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Evaluation of Danish Engagement in and around Somalia

Itad evaluated Danida's overall engagement with, and the relevance and effectiveness of, its activities to support peace and development in Somalia.


Denmark has been pursuing a policy of increasingly active engagement in and around Somalia since 1997.

Its engagement has included support to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) through the Regions of Origin (ROI) programme, humanitarian support, support to recovery and development, and political engagement through donor coordination and support for regional organisations involved in the region. The overall aim of this engagement has been to support the development of a peaceful and democratic state, and thereby foster sustainable and poverty-oriented growth. Danida’s Evaluation Department commissioned Itad to evaluate its overall engagement and assess the relevance and effectiveness of its activities, as well as identify lessons to improve future Danish support to peace and development in Somalia.

Our approach

This evaluation was led by Itad in association with Law and Development Partnership, and was carried out by a team of three international and two national/regional consultants between September 2010 and July 2011. Our approach consisted of a number of analytical tools. We used context analysis to capture and analyse key events over the evaluation period; policy analysis to identify Danida’s theories of change i.e. the underlying assumptions about how to bring about the necessary changes to achieve peace and socio-economic development in Somalia. As well as meeting with Danida in Copenhagen, our team visited Nairobi, Somaliland, Puntland, North-Eastern Kenya and Addis Ababa to collect data in two successive field visits in November and December 2010. We encountered a number of evaluation constraints, typical of working in a fragile context, such as very limited reliable and long-term quantitative data, and limited scope for independent monitoring due to unacceptable security risks. As a result, our evaluation team were not able to visit South Central Somalia.


Our evaluation found that Danida had achieved a remarkable level and range of engagement over the evaluation period. It had made sustained efforts to extend its assistance to each of the three Somalia zones and remained committed to make aid more effective. However, donor coordination in Somalia was by and large onerous as well as limited on the ground. Sustainability was also a long way off: local partners were yet to be empowered to take on more responsibility, whereas management of community-driven projects remained firmly in the hands of the implementing partners.

Supporting federal Somalia appeared increasingly unrealistic and unsustainable, as more promising results were found in the post-conflict environment of Somaliland, and to a lesser extent, Puntland. Danida’s main strengths over the evaluation period were its whole of government approach, its flexibility and quality of partnerships. Danida’s main weaknesses were its lack of country-led strategy, low capacity on the ground, and lack of transparency.

Read the evaluation report.