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Archive for the ‘Cluster Support’ Category

Following face to face planning during their time in Nepal, Kaiser (Oxfam Bangladesh), Ajaz (Mercy Corp India), and Hugh (ECB Shelter Accountability Advisor) arrived in Indonesia for the final Standing Team deployment of the year! They are supported by new Standing Team member Yvonne (CRS Zimbabwe) and CRS AIM Advisor Driss . Here is their first update:

We can’t wait to share our first day’s experience! We started with a planning and consolidation meeting, discussing the terms of references of our deployment, the objectives and the deliverables. The four key expected outputs/deliverables are:

  1. Gap Analysis – identify strengths and areas of improvement for shelter accountability mechanisms and practices among stakeholders: ECB consortium member agencies, partners and local NGO’s.
  2. To facilitate a one day training/learning workshop in shelter accountability mechanisms and their implementation
  3. Improve linkages, collaboration and levels of commitment among ECB consortium agencies, local partners, government and NGO’s for implementation of accountability mechanisms/practices

    Kaiser and Hugh discuss cluster accountability in Nepal prior to deploying to Indonesia

    Kaiser and Hugh discuss cluster accountability in Nepal prior to deploying to Indonesia

Considering all these objectives, we met with CRS Indonesia, followed by meetings with CARE and Oxfam. These discussions aimed at understanding the perspectives, reflections, opinions, knowledge, capacity and experience of the shelter programs each agency had implemented in the past. The information collected helped us to better understand the shelter accountability mechanisms adopted thus far, the challenges the agencies face, areas of improvement and the learning that has come from adopting such mechanisms. It was highly encouraging to know that each agency is keen to increase their knowledge about, and capacity for, accountability mechanisms and their implementation in shelter projects.

These organizations consider the ECB Project a rich resource for facilitating the relationship among consortium agencies and value its role and expertise in implementing accountability mechanisms in emergency response related projects. In order to make these accountability mechanisms highly sustainable, the participating agencies are willing to integrate them into project implementation processes and share and disseminate the knowledge about their usefulness among the local partners for wider coverage. So far all three agencies expect to learn about the best practices in shelter specific accountability mechanisms and their feasibility in Indonesia. This will be covered in the nextworkshop.

We look forward to sharing more information soon!

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A quiz, led by Hugh, helped us to check our knowledge about the UN cluster system and discuss ways in which the Standing Team could help to improve their accountability work.

Do you want to give a try and see how much you can score?

Here are the questions and answers

Additional resources suggested during the quiz

When checking and discussing the answers, a few resources were suggested:

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LMC Meeting with Islamic Relief
(PHOTO: Jo Ashbridge/ RIBA)

ECB Shelter Accountability Advisor, Hugh, recently returned from an 11 day deployment to Bangladesh. During this trip, he held discussion groups with beneficiaries, Local Management Committee (LMC) members and community members, and spoke with project managers and staff to evaluate the accountability of the Flood REsistant SHelter (FRESH), Save the Children, and IFRC (Red Cross) projects in the country. Six INGOs are involved in implementing the FRESH project: ActionAid (AAid), CARE International, Concern World Wide (CWW), Islamic Relief (IR), Oxfam GB, and Solidarités International. Only AAid was not able to be reviewed.  Below we have consolidated Hugh’s recommendations.

PHOTO: Ahmed Al Amin/ Save the Children/ ECB

Overall Recommendations:

 
1. Share learning from the FRESH Project. In particular, the LMCs used in the FRESH Projects ensured community participation and representation and facilitated processing of feedback and complaints. Other agencies should use the FRESH project as an example of good practice.

NARRI Shelter – CARE
PHOTO: Jo Ashbridge/ RIBA

2. Improve beneficiary participation in the design phase. Participation in the design of shelters by those who will live in them is an important component of accountability in shelter projects. In this case, beneficiaries almost universally desired a veranda to allow segregation between the sexes.

 
3. Improve access to the shelter through constructing stairs to the door. While the plinth of the FRESH shelter is ~1m high, none of the shelters had effective stairs. The stairs were intended to be a beneficiary contribution, but the desire to add a veranda and the inability to source earth when the area is still water-logged delayed construction of proper stairs.

NARRI Shelter- Solidarites International
PHOTO: Jo Ashbridge/ RIBA

4. Improve access to assistance for populations with no formal land tenure. Individuals without formal land tenure may be the most vulnerable population in need of assistance; however, there were several cases of their exclusion from beneficiary lists.

 
5. Encourage and formalize learning from accountability systems. An important component of accountability is organizational learning from accountability mechanisms. While complaints were being responded to individually, there was little evidence of programmatic shifts.

PHOTO: Ahmed Al Amin/ Save the Children/ ECB

6. Change the language around shelter response to discourage the idea that beneficiaries are receiving gifts. Beneficiaries seemed reluctant to complain because of fear of jeopardizing their relationship with the ‘giving’ organization, excluding them from future benefits.

 
7. Ensure better coordination and information sharing amongst Shelter Cluster members. Agencies should collaborate to ensure that they provide an equitable response where they are intending to target different sections of the same population.

NARRI Shelter – Oxfam
PHOTO: Jo Ashbridge/ RIBA

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“I want you to all picture yourselves on one of the Indonesian islands. Form for yourselves a character – perhaps you are a rural farmer or perhaps you live in an urban area and make your money selling shoes on the street. Do you have any family, and do they live with you?

Right, now a cyclone has just ripped through the island. Picture again what situation you are in.”

This is how Hugh, ECB Shelter Accountability Advisor, began his workshop in Madrid.  Below is a blog submission from Hugh about his experience.

As part of my role to support the Shelter Cluster in improving accountability to affected populations, I attended the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies or IFRC Shelter Coordination Training in June in Madrid.  The training is for potential shelter cluster coordinators, with a focus on natural disasters, as IFRC convenes the cluster in these contexts. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) leads the Shelter Cluster in complex emergencies.

During the week-long training, I facilitated a session looking specifically at accountability to affected populations and the role cluster coordinators play in ensuring accountability.  This was focused around the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Operational Framework on Accountability to Affected Populations, which is based upon the Good Enough Guide.

The conversations ensuing were in-depth and fruitful.  Participants all considered accountability important prior to attending, but appeared to develop an understanding of how they, as potential cluster coordinators, could support agencies in ensuring accountability to affected populations.

One facilitation technique I used received excellent feedback.  In reviewing the Operational Framework, I stuck a strip of paper over who was responsible for addressing each objective.  In groups, participants had to review the objective and suggested indicators, and fill out who they thought held the responsibility for each objective.  Once each group had reported back to the plenary, they were then able to peel back the paper and uncover the answer.  Whilst fairly simple as a facilitation technique, the act of uncovering the answer seemed to promote great excitement!

Interesting feedback was also collected on the Operational Framework, such as the recommendation that the Framework be expanded to include government and beneficiaries as named stakeholders rather than focusing on the role of the aid community.

The training was attended by 16 participants in total, from IFRC, UNHCR, several Red Cross National Societies, and NGOs.

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