Learning from a Pandemic that Affected Everything December 2019 – December 2021

This evaluation examines the OCA’s response to the severe threat posed by Covid-19 to people everywhere, including in OCA’s offices; a threat that simultaneously jeopardised existing programming, carried the potential of a worldwide medical crisis, and disrupted core OCA habits in terms of travel, supply, transport, staffing, and security. Covid-19 thus simultaneously threatened OCA’s highly vulnerable target populations, staff, and the business continuity of the organisation. This evaluation focusses on operations and operational support as a result. Furthermore, the OCA’s response took place against the backdrop of office shutdown, staff turnover and political difficulties within the OCA, an ambitious change agenda, the composite impact of powerfully critical narratives associated with #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and efforts to “decolonise” MSF.

The evaluation is designed to identify the most important points of learning for strengthening OCA staff capacity, the OCA institution, and OCA operations in similar future scenarios. OCA was forced to adapt to a remote working environment, perhaps permanently altering the shape of its headquarters, field offices, and relationships between people and teams.

The evaluation was conducted by an external evaluation team between September 2021 and May 2023. It used a realist and participatory approach, while remaining responsive to emerging priorities and themes. A mixed methods approach for data collection and evidence generation was used and data was collected through semi-structured key informant interviews (KIIs), an online survey, participatory workshops, case studies, and a document review. Multiple data sources were analysed and used to triangulate the findings.

Conducting remote case studies allowed the evaluation team to focus remotely on five missions (Afghanistan, the Republic of South Sudan, both North Kivu and South Kivu in Democratic Republic of Congo, and Myanmar) to understand OCA’s Covid-19 response in greater depth.

Document Author(s)
Evaluators: David Curtis, Veronique de Clerck, Marc DuBois, Marcella Kraaij, Will Robertson, Charlotte Oliveira, Claire Barnhoorn
Commissioner: OCA Medical Director and OCA Operational Director
Publication date