Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Feedback’ Category

Standing team members Hugh Earp (ECB Project) and Angela Rouse (CARE International) recently attended a talk on communication technology and accountability to crisis-affected populations. The event profiled two projects funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund which aim to improve NGO accountability to communities in crisis through the use of innovative communication technology.  Here, Angela gives a little background on the complaints mechanism that DRC is using in Somalia.

Piloting Accountability Systems for Humanitarian Aid in Somalia

In Somalia the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) is seeking to address accountability in the context of remote management so as to enable meaningful beneficiary participation and strengthen the demand-side of local level governance and community-based organisations.  The organisation is using mobile phones, internet, on-line communities and social media to collect feedback from communities, all of which are mapped using the Ushahidi platform, first used to map reports of election violence in Kenya in 2010.  Community members are able to send a text message using their mobile phone with any feedback or complaint on DRC’s activities.  This text is payable at the normal, local rate which seems not to be a barrier to submitting an issue.  The SMS is received and reviewed by a dashboard administrator, who removes any identifying information for confidentiality purposes and posts the message to the map.  Have a look at the map here.  You can zoom in and then review complaints by location.   For example, on 19 March 2012 the complaint illustrated below was submitted – you will see the location mapped, the original complaint and the translation and – importantly – the follow up that was made in response.  Thinking back on tool 12 of the Good Enough Guide you’ll see this system ticks many boxes:

  • it is an accessible system provided you have access to a mobile, although there are also other ways in which complaints can be submitted, such as through agency staff
  • complaints are handled in a clear, systematic way that ensure each complaint receives a response and appropriate action
  • the complainant receives a text message confirming receipt of the complaint
  • it allows tracking of whether the complaint has been investigated and acted upon, or whether it is still pending
  • it helps to promote consistency: ensuring similar complaints receive a similar response
  • confidentiality is ensured
  • it allows learning: statistics and trends can be tracked and can inform future approaches and programming.

SMS feedback

More information on this project can be found here.

The second project that was presented was around using the radio to communicate with communities in an interactive way in Haiti.  Read more about it here: Mobile technology – listening to the voice of Haitians.

Advertisement

Read Full Post »

This blog post was submitted by Mariane Mathia, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer with CRS Jerusalem.  After discovering that accountability was being implemented across programs, but not in a unified manner, Mariane collected the following information, used it to conduct an internal workshop, and is now helping to implement an accountability strategy across all departments. Thank you Mariane for sharing your experience!

There are four simple steps to ensure accountability (the 4 Cs!):

1. Count: This step focuses on basic tracking of inputs and outputs through routine project control systems. These may include distribution records, warehouse registers, cash-for-work records, etc. They assure that the beneficiaries received the intended goods or services of the project or intervention.

2. Check: This step focuses on verification of content and process with the beneficiaries. It is about checking whether the outputs are appropriate and relevant and whether they will be effectively utilized per the intended purpose.

3. Change: This step focuses on improving interventions based on counts and checks, the intervention may need to be changed or adapted. The information should be reviewed by staff with program decisions made accordingly.

4. Communicate: This step focuses on consistent exchange of information. Consider the range of information needed by multiple stakeholders for timely information for decision making, and the importance of the accuracy of information. Both good and bad news should be delivered with the source of information, and an explanation if it is incomplete. Communication should be extensive and consistent with beneficiaries (men and women, old and young, different social and ethnic groups), government, other agencies, and donors throughout the life of the project.

Banner displayed at a CRS event

Means of Communication

At every CRS activity a banner is placed with information about CRS, its vision, mission and objectives. The information is presented in clear language (Arabic and English), formats, and media (announcements, flyers, etc.) in order to provide beneficiaries with timely, relevant and clear information.

Opportunities for involvement: Dates and locations of distributions are announced in city councils, mosques, and municipalities. On every distribution site a flyer is posted with contact information for beneficiaries to call if they have any complaints, questions, or comments about the distribution process.

