framework. At the time, I had never used the criteria before. The paper helped me to untaggle the differences and specificities of criteria that at first glance can seem similar – such as the differences between effectiveness and impact. The list of good practice examples at the start of the paper were a great way for me to set a benchmark for quality and content.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

This guide is user-friendly and practical. Evaluation teams in the field piloted earlier versions of the guide during three humanitarian evaluations in 2004 – in Sierra Leone/Guinea, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, and the real lessons learned from those experiences have been included in this final version. 


ALNAP (2006). Evaluating humanitarian action using the OECD-DAC criteria An ALNAP guide for humanitarian agencies. London, U.K: Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Retrieved from http://www.alnap.org/pool/files/eha_2006.pdf

Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP)

'Evaluating humanitarian action using the OECD-DAC criteria' is referenced in: