Yearly Archives: 2020

Following the first webinar on remote management practices and the role of Human Resources, this second webinar was targeted for managers on their role in effective remote management.

The webinar on Remote Management and the Role of Managers in the context of COVID-19, was organized by Community World Service Asia and Act Church of Sweden on May 14th and delivered by Uma Narayanan, an independent HR and OD Consultant.

Remote Management: a set of adapted procedures in COVID-19

The webinar discussed Commitment 8 of the Core Humanitarian Standards on Staff Competency where staff are supported to do their job effectively and are treated fairly and equitably. As increasing numbers of people are required to work at home, organizations must adjust and perform all functions and manage staff remotely. In this case, it is critical to maintain staff morale, ensure work-life balance is maintained, a positive attitude toward all staff is adopted and they are trusted to manage their workloads. Managers have a crucial leadership role to play here.

The webinar also presented some of the work force trends seen globally. According to International Labor Organization (ILO), 2.7 billion workers are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is also anticipated that the working hours will reduce in the second quarter of 2020. Some sectors see a catastrophic loss and there is increasing job insecurity amongst workers in various sectors. Mental health of staff is a big concern globally. This is reaffirmed by some of the webinar participants who stated that staff are highly concerned about their jobs. Disruption to on-going programmes are causing a lot of pressure to the managers, who are answerable to donors.

Participants further cited the following challenges managers face while remotely managing diverse staff spread over various locations:

  • It is difficult to evaluate employee working hours and generate workload analysis for HR teams
  • Transparency and accountability to communities has become largely dependent on Internet connectivity which is not always consistent
  • Ensuring the safety of staff from violence and abuse is a challenge for managers
  • Remote management requires increased guidance and clearer communication on concepts and procedures to staff which increases the time managers spend on coordination
  • SMEs[1] and indigenous organizations need to invest more in technology and skilled HR but do not have the funds to make such investments
  • The same work from home policies cannot be applied to staff working in different contexts and in different situations
  • Remote management for support functions such as Administration and Finance teams is quite difficult. Programme staff is easier to manage and can occupy themselves with many tasks such as reporting and monitoring.

Steps to increase effectiveness of Remote Management

Primarily, the managers need to set clear goals and ensure there is a direction for their team.  Managers should practice being a VUCA leader.

As a leader, the VUCA Model approach is effective in improving and enhancing managers’ abilities to cope with the current pandemic. The VUCA environment is composed of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, all of which we are facing in the COVID-19 pandemic. An effective leader will counter volatility with a vision, uncertainty with understanding, address complexity with clarity and manage ambiguity with agility.

A few participants while acknowledging the VUCA model highlighted the lack of vision in their organization and lack of leadership support in technology.


Participants were encouraged to share some of the best practices they have adopted to improve staff management and organizational productivity during the crisis.

  • Managers can distribute workloads efficiently, providing equal growth opportunities to staff and ensure all staff have the same amount of work and no staff feels under worked or redundant in this situation
  • There should be SOPs and channels in place for preventive measures and prompt responses from managers whose teams are working in high-risk zones
  • Developing situation and crisis specific policies for effective staff management has become a priority
  • Remote delegation requires a lot of remote support and capacity building for staff
  • Media personnel are among the high-risk group of people as reporters have to travel continuously to gather news and capture moments in public places, hospitals, isolation wards or hold press briefings in small crowds

[1]Small and Medium Enterprises

Facilitated by Smruti Patel, Naomi Tulay-Solanke & Dr. Marie-Noëlle AbiYaghi

When: June 2, 2020
What time: 2:00 PM (Pakistan Standard Time)
Where: ZOOM – Link to be shared
Language: English
How long: 90 minutes
Who is it for: Humanitarian and development practitioners working in or with hard-to-reach areas, NGOs, and INGOs involved in COVID19 response all over the world
Format: Presentation & Discussion
Speakers: Smruti Patel, Global Mentoring Initiatives & Alliance for Empowering Partnership Naomi Tulay-Solanke, Community Health Initiative (CHI) & Liberian Women Humanitarian Network Dr. Marie-Noëlle AbiYaghi, Lebanon Support


The webinar will help explore:

  • The support that local and national actors are receiving from the international community as per Grand Bargain (GB)commitments during the Covid-19 response
  • The importance of tracking progress against the GB commitments using the 7 dimensions framework
  • Increased challenges faced during the Covid-19 crisis and potential solutions
  • Experience Sharing of local and national organisations from different regions


The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time. In addition to the loss of lives and the disruption to millions of lives, the economic damage is already significant and far-reaching.