In line to provide feedback at a CRS office

Dealing with complaints: Beneficiaries complain either by phone or come to the office. The Head of office or CRS coordinator asks them to fill a complaint form. The forms are studied and investigated with head of office in order to resolve such problems as complaints about a distributor, unavailable goods in distribution points, increasing prices, or bias in the distribution cycle.

Beneficiary Satisfaction: Beneficiaries are involved by filling the Beneficiary Satisfaction Forms during or after distributions. The form utilized in the surveying process gathers feedback from beneficiaries on the aid distribution, selection of beneficiaries, compatibility of the distribution points, treatment of beneficiaries during distribution, and the level of satisfaction of the commodities received. The information is used to inform the M&E Satisfaction Report. This report allows CRS to analyze beneficiary feedback to make appropriate changes to the intervention to improve the delivery of goods and services.

Read Full Post »

Horn of Africa crisis: Food security situation (November-December 2011). Source: UNCS, FEWS NET, FSNAU, FAO, OCHA.

The drought in East Africa has affected an estimated 10 million people.  In July 2011, People in Aid, the Sphere Project, and HAP International called for greater quality and accountability in this response.  Under the umbrella of the Joint Standards Initiative (JSI), the three initiatives deployed to the Horn of Africa for nine weeks in order to support and advocate for quality and accountability in the humanitarian response, document strengths and gaps, and share good practices regionally, as well as globally.

The final report on this initiative raises important issues regarding not only the response in the Horn, but, when considered alongside similar findings from deployments to Haiti and Pakistan, issues pertaining to the state of global humanitarian response.  The most clear and critical overall finding?  There is a general need for better engagement with affected populations throughout the project cycle. 

Specific findings include:

  • The need to create special measures to access vulnerable groups
  • The need for a rights-based approach and ensuring that beneficiaries understand their rights and can hold organizations accountable for their actions. 
  • The importance of community-wide participation
  • Building resilience into program design
  • The need for coordination and collaboration in order to prevent duplication and uneven distribution of aid
  • Recruitment, staff management, and increased contextual knowledge of staff (and how the lack of contextual knowledge is a major barrier of accountability towards affected communities) continue to be issues
  • Establishment and awareness of complaint and response mechanisms

As evidenced in this report, there is still a lot of work to be done.  Interestingly enough, the report states that “most staff from HAP’s membership and People In Aid’s membership were unaware of the Standards and had not been made of aware of their organizations accountability commitments” (page 10 ).  Effectively engaging with communities throughout the project cycle is of paramount importance.  The Standing Team’s assistance in implementing accountability and impact measurement initiatives is critically important as we ensure higher quality humanitarian response globally. 

Please take a look at the Joint Standards Initiative report and let us know your thoughts!

Read Full Post »

Last year, Tearfund embarked on a 6 month research project, funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, to explore accountability in remotely managed projects.  Stakeholders from INGOs, NGOs, UN agencies, donors and research organizations participated, producing the report Monitoring and accountability practices for remotely managed projects implemented in volatile operating environments.

Remote management approaches are becoming increasingly common in humanitarian operations.  Though many publications have covered this subject, research found that “there was limited evidence that creative processes had been applied to considering accountability through the lens of remote management.”  This report highlights several key areas in which more attention is needed; with many examples of good practices featured as well. 

 

Apparent, however, was that often this good practice was confined to individual organisations rather than its being shared more widely to promote learning and best practice. A significant portion of the information required is already out there; the challenge is to ensure that this good practice is shared and communicated in a way that it is practical and realistic.

Key Issues Identified

Decrease in program quality – Weak technical oversight – Poor communication between offices – Increased fraud and corruption – Inaccurate data – Limited capacity of personnel – Irregular access to beneficiaries – Increased security threats – Increased political/social pressure on local staff

Recommendations

Key recommendations fell into six different categories: establishing and delivering on commitments, staff competency, sharing information, participation, beneficiary feedback and complaints handling, and learning and continual improvement.  These recommendations included the following:

1.) Establish a beneficiary accountability focal person at the program head office and the local project office, and initiate a beneficiary accountability working group at a regional and/or country level, with local staff participation.  Ensure that there is sufficient time and preparation to develop contextually appropriate beneficiary accountability approaches for the remotely managed project.

