Yearly Archives: 2018

Sphere partners, International Council of Voluntary Agencies, Community World Service Asia, Church of Sweden, ADRRN and Alnap, launched the revised edition of the #SphereHandbook in Bangkok on December 11. 150 participants representing the humanitarian community of over 30 countries attended the regional event.

The panel discussion with key experts launched presentations of recent findings and products followed by a debate on hot topics related to Quality and Accountability to Affected Populations (Q&AAP), with a focus on communities and people affected by the crisis as the main target.

The event was concluded with an announcement of a Share Fair on Quality and Accountability to Affected Populations. Participants of the Training of Trainers on Q&AAP, together with some initiatives leading the work and research on humanitarian standards lead presentations and discussions on different tables.

My husband, Utham, takes care of the village chief’s livestock. He earns a monthly income of PKR 5000 (approx. USD 42) through it. This income amount served to be insufficient for a household of seven members. All of the PKR 5000 was mostly consumed in purchasing grocery items to run the family kitchen and there was barely anything left to spend on other household expenses,

voiced Bhaga gloomily. Bhaga is a thiry-five-year-old mother of four children and lives with her husband and mother-in-law in Kharoro Charan village located in district Umerkot, Sindh.

Bhaga’s family was among the few assigned to Kenwal, a trained gender activist in Kharoro Charan, to work with on raising awareness on gender rights and equality. Kenwal visited Utham and Bhaga’s family to encourage Bhaga to join the vocational center to enhance her handicraft skills and develop literacy and marketing skills.

Utham and my mother-in-law supported and motivated me to take the skills assessment in order to join the center. Upon passing the assessment, I joined the center in June 2016.

The three months Adult Literacy Training which was part of the vocational centre classes helped me build upon my basic learning skills. Growing up as part of a financially poor family, I did not get the chance to attend school when I was young. This training gave me the opportunity to learn how to read and write. It also helped build my confidence. I was quite dependent on my husband before. I did not go anywhere without him accompanying me. After taking the trainings, I have now started to commute to nearby markets and to the health center on my own whenever the need arises. I do not wait for Utham to return from work and escort me,” shared a confident Bhaga, “The Skills Development Training on the other hand brought new colors to my life altogether. I did not know what color combinations to make in embroidery making and how to use them while designing apparel. I realized that the use of vibrant and mellow color combinations could increase the value of our handcrafts. I have worked on many orders from local and urban markets since I graduated from the centre. I have produced various apparels and home accessories.

Bhaga did not own a sewing machine. She saved money from what she earned through handicraft sales and order delivery at the center and bought herself a sewing machine. She works on orders received for her products at her home now as well.

I work as a tailor in the village now. I earn a good amount of around PKR 6000-7000 a month. I also teach stitching and embroidery to three young girls who come to learn from me at my house. Amarta, Devi and Savita are their names and they between the ages of 12 and 14 years. I am happy to teach them without charging them any fee. I believe it is best to share my learning so that others can benefit from it just like I did.

Utham used to be an ardent alcoholic. Bhaga said there were times when Utham spent a heavy portion of his income on purchasing alcohol.

He would come home drunk very late in the nights. I felt disappointed as I was not able to stop him from drinking so much

added Bhaga. Kewal took a lead to work with Bhaga’s family. As a trained gender activist, Kewal was given five households with whom to start work with. He held meetings with the family, highlighting many disadvantages of alcoholism and being one of the root causes of many gender based discriminatory practices and mindsets in their community.

Utham used to beat Bhaga when he was drunk. His behavior was affecting entire family very gravely and it had to stop. I met with the family a couple of times and continuously persuaded Utham to reduce his drinking. I made him realize that this could become the future of his children if he continued to drink this abusively,

expressed Kewal. As a result, Utham reduced his consumption of alcohol. He has also stopped physically abusing Bhaga.

I am more relaxed and the environment of my home has improved due to this initiative. I am glad to see how responsible Utham has become. He takes care of his children more. He respects me now.

As parents, we have never stopped our girls from gaining education. They are intelligent and have been very confident in pursuing education and we support them in every step of the way,

expressed Shahida, a thirty-two-year-old mother of six children living in Umerkot district of Sindh province. Shahida has been the chairman of the School ManagementCommittee (SMC) since 2017. Bushra and Dua, two of Shahida’s daughters, study at the Government Girls Primary School of Abdul Wahid Colony, Umerkot.