However, the COVID-19 crisis response and the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) presents opportunities to accelerate progress on the Grand Bargain commitments and reverse the existing inequities. Local and national civil society organisations have a critical role to play and have been at the forefront of the response to COVID-19. They have been supporting efforts of their governments and providing information, providing food and physio social assistance and more. Their support has been critical also because drastically reduced international travel and supply lines had made large scale international mobilization impossible. Many international actors are also dealing with their own operational disruptions and domestic COVID-19 crisis.

The webinar will provide a framework for localisation and exchange experiences from different regions and discuss how localisation is progressing, the challenges it encountered and the way forward. These discussions will help to capture the views of local and national NGOs and the recommendations from the discussions will contribute to the GHRP revision progress which is taking place after every 6 weeks.

Community World Service Asia is hosting a series of learning and experience sharing events in Asia, particularly focusing on the steps taken by organisations to blunt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar is a part of this learning program and jointly hosted by CWSA and the Alliance for Empowering Partnerships (A4EP).

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. CWSA is a member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance and a Sphere regional partner.

The Alliance for Empowering Partnerships (A4EP) is a network of organisations committed to rebalancing the humanitarian architecture and practices to enable locally-led responses. Their vision is a world where sustainable, independent and accountable local organisations promote a society based on democratic principles, equality and social justice, and particularly in aid-recipient countries, are leading voices and play a leading role in relief and humanitarian assistance.

This 90-minute webinar will also be an opportunity for sharing best practices from participants and how they have taken into account the current crisis, including best practices in partnering and advocating for localisation in country, regionally and internationally.

Register here: Localisation during COVID-19

  • null

    Smruti Patel

    Smruti is the founder and Co-Director of the Global Mentoring Initiatives based in Switzerland. She has been working in the humanitarian sector since 1995. Smurti Patel was a member of the Tsunami Evaluation team for Multi-Agency Thematic Evaluation: Impact of the tsunami response on local and national capacities, and since then has been an active advocate for locally led responses. She lead the development of Network of Empowered Aid Response (NEAR) from idea on paper to the launch of the network at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 and has been involved in the research to develop localisation framework for the Start Network, to assess and measure their progress towards localisation. The “Seven Dimensions Localisation Framework” has been used and adapted by many organisations and regions. Smruti is now actively involved in advocating for the change in the humanitarian system to more locally led responses. She is a member of the Charter4Change coordination group and a member of the International Convening Committee of Alliance for Empowering Partnership.

  • null

    Naomi Tulay-Solanke

    Naomi Tulay-Solanke is a Liberian Feminist, a human rights activist, a humanitarian and the Founder Executive Director of Community Health Initiative (CHI), a national non-governmental organization that is providing healthcare and social services to women and children in underserved and hard to reach communities in Liberia since 2014. Naomi is a founding member of the Liberian Women Humanitarian Network also a founding member of NEAR and the Feminist Humanitarian Network. She is passionate about the role and recognition of local actors in humanitarian work.

  • null

    Dr. Marie-Noëlle AbiYaghi

    Dr. AbiYaghi is a political scientist. She is a founding member and the current director of Lebanon Support, an interdisciplinary action-oriented research center. She specializes in contentious politics, the sociology of public action, and the political economy of knowledge production in the MENA. AbiYaghi has held positions in academia as well as international organisations. She strives to create spaces for synergy between the scientific community and the practitioner field.

Photo credit: ACT Government-Australia

Key principles of safe and efficient complaints handling Ways to develop key messages on raising awareness on the need for complaints systems Increased challenges during Covid-19 crisis and potential solutions

These were the discussion points of the webinar on Remote Complaints Response Mechanism (CRM) and the Collective Feedback Mechanism the context of COVID-19 hosted by Community World Service Asia and Act Church of Sweden on May 13th.

More than 200 humanitarian and development practitioners took part in this two-hour webinar that offered a wide range of expertise and knowledge-sharing from across the word.

