How a systematic review and continued stakeholder engagement can lead to a theory of change relevant to the aid sector




Poster session 2


Monday 17 September 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00

All authors in correct order:

Vanhove A1, De Buck E2, Vandekerckhove P3
1 Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Belgian Red Cross, Belgium
2 Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Belgian Red Cross, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven, Belgium
3 Belgian Red Cross, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Anne-Catherine Vanhove

Contact person:

Abstract text
The Centre for Evidence-Based Practice provides evidence-based substantiation of the activities of the Belgian Red Cross. One of the activities in international humanitarian assistance is Forecast-based Financing (FbF). Many recent natural disasters had been forecasted before they caused damage, but humanitarian aid mostly still arrives only after the impact of the disaster becomes clear. FbF aims to bridge the gap between forecast and action by releasing funds based on forecast information for 'early actions' taking place in the three to five days before the disaster hits, to lower the impact of the disaster.

We aim to establish an evidence base for the identification of early actions for an FbF project in Mozambique by conducting a review of the existing evidence and developing a theory of change (ToC). A ToC is a valuable tool for the aid sector, which is used to develop a shared understanding of how interventions might work and how change will happen in a programme.

While gathering the scientific evidence by conducting a systematic literature search, methodologists collaborated with several experts and practitioners. Finally, an overarching ToC was constructed by the methodologists, which was refined through stakeholder engagement (FbF experts, policy-makers and practitioners/end users in Mozambique from, for example, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Mozambique Red Cross Society).

To identify the available evidence on the efficiency and factors affecting the implementation of potential early actions for floods and cyclones in Mozambique, systematic literature searches were performed in several databases (MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Social Sciences Citation Index, 3ie Impact Evaluation Database, the Campbell Library). The ToC developed by the methodologists was further refined during a stakeholder meeting in June/July 2018. Selected early actions will be implemented in the FbF approach in Mozambique and the ToC will provide a framework for the evaluation of these early actions.

Conducting a review of the existing evidence provides a solid base for the construction of a ToC, which can be refined based on stakeholder input.

Stakeholder involvement:
Continuous stakeholder engagement ensures the resulting ToC is relevant for practice and creates a sense of ownership and stakeholder buy-in.

Relevance to patients and consumers: 

The growing capabilities to forecast natural disasters open up a window of 3-5 days before a disaster causes damage in which “early actions” could be undertaken to minimize the impacts of the disaster on the population. The identification of effective early actions for floods and cyclones in Mozambique has been highlighted as an area in need of substantiation by local practitioners and experts in the field.