The SMC was established in 2016 but was not actively working. Each year when the funds were released by the government, the SMC members, a handful of teachers, the headmaster and the General Secretary of the SMC, would hold a meeting and decide where to spend the money. No parent or student was involved in the meeting. Following the teachers trainings last year and beginning of this year, the trained teachers came to me and emphasized on strengthening the role of SMC for the further development of the school,

 narrated Sami, Head Master at the GGPS Abdul Wahid Colony.

The SMC, comprising of a General Secretary, a chairman, two teachers, two parents and two students, held a meeting soon after to highlight the role of each member and encouraged active participation to strengthen its role towards improving the education standards of the school.

Abdul Razzaque, consultant at Community World Service Asia, conducted a session for the SMC in February 2018, emphasizing on the key role of the SMC in strengthening relationships between the schools and local communities. As parents and children are the primary stakeholders of an education system, they need to be given opportunities to be involved in bringing about a change for themselves.

At the session we were briefed on what the prime functions of the SMC should be. Educationally, we are expected to monitor teachers’ attendance, increase the enrolment of children and build awareness amongst parents on the importance of education for their children. Administratively, we are expected to actively participate in organizing co-curriculum activities, monitor provision of free textbooks and disburse the SMC fund for the improvement of the school, Shahida shared. Furthermore, Sir Razzaque emphasized on having a clean school to promote a healthy environment. Keeping the facility clean will prevent spreading of germs, resulting in healthier students. Healthy students are able to focus better at school and experience less absenteeism.

The government revived the structure of theSMC in 2015 but did not provide formal trainings for its’ members to work proactively for the advancement of the schools. It was after the teachers’ training that the SMC of Abdul Wahid Colony was actively involved in the school’s operations and academic decisions. The learnings provided by CommunityWorld Service Asia further built on our capacities to work towards better outcomes for our students, teachers and the entire school systems. As a SMC member and a parent, I learnt the fundamental role we can play in improving teaching quality and infrastructure of the school to create a productive academic environment for the students, especially the girls, sharing her learnings, Shahida added, Most importantly, we learnt to make a budget of the annual fund received from the government. Budgeting is an important process that allows delegation of financial tasks and responsibility in schools. Developing and maintaining a budget is key to achieving secure and successful outcomes for the school.

In the near future, we are planning a SMC meeting to plan out a budget to utilize the funds sufficiently. This is a good practice for record keeping as well and will be very beneficial while planning future budgets. We can compare previous budgets and prioritize activities accordingly every year.

The space for girls’ education in rural areas like Umerkot is limited. Parents here lay more importance on the education of boys, believing they will be heading households and financially supporting their families in the future. Whereas girls are predestined to take care of their homes and family for which, they think, education is not compulsory.

It is sad to see that parents think way. We encourage parents, neighbors and friends in social gatherings to send their daughters to schools. Things are improving gradually but there is still a long way to go.

One of my daughter’s, Dua, primary schoolteachers, Naheed, was part of the Teachers and Master Teachers training conducted by Community World Service Asia under its’ Girls Education Project supported byAct for Peace, in 2017 and 2018. The change I saw in my daughter’s learning and interest was commendable. And similar improvements and increased interest of students was observed in other classes

I witnessed the enthusiasm children had when they participated in the Creative Art Competition held in May 2018. They were overwhelmed. Students in rural areas are rarely involved in such activities and this is one of the main reasons why parents do not send their children to school as they only see a child studying off a textbook with little motivation. Activities like the seen courage parents to send their children to school. Children are also motivated to come to school as these platforms provide an opportunity to stand out. I would like to request Community World Service Asia to conduct more child centered activities and competitions with different school participating, leading to provincial based competitions. The art competition exhibited that the students in Umerkot have great potential. They only need a platform to exhibit their talent. Moreover, there can be joint ventures where parents can be involved in the management of competitions as this will allow student and parent participation which will be a completely unique and motivating experience for all.

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Group photo of the training participants with Zaigham Khan and the Community World Service Asia Team.

Theory of Change (ToC) is a powerful tool that helps organizations and initiatives plan how they will achieve change, assess their effectiveness and communicate to stakeholders. Growing in popularity over the last decade, the international development community (practitioners and donors alike) shows great interest in using ToC for organizational planning, implementation and monitoring purpose. The national level organizations also showed interest in learning and applying ToC at their organization level. ToC help facilitate better planning to ensure that activities are linked to a detailed understanding of how change actually happens.

To help CSOs in Pakistan to learn the approach of and the method to apply ToC in their organizations, Community World Service Asia organized a 4-day training at Punjab University, Lahore from November 20 – 23, 2018. Zaigham Khan, a renowned development professional, facilitated the 4-day workshop. Twenty-five participants from 10 organization attended the workshop.