Ester Dross, expert in humanitarian accountability, facilitated the session and was joined by panelists Madiha Shafi from the Danish Refugee Council, Turkey, Syed Rashid Bin Jamal, PSEA Officer of Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), Bangladesh, Sameera Noori, Managing Director at Asia Leaders Organization for Humanitarian Aid), Afghanistan, Khadar Abdulahi Nur, CRM Officer for Danish Refugee Council, Somalia and Iqbal Shahid, Program Specialist for Concern Worldwide in Pakistan.

Upholding Quality and Accountability and Maintaining Performance during COVID-19

When operating in a humanitarian environment, we are all mindful of the power imbalance. The most vulnerable have the least power. That leads to a gap between what we want to accomplish and what communities want to receive or how they want to be treated. It has led many organizations to agree on principles that will strengthen their responsibility to right holders and members of the society.

During the COVID-19 crises, accountability is even more important. Given the need for many of our staff to work remotely and the challenges with participation an information sharing, there can often be an increase rather than a decrease in inappropriate behavior or gaps in programming and implementation, leading to complaints

. shared Ester.

Going a bit back in time, discussions on accountability have finally led to the Core Humanitarian Standard in 2015. The overall aim of the standard is to put communities and people affected by the crisis at the center, based on the Humanitarian principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Independence, and Neutrality. The commitments focus on the quality of the response, the structure of the projects, and the response and the organization itself and its resources. Ester added,

If our organizations and staff do not live up to our commitments or cause negative impacts, it is crucial for people to be able to raise concerns.

Ester discussed the key pillars to ensure that organizations have a robust system of Complaints and Responses.

Our system needs to be accessible! This not only includes access in the sense of locations but also access considering various capabilities (children, disabled, elderly, minorities, women etc.). It must be entirely inclusive, taking into account the circumstances of possible complainants.

How safe is our system? Can people access it without taking risks? Security for everyone includes physical and psychosocial safety and health problems. Community must be able to access communications modes with ease.

Confidentiality is key so that community members feel that they are secure and can entrust us with sensitive information. Information and details on complaints need to be safeguarded from any intentional or unintentional disclosure.

The system needs to be transparent. Potential users need to be provided transparent mechanism information.

The COVID-19 virus has presented a stress test for organizations worldwide, with the internet playing a crucial role in keeping critical infrastructure and resources connected and available. The panelists shared best practices and asked participants to further share how their organizations are managing programs in the current crisis, while maintaining high levels of quality and accountability and adhering to relevant standards, specifically the Core Humanitarian Standard, which is key for successful complaints handling.

Recommendations Highlighted:

  • Effective social media management is key for information sharing in this crisis
  • Staff training on misconduct and Protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) to highlight expected behavior when responding to COVID-19 especially in remote areas
  • Development of pamphlets to share free helpline numbers for counseling and feedback
  • Organizations urged to review Complaints Response Mechanisms to ensure once complains are received, they can be channeled to appropriate staff as quickly as possible
  • Review IT structure, data management, official communicating software and digital media interaction to ensure that confidentiality of reports is not breached
  • Develop a channel through which complaints at community-level reach programmatic teams at offices efficiently through effective use of mobile phones
  • Seek alternative remote communication channels that will best suit discussing issues of sensitive nature and communicate clearly to the communities on the channels available. In this case branding of your CRM channel is essential to distinguish between reliable channels and fake ones
  • Trust is very important, if affected people feel they can trust us then they will gain confidence to share complaints
  • Good mapping of existing information pathways that continue to operate during the crisis is needed. This can be leveraged for complaint feedback and response mechanisms
  • Involve differently abled persons (who are 15% of the population) in the CRM process and ask them what the best accessibility is for them. How can we as humanitarian workers best cater to their needs to improve accessibility? How can we adapt the messages? How can they be involved efficiently?
  • Gender implications must be considered in CRM channels as well. A gender balance in committees and recruitment of more women call operators is encouraged

Photo Credit: Muhammad Hamed (REUTERS)

Without education, there is darkness around us. There is no ray of hope about when the schools will reopen. However, we, as teachers, have to remain strong and deliver our best to overcome this challenge. A time will come when the schools will be filled with children and that is when we will collectively fill all gaps and deliver quality education once again,

says Talib Hussain who is a teacher at the Nationalized Muslim School in Maheshwari Para, Umerkot, Pakistan.

Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to UNESCO, the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the closure of most of the educational institutions across the globe has also affected the education of 46.8 million schoolchildren in Pakistan. Millions of young and old learners will be further affected by the crisis in the near future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the whole sphere of life including businesses, schools, hospitals and other working spaces. The lockdown has gravely affected the academic system and has had a huge impact on students and teachers especially in the rural areas as we have limited access to the internet and advance tech to apply remote teaching,

shares Talib Hussain.

The unavailability or limited internet connection among students is a major hindrance in the continuation of teaching or school activities and homework. Students are unable to continue studying from home.. They need a mentor to guide them with their studies. Most poverty-stricken households in Umerkot do not have access to the internet or smartphones. Consequently, an online alternative is challenging to adopt here,

added Talib disappointedly,

There is a need for online classes to resume studies and engage students back to learning. But the lack of resources to purchase android phones and internet connections for teachers and students is a very costly initiative.

 Investing in the internet or smart technology is out of the question, especially at a time like this when communities have lost their livelihoods and incomes are either nil or at a bare minimum.

Even though Umerkot is far from being a well-developed area, people in its villages have still been severely affected by the COIVD-19 lockdown. The families of daily wagers and those working in bigger urban hubs are suffering the most as their sources of income has diminished.

People are running out of food and essential household needs. The government has initiated the Ehsaas1 Program to provide relief to people on the basis of merit, transparency and impartiality. However, the aid is not sufficient for large families, having limited resources, to cater for all members in the family. If the situation is not contained soon, it will become tougher to facilitate a huge majority of the poorest populations,

expressed Talib worriedly.

Talib makes sure he informs and updates his own children regularly on the developments of the coronavirus pandemic. He ensures they keep their hands clean, use sanitizers when needed and wear masks when leaving the house.

Seeing that children are disengaged from studies, I often wear my teacher hat and try to ensure they spend some time studying and learn something new at home each day. However, not every parent possesses such skill or knowledge that I have been trained with. But they can try. Therefore, in addition to building awareness on COVID-19, we must also sensitize parents to engage their children in reading and writing exercises at home. This way children will spend some time with their books rather than watching television or playing around the whole day. If this lockdown exceeds till June, it will become necessary for the government to work on alternative education plans to ensure the continuation of learning and gaining literacy.

  1. Launched on March 27, 2019, the objective of Ehsaas is to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift lagging districts. Under the Ehsaas program 12,000 Rupees is given as per family via SMS Registration.

Jeevo Kolhi quietly stands with his vegetable cart, in the scorching heat, by the side of the street in the city of Hyderabad in Sindh, hoping someone will stop by and buy some vegetables from his cart. Though Jeevo’s small business has fortunately been excluded from the Province’s lockdown measures, his sales have been gravely affected and his problems have multiplied.

There is a new policy everyday. Most days, without any warning, the authorities raise the stringency and lockout measures and ask us to wind up the cart and return to our homes before our business day has even started. Since the vegetables I sell are perishable products, I cannot keep them in storage and shut my business for even a day.

Jeevo was only able to carry on his business for three days out of the whole week at the end of April.

The government has allowed vegetables to be sold till 5 p.m daily as soon as the clock hits 4 p.m., enforcement officials become aggressive and start ordering us to return to our homes immediately. This has made our businesses barely functional

The revenue from Jeevo’s daily sales has also dropped since people are reluctant to come out and buy anything from small vendors such as him, assuming vendors on carts would lack hygiene and protective measures.

I take care of cleanliness and make sure all vegetables and my hands are clean so people should not be scared to buy vegetables from me or from those who run small vegetable carts like me,

shared Jeevo.

With nine children and a wife to support, Jeevo is struggling to make daily earnings sufficient to feed the family of eleven.

Before the lockdown our life was good. We were making all ends meet as I was not the only income bearer. My wife and three daughters work as house-cleaning maids in the neighborhood and would earn a monthly salary from it. Since the lockdown, they have all lost their jobs. They will only be able to restart work if the virus is contained and the lockdown is lifted. Until then I am the sole bread earner for my family.

Jeevo and many other families like his are suffering from unemployment, food insecurity and poverty amid the coronavirus crisis. Jeevo is apprehensive that if the outbreak continues and the lockdown does not end, he and his children will have to resort to asking for charity and food to survive.

I look after cleanliness so people should not be conscious to buy vegetables from me and from those who run small vegetable carts.

