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CWS-P/A’s commitment and initiative to work with humanitarians for enhancing knowledge and capacity to improve quality and accountability to all stakeholders enabled the organization to identify some key gaps and challenges over recent years. Although commitment toward quality and accountability is strong, organizations face challenges in understanding and adapting it to their field work partly because of the many tools and various initiatives that are available and the lack of harmonization between them.

CWS-P/A has been promoting a joint standards approach through its capacity building initiatives since the last 3 or 4 years. At the regional level, in collaboration with the Sphere Project and the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) the first ever training of trainers (ToT) on quality and accountability was conducted in Japan in February 2012. This was followed by a more comprehensive training on “Enhancing Quality and Accountability in Humanitarian Action and non-Emergency” covering more than 15 standards. This training was the third global training of its kind and the first to be held in Asia enabling participants to understand the significance of linkages between various standards and assist agencies in collaborating and coordinating with various actors toward a common goal. CWS-P/A has also produced materials such as the Q and A workbook based on a joint standard approach.

CWS-P/A’s latest initiative, in coordination with Sylvie Robert and Astrid de Valon, is the development of a user-friendly booklet for field practitioners, Quality and Accountability (Q&A) Tools for Project Cycle Management (PCM). It is designed for field practitioners involved in humanitarian action, working with government authorities, international and national NGOs, United Nations agencies, the private sector, etc. The booklet not only offers awareness and knowledge sharing but also a practical guide to implementation of quality and accountability tools.

It is unique in that it looks at the tools which are available for all phases of project cycle management through the views of field project managers. The set of tools is introduced with core/common standards and cross-cutting issues for each phase of project cycle management.

The booklet includes an introduction to dozens of humanitarian standards such as Sphere and its companions (INEE, LEGS, SEEP, Child Protection, etc.), HAP, People in Aid, Good Enough Guide, ALNAP, and many more. Furthermore, it includes examples of good and bad practices as well as tips for implementation. It is a practical and convenient all-in-one guide for field practitioners to refer to while working with communities, from assessment and project design through lessons learning and change management.

Quality and Accountability (Q&A) Tools for Project Cycle Management (PCM) will be available in English in fall 2013, with translations to local languages to follow. CWS-P/A will use the resource in its trainings and also make the publication widely available for individuals, trainers, and organizations.

CWS-P/A’s Deputy Director, Shama Mall, emphasizes the timeliness and relevance of this initiative, “At a time when the need for and commitment toward quality and accountability are at their greatest, this publication will make a lasting impact and contribution toward the global effort to mainstream quality and accountability throughout humanitarian action.”