Real-time evaluations of humanitarian action - an ALNAP Guide (pilot version)

This guide helps evaluation managers to commission and oversee, and team leaders to conduct, Real-time evaluations (RTEs) of humanitarian operational responses.

A RTE is a rapid participatory exercise carried out during the early stages of a humanitarian response. RTEs differ from other forms of evaluation because their products are intended to be used in real-time.

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

Authors and their affiliation

  • Ben Ramalingam, at the time of writing he was the Head of Research at ALNAP and now he is an independent consultant.  
  • Tony Beck

Key features

Drawing on a synthesis of existing good practices, this guide sets out a flexible approach that can be adapted to a variety of contexts. While it concentrates on the particular problems posed by RTEs undertaken within a few months of the start of an emergency response, it addresses how such RTEs can also feed into on-going operations. While the guide focuses on RTEs, some of the advice applies to all evaluations. 

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

I found this guide particularly useful because it provides tools, techniques and checklists that are designed to help evaluators and evaluation managers to work through their respective steps in an RTE. It is therefore practical and manageable. For example, I have referred to the guide to suggest potential tools for RTEs to peers in M&E.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

The guidance is helpfully organised into chapters dedicated to specific types of users (such as evaluation managers and evaluation teams), so that the reader can quickly navigate to the most relevant part. I would recommend reading the summary of key considerations and challenges that should be incorporated into an RTE. 


ALNAP (2009) Real-time Evaluations of Humanitarian Action - an ALNAP Guide. Pilot Version. London: ALNAP/ODI. Retrieved from:

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