When: May 27, 2020
What time: 2:00 PM (Pakistan Standard Time)
Where: ZOOM – Link to be shared
Language: English
How long: 90 minutes
Who is it for: Humanitarian and development practitioners working in or with hard-to-reach areas, NGOs, and INGOs involved in COVID19 response all over the world
Format: Presentation and sharing of Best Practices
Moderator & Facilitator: Ester Dross

A key aspect of our shared commitment towards Accountability to Affected People is an organisation’s ability to develop or review organisational policy relating to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and managing internal investigations.

The webinar will help explore;

  • Key principles of protection from sexual exploitation and abuse
  • The importance of information and participation from communities and innovative ways to develop key messages on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse-related risks
  • Increased challenges during Covid-19 crisis and potential solutions

Community World Service Asia and Act Church of Sweden are jointly conducting a webinar on good practice for the protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and potential misconduct committed by humanitarian workers. Since in many places we have to operate remotely, the threats of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as fraud and corruption are more likely to rise than decrease. We need to be vigilant and be prepared.

The webinar will help in managing staff misconduct, with a particular focus on sexual exploitation and abuse of project participants by staff. Additionally, it explores safeguarding strategies that managers can implement in their organisations to reduce the risk of exploitation and abuse and improve their organisation’s capacity to receive and respond to allegations of staff misconduct.

This 90-minute webinar will also be an opportunity for sharing best practices from participants and how they have taken into account the current crisis, including best practices for inclusion, information sharing, recruitments and trainings on prevention and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. CWSA is a member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance, a member of Sphere and their regional partner in Asia and also manages the ADRRN Quality & Accountability Hub in Asia.

Act Church of Sweden is a faith-based organisation that works for positive, long-term and sustainable change. Collaborating and cooperating with other organisations is at the core of Church of Sweden’s international mission. By working with local organisations, Act Church of Sweden contributes to long-term sustainable development in the contexts in which their partner organisations operate.

If you wish to participate, kindly register here: Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

Applicants will be informed latest by the 22nd of May about their confirmation status. Up to 200 participants will be accommodated on a first come first serve basis. In addition, we would appreciate anyone willing to share some best practices on the webinar topic and we will select 5 – 7 participants to share them during the webinar. Additional best practices will be compiled into guidance for wider circulation.


Ester Dross – Independent Consultant

Ms. Dross is an independent consultant with over 25 years of experience, specializing in accountability, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, gender and child protection.

Ms. Dross had extensive exposure to humanitarian certification systems and accountability to affected populations while working with HAP International as their Complaints Handling and Investigation Advisor, later as their Certification Manager. She has been closely involved in the Building Safer Organizations Project since 2005, dealing with sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries, particularly focusing on gender and child protection. Over the last 6 years and since working as an independent consultant, Ester has been leading a pilot project for FAO on accountability and gender mainstreaming in emergencies and working with numerous NGOs including ACT Alliance members, supporting and training their staff on gender issues, child protection, accountability, complaints handling and investigations. She is an experienced investigator herself and has conducted investigations in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How do we see the future of the aid sector in uncertain times? In a crisis like this, what sort of leadership shall we apply? Even when lockdowns are eased out or ended, how can humanitarian leaders be prepared and what challenges should they be expecting?

These questions were posed to an expert panel at the Community World Service Asia and ACT Church of Sweden’s webinar held on May 7th highlighting the crucial role of and best practices adapted by humanitarian leaders at an organizational and community level to manage the impact of a crisis such as the COVID-19. Tanya Wood, Executive Director of the CHS Alliance, was joined by panelists Deepmala Mahla, Regional Director for Asia of CARE, and Ayesha Salma, Group Head of Quality Assurance, Research and Design for Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). The webinar was moderated by Uma Narayanan  Independent Consultant and specialist on human resources and organizational development.

Leaders face a new kind of challenge

Crisis has a way to show, change direction and recalibrate what leadership is actually about. With the COVID-19 pandemic being the biggest public health issue of our day, having a far-reaching impact on economies and human lives, leaders are faced with a new kind of challenge.

While there are significant efforts to respond to COVID-19 pandemic through various needs, humanitarian and development organizations continue to explore their own ability to survive, to sustain, to bounce back and move forward. Most of you can relate to this. The role of leadership is crucial in current settings

said Uma Narayanan, while moderating and outlining the agenda of the webinar.

