Archive for February, 2013

From Katy, Standing Team Coordinator

In early 2011 when I joined the ECB inter-agency Accountability & Impact Measurement Standing Team as the coordinator, I honestly had no idea what kind of experience I was in for. I was passionate about accountability to beneficiaries. I had learned about the original ECB Standing Team from 2007. I had served on CARE’s internal Quality & Accountability team. I knew the team had the support of the AIM Advisers, who were each organization’s champions for accountability. And the Standing Team ‘experiment’ seemed to present an incredible and rare opportunity.

But I also knew that what lay ahead of us would be hard. We would be forming a large, inter-agency team of accountability specialists from six agencies. These people would not know each other (with very few exceptions). We all spoke different languages and came from all over the world. Some of us were very experienced accountability practitioners and others were just starting out. Some were senior staff, others more junior. Most were humanitarian workers but some came from the development side of their organizations. Before the first workshop, many of us had never traveled beyond our own country.

I am happy to say that the last two years have gone well beyond my expectations. The journey has been a beautiful one.  Together, with our Standing Team members, our field ‘clients’ who requested our services, our AIM Adviser champions, and our sector partners, I can confidently say we have met the expectations and goals we originally set out for ourselves.

We held three incredible face-to-face learning workshops. The first two, Accountability Fundamentals and Joint Evaluations, were held in 2011 to prepare the team for deployments. These focused on building a common understanding of accountability principles and frameworks, understanding AIM tools, developing deployment protocols, and committing to documenting our learning. The last workshop was held to document and learn from our experiences individually, as agencies, and as a team, to review and interrogate our model, and to consider options for the future.

We developed two amazing tools: the Standing Team toolkit and the Good Enough Guide Training of Trainers module.  The toolkit houses an extensive number of top notch tools and resources from agencies and sector networks on “how to’s”, including case studies and practical experience. The Good Enough Guide Training of Trainers module is part of a suite of tools to help agencies to implement accountable systems and create accountable practices and ways of operating.

We committed to four deployments this year. We exceeded that goal! We facilitated eight deployments to six countries (two to Bangladesh and Bolivia, one to Nepal, Niger, the Horn of Africa, and Indonesia). Deployments often helped country offices to identify accountability gaps and put action plans into place. Others were to facilitate trainings on accountability. These deployments were generally very well received, and several of our clients cited the team’s deployment as one of the most significant experiences for their consortia.

We created a fantastic deployable team of 30 accountability champions from six agencies. This is the achievement I am most proud of! We have all grown so much in our understanding of accountability thanks to these deployments, where we served our colleagues in country offices. These have been well recorded in reports (posted to the ECB website) and in our blog here.

The future of the team is unknown as of now. But at this point, I believe we have a solid base of evidence on what has worked well and what could be modified to improved the model.

I have very much enjoyed getting to know the team members from around the world. I have learned so much about complaints & feedback systems all over the world.

In closing—I thank you, accountability champions, for making the Standing Team an incredible experiment!


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From Sarah, co-Standing Team coordinator

It has been a few weeks since I left the ECB Project and my work with the Standing Team, but certainly not too late to offer reflections on my experience and thanks to my colleagues.

My work with the ECB AIM Standing Team was a tremendous growth experience for me.  I learned so much from the inspiring work being done by the Standing Team members, which I will carry forward.  While I gained a great deal of knowledge on the successes and challenges of implementing accountability systems, the lessons I will hold closest go beyond these technical details of accountability systems.

One of the aspects of the Standing Team that I valued the most was the fact that it brought together professionals from a variety of geographic locations, with different backgrounds and varying levels of experience. I learned during our Nepal workshop that when new energy and perspectives are combined with years of practice, the outcomes can be exciting and unexpected. I learned how much our programs can be improved when we share our experiences across agencies and across cultures.  I learned that the keys to real collaboration are patience and a truly open mind. Finally, I learned that, when working across the world, as our agencies do, face-to-face meetings (though costly) are incredibly valuable for meaningful dialogue, building camaraderie, increasing motivation, and reaching common understandings!

Thank you to all of the Standing Team members and my ECB colleagues for teaching me so much. I am extremely grateful.  Best of luck!  And don’t forget to use the AIM Standing Team Toolkit!

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