2.) Increase resources for internal and external training, develop training programs to promote beneficiary accountability specific to the remote management context, and provide adequate follow-up after training.   Staff capacity is a significant issue for remotely managed projects.  The report states,

Staff capacity issues were often worse in remote management situations where senior programme staff were not based with local staff and could not provide day-to-day mentoring and capacity building opportunities. Staff training workshops represent an additional expense, requiring trainers to travel to the project location (which is not always possible in insecure environments), or requiring project staff to travel elsewhere for training.

Those programs, however, that switched from direct management to remote management were found to be better implemented, because training was done before the program head office was moved. 

3.) Provide regular opportunities for local staff to present findings related to beneficiary accountability practice (e.g. methods that work particularly well) to senior program management.

4.) Develop additional structures within the community to promote beneficiary participation.  Also, ensure that agreement is reached between senior management and local staff on the content of information shared with beneficiaries about project activities and safe and practical means of sharing this information.  Additionally, as in any humanitarian intervention, it is critical to develop complaint and response mechanisms.  In remote management situations, it is particularly important to make certain that this feedback and reporting system is supported by third-party verification (e.g. visits by senior national personnel; peer monitoring by other agencies; meetings at a secure location between beneficiary representatives and senior expatriate personnel).

5.) Consider whether it is practical and appropriate to meet with beneficiaries outside of a project implementation area, as remote meetings could involve significant risk.  In addition, conducting such meetings could lead to contact only with beneficiaries who are not necessarily representative of the wider beneficiary group.

These are just a few highlights.  We encourage you to read the entire report here for more information!

Read Full Post »

Standing Team member Emmanuel, World Vision’s Accountability, Monitoring and Evaluations Officer, brought to our attention this interesting accountability project featured in April on infoasaid.org

Through a sponsored 45 minute weekly show on local radio station Anguo FM and via messages sent to mobile telephones, communities are relayed information on issues ranging from how to spot signs of malnutrition in children to prices of livestock in the main local markets to a description of content on the latest food aid package along with date of delivery.

Emmanuel live on the radio!

When we spoke with Emmanuel, he stated that hosting this radio program forces him and his team to take accountability very seriously.  If he receives a complaint or feedback for change, and no action is taken, the community will continue to call back.  It is quite beneficial for the community, because they always know when, where and how to find him!

In regards to communication, Emmanuel states, “You go to a community and you give them the water tablets and they might or might not use them – or they might use them in the wrong way.  Sharing information is a critical to accountability.  If the beneficiaries have the right information they can make the right judgement for themselves.”

Read the full story here!

Read Full Post »

The quite creative ECB Bangladesh consortium has made a video of a traditional Bangla skit, which includes songs about accountability in emergencies! The folk skit with songs is called a gomvira. Due to its ability to teach the audience in an entertaining way, gomvira has become quite popular in the development field. There are 2 main characters in the skit, a grandfather and a grandson. Generally one of these characters depicts a positive side of the issue while the other plays a negative role. Through a logical conversation, the positive character convinces the negative character in favor of the issue. This 30 minute video is well done, very entertaining and fun to watch! (It may take some time to load before being ready to play, so please be patient. It is worth the wait!).

In this skit, set in rural Bangladesh, the grandson explains to his grandfather the people’s rights in relation to an aid organization’s emergency response and how the agency will conduct the next emergency response with accountability. The grandfather, having had negative experiences with aid organizations, is skeptical of what his grandson says. Through the course of the gomvira, the grandson answers his grandfather’s many questions and removes his doubts.