The training enabled participating organizations in identifying steps for long-term impact and strategic planning and facilitated for sequencing of theory of change approach. The participants reviewed their organizational strategy using theory of change approach and learnt the use of ToC to enhance accountability and learning. In addition, they acquired the skill of integrating ToC into their organization’s planning, monitoring and evaluation processes if future.

Voices of the Participants:

Being a technical training, Zaigham made this training very rewarding and enjoyable. I learned a lot from this training and will try my best to improve further and train other staff in my organization on this. I want to express my gratitude for our facilitator for his outstanding way of articulation, knowledge and providing such a friendly learning environment.”

Muhammad Ayoub from Aga Khan Agency for Habitat

“We acquired the skills of integrating ToC into our organization’s planning, monitoring and evaluation processes. Zaigham has been an outstanding resource person throughout the workshop and will prove to be more useful in future because of his availability and willingness to provide technical assistance after the workshop.”

Basil Dogra, Center for Law & Justice

“Interactive discussion and practical group activities made learning more interesting and productive. The difference between the ToC and Log Frame was made clear in this training. I am grateful to Community World Service Asia to provide such an opportunity which will be beneficial for our organization in the long-run.”

Kiran Yochbed from Taangh Wasaib Organization

“I am grateful to be given this opportunity to learn Theory of Change. I learned the current practices of ToC and how to design community development projects. I am now able to connect ToC to the log frame for Monitoring & Evaluation. This training has enabled me to see the project activities from a different and broader level.”

Nadeem Matto from Pak Mission Society

“This 4-day training was very interesting and beneficial for my organization as a whole. The training was conducted with a participatory approach including practice, sharing, discussions and group work. Our facilitator was well-versed and attended all our queries effectively. I hope to implement the learning in my work to bring positive results for community development.”

Bushra Malik Forum for Language Initiatives

“I am working in the NGO sector for the past twenty years. This workshop has proved to be very useful in my field of work. The knowledge of ToC tools has enabled me to develop effective projects. Zaigham Khan has been very patient and helpful throughout the training.”

Josna Azeem from Christian Women’s Development Association

We are excited to share that CHS Alliance has put Community World Service Asia (CWSA) in the spotlight.

As a founding member of the CHS Alliance and a member of ACT Alliance, Community World Service Asia strives to increase the effectiveness of its humanitarian response through improving and strengthening processes for quality and accountability (Q&A) across its programmes. Community World Service Asia also plays an important role in supporting humanitarian and development organisations in the region to introduce quality and accountability mechanisms.

Quality and accountability have always been at the center of all our work that we have carried out not only in the region but at the global level,” says Zainab Raza, Deputy Director for Governance at CWSA. “Community World Service Asia believes that increasing the effectiveness of humanitarian response through enhancing quality and accountability mechanisms for frontline, regional and national organisations should be a priority.

In a video message recorded for the occasion, Zainab talks about how CWSA has benefited from being a member of the CHS Alliance.

Focusing on Commitment 5 of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), in this edition, CWSA shares how it has supported 1,900 returnee Afghan families by virtue of three small-scale emergency relief projects.

The CHS offers us continuous guidance to ensure that we streamline quality and accountability throughout our assistance to crisis-affected communities,” says Marvin Parvez, Regional Director, CWSA. “We established completely transparent relationships with the returnee families we assist in order to ensure the welfare and inclusion of returnee families throughout the project life cycle.

CHS Alliance shared some interviews to hear more about our quality and accountability initiatives, how staff streamlines its work with the Core Humanitarian Standard and how training can help to apply the Commitments of the CHS in emergency situations.

“The CHS is increasingly in our DNA” – Coffee with Rizwan Iqbal, CWSA’s Quality and Accountability (Q&A) Specialist

Rizwan Iqbal has been working with the non-governmental sector and businesses in Asia and Europe for over 12 years. Currently, he is spearheading Community World Service Asia’s Quality and Accountability (Q&A) team and its promotion within the Asia-Pacific region. His aim is to enhance his colleagues’ and partners understanding of and capacity to apply the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS), the Sphere Standards and its companions.

“We have incorporated the CHS at all stages of our emergency work” – Coffee with Shahzado, Emergencies Programme Manager with HelpAge

Shahzado Khaskheli is an Emergencies Programme Manager with HelpAge International. He participated in a workshop hosted by CWSA on the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) in April and now shares his experience.