Ayesha Salma highlighted that leadership emerges in adversity and professionals must take this crisis as a real opportunity to exhibit that. She touched upon three main points that leadership in PPAF is focusing on, namely, business continuity, economic revival and innovative measures.

Citing Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund’s example, Ayesha shared that the leadership’s first initiative was to ensure their staff were equipped with the right information to protect themselves.

We have adopted a daily mechanism to convey updated, positive messages to staff and encourage them to take this as an opportunity to exercise their leadership skills. Moreover, the agility and adaptability to switch systems was important which was built on the basis of our IT platforms and our regular HR disciplines that helped our organization survive this crisis. The staff is responsible for sharing weekly work updates to supervisors, which are then shared with HR. We have seen a critical strategic gain from doing so because it has allowed employees in this lockout to refocus their resources on more high value research. So many positive things have come out of this new way of working for us.

Deepmala pointed out the need for the humanitarian sector to look at its essence of work.

We’re used to working in groups; interacting with people, traveling to the neighborhoods, visiting households. We can’t work physically within the existing environment. For that cause we have to change our way of functioning radically. That needs new ideas, a new way of providing leadership at the organizational level.

Participants raised concerns about the ability to lead organizations in countries where the majority live below the poverty line and there is little support for aid organizations to respond.  Deepmala responded to that saying,

That is a real challenge and communities need actual support. In this critical moment, leaders have to work at three levels – community, system and policy. Another key part of our roles working as humanitarian workers is to advocate and influence governments to act, donors to fund.

Continue to ‘Put People at the Centre’

One of the primary problems encountered in leadership positions is to achieve a balance between the humanitarian imperative and the caring obligation.

As a humanitarian organization, the first priority needs to be the protection of the people in any decision and action, living up to our humanitarian mandate. Your greatest responsibility, at the same time, is to take care of your staff, to support and protect them and to ensure their well-being. Consequently, leadership should be flexible and capable of putting in innovative approaches to promote and bringing out the positivity from the new way of work,

highlights Deepmala.

Remembering the core humanitarian mandate was identified as an important part of leadership in this situation. Panelists agreed that there must be commitment towards achieving long-term economic recovery and protection of communities.

Deepmala discussed the importance of focusing on the impact of the crisis at the community level as well. Though everyone is trying to help communities, there still might be ignorance at community-level about COVID-19 and its preventive measures. The impracticality of the global health advice is physical distancing and staying at home. When advising to stay at home, one is assuming that the individuals have a home with livable conditions and food to last a few days. One must remember that this is an assumption and not the reality in many cases around the world.

In addition, many communities have self-isolated themselves, not allowing any outsider to join which has made it impossible for humanitarian workers to access those groups.

We are also aware of the major livelihoods crisis communities are facing at this point; millions are made practically homeless, without having the necessary food and meals. This is the community we are accountable to serve. For this reason, we have to firstly identify leadership at community level. Any intervention can succeed if only the community is involved and with the community itself leading.

With a number of CHS members participating in the webinar, the light was shed on the basic foundation of CHS being accountable to whom we serve, and to keep that as a basis for organizational operations and response in this pandemic. CHS aims to create and improve the transparency of organizations and to ensure its rooted in the organizational community, strategies, procedures, and activities. Tanya shared that the CHS has been made available in the plainest language to make it understandable as possible. There is a need for organizations to promote the CHS in and with communities as it tells communities on what to expect and on what they can hold the aid community accountable for. Maintaining an open and accessible forum for workers to express their thoughts, feedback and ideas, such as providing a virtual suggestion box online was highly recommended.

Communication and Compassion

Another key aspect that emerged from the discussion from speakers and participants alike was communications. Lack of and improper communications is one of the biggest challenge in the current crisis.

Communications is at the heart of CHS. CHS is working on a report which shows how as a sector we are meeting our commitments to the CHS and unfortunately it shows that the one thing we as humanitarians are challenged with is communications. This relates to communicating with the people and with each other. We have planned to launch a research piece on how organizations are adapting on Complaint and Feedback Mechanism. We have to make sure that we are adapting and that this mechanism is visible, well-staffed, well-managed and well-referred as they can possibly be, 

highlighted Tanya.