 

The Story

The gomvira opens by the grandson telling the grandfather that the aid organization has told the community, including men, women, the blind, disabled, and the most vulnerable, the details of the relief project and that the people are going to be involved in the process, including the making of the beneficiary list. The distrustful grandfather believes what he has observed in the past: that only those who have good relations with the agency staff can get on the beneficiary list, while the most vulnerable do not receive any aid. The grandfather then realizes that if people have the information about the project, including how much they are to receive in aid, and if they are involved in the process, that they can then hold staff accountable. To address corruption by powerful people, individuals can complain anonymously and will not be retaliated against for complaint against the powerful.

In the past, the different needs of the varying groups in the community were not considered. Now, the grandson explains, the agency staff will hold separate discussions with men, women, children, the disabled, and the isolated and various ethnic groups to find out the unique needs of each. The aid organization will ensure that needs are met and expectations are fulfilled.

But in the end, the grandfather asks, “Why will the aid organization do all these things? It’s all their money; they can spend it like they want. Why do they need to talk to so many poor, illiterate people like us?”

The son responds, “You raised the most important question. No, they cannot spend the money as they wish. Getting assistance and living with dignity in floods, cyclones, and storm surge situations is the right of the people.”

“You mean to say getting assistance in such situations is our right?” queries the grandfather.

“It is our right and the duty of the responders to provide it to us,” responds the grandson.

They then sing: “Getting assistance in emergencies is the people’s right. If you have a complaint, don’t keep it in your mind. Tell someone.”

Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

In this recent blog, we discussed a study and report on the communication efforts during the response to the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 and the cholera outbreak that began the following October. The report, written by Imogen Wall with Yves Gerald Chéry, is entitled Ann Kite Yo Pale: Let Them Speak: Best practice and lessons learned in communication with disaster affected communities: Haiti 2010 . Here we continue with some examples of communication with local media and local people during the response.

Agency Communication with Local Media

After the earthquake, there was a desperate need among the disaster-affected to receive and to provide information. International aid agencies worked mainly with international media, not the local media that was quite active after the quake. In general, local media found it difficult and frustrating to engage with humanitarian actors, as well as access international agencies due to the barriers of language.  Few staff of international agencies even long-established in Haiti spoke Kreyol. Local journalists could not access the UN base outside of the city to attend press conferences for the first few months following the natural disaster, and press releases and situation reports were not translated into French. Even a year after the quake, journalists were still finding it hard to work with humanitarian agencies.  The report states:

Given the lack of dedicated local communication staff, few organisations were prepared to spend any time going to local radio studios and giving interviews or explaining their work. Those that did, however, found that communicating did not just help fill the information vacuum among the affected population, it delivered considerable operational benefits.

Below are examples of aid agencies that benefited from engaging with local media:

World Food Program (WFP)

The WFP had to manage food distribution to more than a million people. After a chaotic first run, they introduced a voucher system and hired a local spokesperson, Fedrique Pierre, to explain the system to the local media and thus to the affected population. CDAC Haiti, a consortium of humanitarian agencies and media organizations that coordinate communication in emergency response, put WFP in touch with local radio stations. Mr. Pierre gave more than 150 interviews in his first month and became so popular that he was nicknamed ‘Mr. Rice.’

Because there was no systematized feedback mechanism, ‘Mr. Rice’ decided to give out his mobile number.  Hundreds of people called and texted him to relay their gratitude for the information or tell him which area lacked food. (SMS-based feedback mechanisms were quite common in the earthquake response). He created a spreadsheet on his computer to track all the information received on his phone, and WFP used such information in the operational and decision-making processes, “enabling WFP to respond quickly to any problems.”

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The UNFPA hired a Haitian American spokesperson who spoke fluent Kreyol to work with local and international media. “He worked with the gender-based violence team to record and broadcast a series of public service announcements (PSAs) with advice for victims. Based on anecdotal feedback, UNFPA say the response to the PSAs helped convince the Police Nationale d’Haiti to step up their patrols in the camps.”