Article written & developed by the CHS Alliance Communications Team

On 4th & 5th October, the CHS Alliance took part in the 20th Humanitarian Congress in Berlin. Focusing on topical issues such as migration and the safeguarding crisis, participants discussed how to best support crisis-affected people in a polarized political environment.

The Humanitarian Congress Berlin is a forum to analyze and discuss the theory and practice of humanitarian action. Each year, it brings together over 800 leading and emerging experts from around the globe to share experiences and knowledge in an international and multidisciplinary setting. This year the Congress discussed current political trends and their implications for the people at the core of humanitarian work.

Bonaventure Sokpoh, CHS Alliance’s Head of Policy, Advocacy & Learning, and Shama Mall, Deputy Regional Director of Programs and Organizational Development at Community World Service Asia (CWSA) and Board member of the CHS Alliance, both participated in a panel discussion focusing on humanitarian accountability. It was an opportunity for both of the members to advocate for the CHS and the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework.

Currently there are so many different quality and accountability standards available for the sector, and in many cases, they really changed the way we respond to emergencies, but the question remains whether we are doing enough in practice,” Shama said. Specifically, she would like to see changes in organisational behaviours and attitudes to ensure a more meaningful engagement at the community level: “staff should be able to demonstrate accountability in their day-to-day activities.

She believes that change must come from the leadership, who needs to demonstrate accountability on every level and that

staff will follow by example

. She also warned that, based on her experience, in certain cultures managers find it hard to demonstrate personal accountability or even hold their own team members to account, as people don’t want to get into confrontational situations.

Another problem is that managers also find it difficult to admit that they have gaps in their programming. I believe that the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework (CHCF) can help achieve these behavioural changes. This framework helps to look at the core competencies that are needed in an organisation to promote a more accountable culture.

Bonaventure promoted the Alliance’s flagship publication, the Humanitarian Accountability Report (HAR), which was recently launched and examines how change happens in the humanitarian sector.

We found that we have sufficient procedures, standards, code of conducts and alike; however, we are struggling with the application of these codes

he said, backing up Shama’s earlier comment.

Real change happens when commitments translate into practice on the ground.

Demonstrating the relevance and usefulness of the CHS Verification Scheme he argued that

once an organisation has been verified against the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS), we are able to see its strengths and weaknesses, where we need to put our efforts to make further improvements.

The aggregated verification data collected so far shows that the aid sector needs to make progress with regard to its application of Commitment 5 of the CHS (complaints mechanisms), as well as Commitment 4 (communication with communities) and Commitment 7 (learning from experience).

It’s good to have the data, but we also need to hear the voices of the affected people, and that’s the reason why we started to work together with Ground Truth Solutions in Chad.

The first results of the perception survey show discrepancies between the perception of aid workers and crisis-affected populations. For example, while aid workers feel confident in their targeting, respondents within the crisis-affected population were much less certain, with only 34% considering that those most in need are reached.

My dream to become a teacher was left in vain. My family could not afford to send me to school and I was married off at a young age. I do not want the same for my children though. I want them to study and to live their dreams,

shared Meena, a kitchen gardener from the Prem Nagar village in Badin.

Meena was selected as a participant for a series of Kitchen Gardening trainings in 2016 under the three-year, Promoting Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture projectⁱ. One of the key components of the ongoing project focuses on promoting kitchen gardening among local women in Badin through conducting skill-building trainings on produce gardening, providing informative sessions on family and individual nutrition, arranging exposure visits to relevant institution and running awareness campaigns with the local communities. All of these activities are done to ensure the growth of kitchen gardening practices among households in Badin to reduce food insecurity and to improve the health and livelihoods of local agrarian communities.

As one of the participants of this component of the project, fifty-five-year-old Meena learnt effective and new techniques of plowing, preparing and watering her land and fertilizing the seeds that her family was provided under the project. After building on her gardening skills, Meena primed a patch of land outside her house in accordance to the new practices she learnt in the training and planted the seeds she received meticulously. Meena’s garden has been one of the most flourishing ones, with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables produced regularly. Her lush green garden produces cluster beans, apple gourds, ladyfingers, ridge gourds, spinach, carrots, radish and tomatoes.

Living with her husband and three married sons, Meena shared that her garden yields have made a huge impact on the health and nutrition of all their family members.

The quantity and quality of food cooked at home has improved immensely. My family loves the meals we cook at home now. My kitchen garden has allowed us to save the money that we previously spent on purchasing vegetables and fruits from the local market. In addition to fully providing for the nutritional needs of my family, selling of the surplus produce of my garden has helped me in generating a revenue of PKR 32,270 (Approx. USD 262).