For many years the humanitarian sector has all been about being fast, life-saving and reaching more and more people. This means we have invested heavily in efficiency-centered programs and processes. The question is, have we neglected some of the fundamental principles of humanity, how we work and not to lose compassion?

Talking about CHS’s initiatives on staff care and compassion, Tanya shared,

At CHS, we’ve been working on an effort that we need to push three areas of change; we need to be more compassionate internally, we need to be more compassionate with our staff, and we need to create environments that reflect how we care towards our staff and their mental health and well-being. The moto we are using is ‘You have to be well to serve others well’. Part of that is a launch of a series of conversions to see what it looks like in different parts of the globe, to see how we promote and be compassionate in our organizations.

Tanya Woods shared the CHS Commitment and COVID-19 with participants who were seeking recommendations on new trends on funding, inclusion, and engaging with communities.

More than 178 humanitarian and development practitioners from 29 countries representing the continents of Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe took part in this ninety-minute webinar.

When highlighting the future of the aid sector post the pandemic, Tanya Woods said,

One of the opportunities that is forced amongst us from this crisis is to fill the hole in role of national and local NGOs and where INGOs have to play a more supportive role rather than a directive one. It will be interesting to see how this plays out within the sector.

Ayesha added,

Because of the lack of capital at a global level, creating your own revenue streams would be the most important in the immediate future. Now is the moment to innovate!


Sharing the opinions and suggestions with people around us will encourage them to follow you and innovate. Never underestimate the importance of reflecting your sincerity. This is the best opportunity to develop solutions in respect to structures that are revolutionary and successful in solving the current situation. As per our needs, we can still build what’s fit for purpose.

Ayesha Salma

This is an important time for organizations to outline a “duty of care” framework for staff and communities, and find how duty of care covers different groups in different circumstances. It will not be the same in all circumstances. In normal situations, duty of care is fulfilled by many arrangements in the org, but there is greater responsibility in these situations. So we identify gaps in policies, process, systems and interventions.

Aliya H.

Organizations who want to continue implementing their activities on grounds must consider and keep in loop the grass roots organization who are really at front lines.

Fayyaz Noor

Two years ago we saw a different type of phenomena that impacted our sector that was the #MeToo movement. We have seen the trend, particularly through INGOs, a public rebuttal where there is a disparity in how organizations act and how they do not comply with the principles they teach. It is a reminder to us that as humanitarians we are always judged and rightfully so on how we respond to that crisis and COVID is going to do that again. I would like to applaud Community World Service Asia for supporting such outstanding webinars, uniting people, thinking about what is relevant, talking about topics such as leadership, caring and kindness, which are really necessary.

Tanya Wood

Facilitated by: James Thomson, Act for Peace

When: May 20, 2020
What time: 2:00 PM Pakistan Standard Time
Where: ZOOM – Link to be shared
Language: English
How long: 75 minutes

Who is it for: Humanitarian and development practitioners requiring a better understanding of protection programming tools, methods and types of protective programming

Purpose: To ensure participants have a sound understanding of effective, results-based protection work, and a more advanced understanding of core protection programming methods, and types of protective programming, including:

  1. Mainstreaming protection in assistance programs
  2. Integrated protection programs, and;
  3. Stand-alone protection programs


Community World Service Asia and Act for Peace are jointly hosting this webinar on Foundations of Effective Protection Programming.

Given the rapid escalation of serious protection risks in virtually every humanitarian context as a result of the COVID crisis, it is now more important than ever for agencies to understand what protection responsibilities they have, and how they can pro-actively prevent, mitigate and respond to abuses. This webinar focuses on the core methods and foundations for protection programs aimed at reducing the risk of serious harm to vulnerable groups as a result of violence, coercion and the deliberate deprivation of rights and access to information, services and resources. This includes a focus on:

  • Protection risk analysis and methods for reducing risks
  • The logic of protective programming and core methods and approaches
  • The relevance of rights, responsibilities and accountabilities in protection
  • The main types of protection activities and programs

This 75-minute webinar will also give participants an opportunity to share existing best practices and ask practical questions about protection policy, practice, standards and other issues.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. CWSA is a member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance, a member of Sphere and their regional partner in Asia and also manages the ADRRN Quality & Accountability Hub in Asia.

Act for Peace is the aid and development agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia and a member of the global ACT Alliance. Act for Peace’s approach to protection starts with the recognition that affected communities not only have the right, the capacity and the desire to engage in protective action but are often the main actors in their own protection in crisis contexts. Having localised its approach to humanitarian and development practice many decades ago – and being focused on strengthening the effectiveness of locally-led protection efforts – Act for Peace works with a wide range of local partners to strengthen community-based protection in disasters, conflicts and displacement situations across the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

If you wish to participate, kindly register here: Register here

Applicants will be informed by May 16th about their confirmation status. Up to 200 participants will be accommodated on a first come first serve basis. All participants will be requested to share best practices on the topic under discussion in the webinar. Out of all the contributions, up to 4 participants will be selected to share their experiences.

Webinar Moderator & Facilitator:

James Thomson is the Senior Protection and Policy Advisor at Act for Peace. For the past two decades has specialised protection advocacy, standard-setting, programming and capacity development. He has extensive experience as a protection trainer, has delivered over 30 protection trainings for local organisations and communities, and worked closely with local partners in a wide variety of contexts to support capacity development, program design, policy development and advocacy. Over the past 20 years, he has also engaged extensively in a wide range of protection policy, standard-setting and practice initaitves at the regional and global level.

Theme and Purpose:

Theme of World Social Work Day for the year 2020 is “Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships”, which will be globally observed. Traditionally, existing relationships in the society based on some tested and sustainable norms and values and production activities are losing their entity at the advent of the forces of disequilibrium and failing to base on alternative legal and economic foundations. Public governance system has already surrendered to the market forces especially in economically challenged countries, where the sovereignty crisis has taken a new form and governments are relentlessly striving to overcome the crisis with all means. The vital work of social workers can be seen in a wide variety of settings “whether we work in physical health, mental health, schools, child protection, aged care, disability, family violence, academia or management, we bring the values of our profession to wherever we work.”

Read more

When: May 14, 2020

What time: 11:00 AM (PST)

Where: ZOOM – Link to be shared

Language: English

How long: 75 minutes

Who is it for: Humanitarian and development practitioners working in or with hard-to-reach areas, NGOs, and INGOs involved in COVID19 response


Following the first webinar that focused on the role of Human Resources in remote management of staff, this webinar will focus on the role of Managers in remote management of staff.

The webinar will explore:

  • Challenges faced by organisations in remote management of staff
  • Best practices, Mechanisms and Principles adopted by organisations for effective staff management


Community World Service Asia and Act Church of Sweden are jointly organising this webinar on Remote Management and the Role of Managers in the context of COVID-19.

Organisations have a responsibility to ensure their staff are well supported to do their job effectively and treated equitably, including during the lock-down imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This webinar will explore some of the challenges in remote management and the role of managers in facilitating an effective remote management process. In so doing, the webinar will offer some of the mechanisms, principles and practices adopted by organizations to assure an effective approach to remote management of staff.

This 75-minute webinar will also be an opportunity for participants to share best practices and how staff and organisations have taken into account the current crisis, including application of relevant quality and accountability standards, specifically the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. CWSA is member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance, a member of Sphere and their regional partner in Asia and also manages the ADRRN Quality & Accountability Hub in Asia.

Act Church of Sweden is a faith-based organization that works for positive, long-term and sustainable change. Collaborating and cooperating with other organisations is at the core of Church of Sweden’s international mission. By working with local organisations, Act Church of Sweden contributes to long-term sustainable development in the contexts in which their partner organisations operate.

If you wish to participate, kindly register here: Registration – Role of Managers In Remote Management

Up to 200 participants will be accommodated on a first come first serve basis. In addition, we would appreciate anyone willing to share some best practices on the webinar topic and we will select 2 – 3 participants.


Ms. Uma Narayanan, specializes in human resources, organizational development and accountability for medium to large-scale organizations in the humanitarian sector. Ms. Narayanan has a background in International Organizational and Systems Development and worked as an Organization Development and Human Resources practitioner mostly in Southeast Asia and South Asia, for more than a decade. In her OD capacity, she has carried out numerous assignments on program reviews, evaluations and organizational assessments.

Ms. Narayanan is committed to quality and accountability and is a Sphere and Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) trainer and advisor. She also assists organizations in conducting HR related and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) related investigations. As an accredited associate executive coach, she has added coaching of middle and senior management as part of her portfolio.