Jamil Simon

Agency communication with people

Due to high mobile phone usage, the people of Haiti were able to communicate with agencies unlike ever before. The ENDK radio show shared the phone numbers of agencies, and feedback was collected through phone calls and SMS. Few agencies established feedback systems in the early phase of the response. Those that did, however, did not find the flood of feedback unmanageable, as some agencies expected, and confirm that this feedback was invaluable, allowing them to gather real-time information on survivors needs.

Recommendations

The study recommended the following for humanitarian aid agencies:

“The humanitarian system and agencies need to recognise the importance of communication as a sector and as an essential aspect of successful operational delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

There is a need to:

  • Reform humanitarian funding criteria to include communication as a legitimate form of humanitarian assistance
  • Incorporate communication work into the project design and budget
  • Prioritize communication with affected communities at the cluster level, employ local communication staff
  • Develop a feedback system for the disaster-affected, explore SMS or web-based feedback systems
  • Coordinate communication to avoid duplication of efforts and provide consistent and accurate information

For more about communication in emergency response, see this blog, and to read more about the work of CDAC Haiti, click here.

Read Full Post »

In March, ECB’s Shelter Accountability Adviser, Hugh, conducted an assessment of the accountability practices of the shelter cluster in Côte d’Ivoire.  A full report is forthcoming; however, as part of this assessment, Hugh visited the village of Fengolo where the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) had implemented a project to rebuild homes that were destroyed during the 2010-2011 post-election violence.  Below is a summary of the methodology used and some of his findings.

Methodology

Hugh facilitated a focus group discussion of male and female beneficiaries, as well as community members that did not receive a new home.  NRC staff were present during the majority of the focus group, but were asked to leave at the end.  Hugh then invited participants to change their earlier answers or add any extra information.  Given time constraints, only one focus group discussion was possible. 

The following questions were asked during the focus group and cover various aspects of accountability: two-way communication between the agency and the community, agency consultation with both men and women, and match between project activities and beneficiaries’ needs.

  • How familiar are you with the project of the agency in your area?
  • Does it match your personal priorities
  • Do you have regular contact with the organisation, and know when, where to meet? Is this always convenient for you?
  • Do you feel the organisation listens to you, and that you get satisfactory answers to your questions?
  • Do you, or have you had, any complaints about the work of the organisation? If you were to have a complaint, would you know what to do in order to get it solved?
  • Is there adequate consultation with both men and women in the group?
  • Are you aware of how much the organisation spends on activities in your village?
  • Are you aware of how the organisation selects beneficiaries, and do you agree with this method?
  • Do you feel that organisations in general come and ask you too many questions?
  • [Once agency staff have left] is there anything you want to add, or any change you want to make to your answers?

Findings

  • There is a high level of respect and communication between NRC and the community.
  • The activities of the project met the needs of the beneficiaries, who were satisfied with the quality of the houses built.
  • Communities emphasised that they had never had cause to complain about the work of NRC, nor could imagine such a possibility. However, should a problem arise, no one was aware how to make a complaint, or how it would be followed up.

The main recommendation was to set up a complaints and feedback mechanism and communicate to the community how it should be utilized.

For more information on ECB’s work to improve accountability in the cluster system, see this blog.  Look for a full mission report from Hugh coming soon!

Read Full Post »

Last week, the third Accountability “Book Club” (now known as the “Accountability Club”) took place, hosted by Hana with Save the Children.  The topic was Complaints and Response Mechanisms (CRMs).  There were no prior reading materials, but instead the group simply shared their learning and experiences from their own work.  Though the group was small, the conversation was quite rich! Participants included Accountability and Impact Measurement (AIM) Advisers and Standing Team members.  Below is a summary of some of the key topics covered:

Aligning CRMs with agency HR procedures

Hana shared how Save The Children categorizes its complaints and how it reacts accordingly. Upon receipt, complaints are categorized into one of 4 types:

