Community focus groups
An integral part of how Red Cross works internationally is its commitment to evaluation of its efforts to ensure that donor money is well spent and that ‘beneficiaries are effectively and efficiently helped’. Following the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, Research First was commissioned to conduct a formal and independent impact-focused evaluation of the New Zealand Red Cross Earthquake Recovery Programme for greater Christchurch. This Programme discharged the funds raised by the New Zealand Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal, resulting in $120 million of grants and recovery programmes being funded across greater Christchurch by June 2017. This Programme was primarily concerned with addressing how the earthquakes affected people individually and in their communities, and therefore focused on personal impacts and how those have been addressed or alleviated.
The potential impacts of participation in the research process, together with ethical considerations, were key in formulating the research design and the manner in which the evaluation was conducted. Priority was afforded to minimising risks to engagement, both for participants and the research team.
The evaluation involved a seven-stage mixed method data collection process, conducted between September 2016 and February 2017. This approach was designed to combine both qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights from a diverse range of stakeholder groups, including staff of NZRC, service providers and strategic delivery partners.
The evaluation provided many learnings around the relative impact of these initiatives for both immediate survival and longer term recovery of the community. Strategic insights from the evaluation resulted in the adoption of national strategy for the approach to disaster recovery. This strategy has recently been adopted by Red Cross as its global disaster response model.