Meena and her family were provided with additional fruit saplings of guava, sapota, mango, black plum, lemon, jujube, neem, moringa, phalsa and conocapus under the project in August this year.

Badin district is situated at the tail end of the canal irrigation system. With limited rainfall and no stored water, the area faces severe water scarcity. Each year the produce of large acreages of agriculture land is further reduced.

The undersized production of my kitchen garden forced me to explore ideas for water storage. My husband and I decided to invest the money I earnt through selling the vegetables in constructing a small water pit, which will help us store water. So, we have now constructed a water pit with a water pump beside it to pump the water out of it. The savings have helped us take quick decisions such as this to help us sustain our garden and our household.


ⁱPromoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to improve Food security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers project in Badin is supported by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank through Presbyterian World Service & Development.

27 humanitarian actors trained on HR practices using CHCF in Pakistan

Competent and well-managed staff are at the heart of an accountable and effective organization. Applying the Competency-based Human Resources (HR) management facilitates organizations with selecting, developing and managing staff in an efficient, fair and strategic manner. Nurturing competent and well-managed staff would lead to organizations effectively achieving the outcomes they intend to produce.

The Core Humanitarian Competency Framework (CHCF), developed in 2010, aims to provide humanitarian organizations with a common set of behaviours that have proven to be effective in responses. To promote the adoption of CHCF, Community World Service Asia held a four-day training course on “Competency-based HR Practices using the Core Humanitarian Competencies Framework” this October in Pakistan. The course aimed towards strengthening the management skills of participants and familiarize them with new tools to apply CHCF during humanitarian initiatives. Organizational and individual growth of participants was also promoted through teaching and practising of new competency-based approaches. The four-day course also provided an opportunity of a diverse pool of experiences using competency-based HR practices being shared with one another.

Uma Narayanan, the lead trainer for the course, specializes in human resources and organizational development for medium to large-scale organizations in the global humanitarian sector. She has worked with the CHS Alliance on revising the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework and has a sound knowledge of the Pakistani context.

Participants were guided on the basics of the competency-based approach, with a focus on the core competency framework and its different types. An introductory session was conducted for participants to first understand the CHCF and its six domains. The trainees were asked to list key messages for each domain through a role-play, where each identified their organizational core competencies.

Competency-based Job Description (JD) was introduced to participants using the template in the CHCF Guide during session on the ‘Competency-based Recruitment and Selection’. Participants learnt about the concept of “competencies mix’’, i.e. core competencies, technical competencies and leadership competencies and were asked to develop their own JD using the competencies mix as practical exercise during the session.

Challenges of performance management came forward as a key point during the competency-based performance management session. Weak linkages of performance appraisal and promotion, increments and favoritism among staff were identified as key challenges.  To counter these, Uma presented each participant with a set of motivating factors consisting of ten features that encourage staff to perform better (terms and conditions, serving a cause, job security, working conditions, etc.). Each participant was asked to arrange the motivating factors as per priority – what motivated them the most and what motivated them the least. Tools for HR and managers were also introduced to manage staff performance, which included management matrix and a self-assessment tool.

Muhammad Ilyas, Talent Acquisition Coordinator from Islamic Relief was invited to share how Islamic Relief adopted competency-based HR through a rigorous and open process that took almost a year. He highlighted the challenges faced by the organization. In addition, he shared some tools that they adopted to ensure positive management changes. The session complimented the training deliverables and participants acquired the knowledge of theories, concepts and tools in practice. Ilyas’ key message was,

“It is possible to bring change if your Human Resource is committed and has the technical expertise to drive the change. Buy in from leadership is also instrumental to drive the change.”

Follow-up sessions and technical support to organizations who are interested in adopting and implementing some of the competency-based HR tools are available upon request to participants by the trainer.

Are you a Quality and Accountability practitioner? If yes, this is your opportunity to ensure humanitarian and development quality and accountability is strengthened and your skills and standards are polished! If not, you can still help build the network: Sponsor a colleague! Can you and your organization support a professional from a national organisation you work with to join this Training of Trainers?

This event is a unique opportunity for development and humanitarian aid workers across borders who have been leading in promoting and implementing approaches for enhanced collective Q&AAP to discuss and update on the latest developments, and equip them for further dissemination and implementation.

The attached brochure provides more details on the training content and logistics itself. If you wish to nominate any person(s) from your own organization or from among your partners for this event, kindly fill this online application OR you can also register by completing the downloadable application form. Please ensure to send the filled form to shaprograms@communityworldservice.asia.

Please click on Training Package to download Brochure, Invitation Letter and Application Form.

Training Package

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