1. Minor dissatisfaction
E.g. a household kit is missing; Save staff said they would come back to talk to someone but didn’t

2. Major dissatisfaction
E.g. a hand pump was fitted but doesn’t work; half of a distribution list is family members of the chief

3. Inappropriate behaviour of staff
E.g. staff members asking for payment to be put on a distribution list; rude or verbally abusive behaviour; misappropriation of project goods

4. Serious staff misconduct
E.g. physical or sexual abuse; fraud; corruption.

The first two categories may derail a program and need to be addressed, but are of a different nature to the latter two, which relate closely to Save’s staff code of conduct. If any complaints are received that fall into categories 3 or 4 the relevant HR disciplinary procedures would be followed, including—if appropriate—the necessary judiciary processes. Serious staff misconduct would be reported immediately to the HR Director and a crisis action meeting called within 2 hours as a first step in the follow-up.

This highlights the importance of setting up your CRM in conjunction with your HR department to ensure that your mechanism and how you act on complaints aligns with HR procedures.

How do you give feedback when a complaint is submitted anonymously?

Complainants may not always want to be identified, for example for fear of retribution. How can you provide feedback on actions taken in response to a complaint if you do not know who submitted it? In a CARE program in the Democratic Republic of Congo a monthly overview was provided of all the complaints received and what action had been taken. To protect confidentiality, no names or other information that could lead to the individual being identified were included. This overview was published on a public notice board and was also shared verbally in community meetings and with community leaders.

 This type of sharing enables feedback on anonymous complaints and provides a transparent overview to the community of the complaints received and actions taken. World Vision in Kenya currently follows a similar approach, but also shares this information via the local radio.

Using a variety of approaches to target a variety of beneficiaries

High-tech CRMs could mean high exclusion: In 2011, Save the Children used an SMS-based complaints system in its Pakistan response. Staff would place phone calls to each SMS complaint received to discuss the issue. The system worked very well, but upon analysis Save realized that mostly men used it. Consultations were then held with women on how to include them, and the system was subsequently revised.

When setting up a CRM it is important to think about the diversity of stakeholders and consult different groups in the design phase of your CRM. As this example also shows, it is also worth monitoring who uses the system so you can improve your approach.
 
In Dadaab camp in Kenya Save set up hot desks in their child-friendly spaces for children to speak about their complaints. In other programs these hot desks may be in schools or other places you find children. Don’t expect them to come to you—your CRM may have to have proactive elements. For more about Save’s CRM in Dadaab, see this blog

How formal should a CRM be? A look at a community CRM

In CARE Niger’s program in Konni a community level complaints system was set up so that complaints could be handled without necessarily involving the agency, CARE. This helped to successfully and quickly resolve some major and many minor dissatisfactions, such as the omission of a Cash for Work beneficiary on a payment list. The system is well set up, with elected members sitting on a complaints committee. The community knows who the members are and has confidence in them and their ability to resolve problems. Anything that cannot be resolved by the committee is raised either with the local chief or with CARE staff, as appropriate, and resolved at that level. On the whole, it is a system that works well, and the beneficiaries have even reported a decrease in community conflict as a result of this committee—yet this is not a culture where documenting information through writing is common. Nothing is written down. Having to write complaints and documenting the process may actually discourage people from reporting complaints in a community with an oral tradition.  

So how can you ensure each complaint receives a reaction? How do you know your community CRM is working? How do you make sure you are improving the quality of your programming? How do you capture the learning and share it so that others do not repeat mistakes? Agency staff could carry out a regular debrief with the community committee to capture data and lessons learned.

World Vision in Kenya has made a formal system work: each complaint is documented and a receipt is given to the complainant. They did this by wide community sensitization which emphasised the importance of this system, particularly to ensure mistakes are not repeated. Including a name in the complaint remained optional, as that was the greatest barrier in documenting process.

As was shown in the example of Save in Pakistan and CARE in Niger, the method of registering a complaint should accommodate the culture and diversity of target beneficiaries to ensure a robust, far-reaching mechanism that can be accessed by boys, girls, men and women alike. Doing a stakeholder analysis and asking different stakeholder groups can help you design your mechanism.

Want to know more?

Whether you want to review your current CRM or are thinking about setting one up, have a look at sections 4 and 5 of the Good Enough Guide and tool 12 to guide you! Also, check out some previous blogs: Part I and Part II on case studies on complaints handling. 
 
The next Accountability Club will be held on June 14th and will cover the topic of financial transparency in response.  More information to come!

Read Full Post »

The AIM Standing Team deployment to Bangladesh was met with success!

meeting with a community in the field

Despite a major strike during the deployment and restricted ability to freely move about, AIM Standing Team members Saji  from World Vision India and Shagufta from Mercy Corps Pakistan were still able to meet the deployment  objectives in time. The deployment lasted from April 22 to May 6. The purpose of the deployment was to review and document current practices of accountability and impact measurement of ECB and its member agencies in emergency response over the last year, in order to identify strengths and gaps and produce an action plan that paves the way forward.

They visited with several NGOs, field staff, partners, and communities to discuss standards, policies, practices and initiatives around accountability. On May 3 they conducted a workshop for focal points and steering committee members (senior management) from Oxfam, CARE, World Vision, Concern Worldwide, Save the Children and the ECB Bangladesh consortium. At the workshop Shagufta and Saji shared their findings. Then workshop participants identified their own agency-level and ECB recommendations.  After this exercise, Shagufta and Saji shared their own recommendations. The participants are to create an action plan with the rest of their agency staff and submit by next week.

The review of the practice of accountability among ECB agencies in Bangladesh is not a thorough study to identify their specific strengths and gaps. The findings are general.

Here are some of their findings:

Meeting with women beneficiaries

Leadership/Governance

  • Among almost all agencies, there is a commitment to accountability in their country strategies and policies and among senior management. However, there were not enough resources allocated to the practice.
  • Agencies knew about the Good Enough Guide and ECB’s Key Elements of Accountability, but no evidence was found of actually using these. 
  • Most of the agencies have incorporated accountability in program proposals but mostly in terms of sharing information and involving communities.
  • Some agencies use results from reviews and evaluations to improve their practices.

Transparency

  • Some organizations shared information with communities about projects, plans and activities, particularly beneficiary selection criteria and relevant financial information, using banners and information boards.  However, because a majority of the population is illiterate, they were not completely aware of project details.
  • Progress/performance reports of project are not shared with communities.
  • Involving communities and sharing information have given NGOs a positive image and increased trust by the communities.

Feedback

  • Feedback and complaint mechanisms were used in communities and people were aware of their right to complain. However, serious weaknesses were found in such mechanisms. Such systems were not formally agreed upon with communities. Communities did not know how to complain. No field staff and managers dedicated to the Complaints and Response Mechanisms (CRM) were found, and no documentary evidence was found of incorporating communities’ feedback.

Participation

  • Communities were consulted during needs assessments, and all agencies involved communities during project implementation. Communities were involved only a little in assessment of impact of the project. There was no evidence of involving communities in the development of proposals, activities and plans.
  • Agencies used various means of communicating with communities about project interventions, including focus group discussions, loud speakers, information boards, etcetera. Such diversity of communication ensured information reached all segments of the population. 
  • Communities need more information about their rights to assistance and in order to ask questions.

Design, Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Many good accountability practices were found but were not documented, i.e. in case studies, reports, complaints handling.
  • Agencies do evaluate projects but with little to no focus on accountability
  • There was no evidence of sharing progress and evaluation reports with relevant communities.

Discussing the findings and brainstorming recommendations for the action plan at the workshop

Shagufta wrote

We are so happy we received very positive responses from [workshop] participants. Everyone agreed with our findings and used many of them for their actions plans.

We will post a few videos of participants discussing the outcome of the deployment after the workshop. Stay tuned!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »