Yearly Archives: 2022


    “How do we handle complaints? What are the processes involved during the investigation? Today, we will understand key principles of an investigation and have clarity on the investigative processes from the angle of the organisation, independent investigator and the complainant / survivor,” said Ester Dross, lead facilitator of the webinar titled, ‘Handling Complaints, Managing Investigations’, conducted on February 2, 2022.

    As part of the Quality & Accountability (Q&A) Week 2021, the fourth virtual event, jointly hosted and organised by ADRRN’s Quality and Accountability (Q&A) Hub, Sphere, CHS Alliance, ACT Alliance, ALNAP and Community World Service Asia (CWSA), was more focused on exploring ways to manage investigations.

    Ester Dross was joined by panelist Susan Grant, InternationalSafeguarding Director from Save the Children International and Nabila Myers, Complainant. More than 60 humanitarian and development practitioners, from Asia and Europe, participated in this 90-minute webinar that discussed a wide array of diverse expertise and knowledge on safeguarding from all over the region.

    44% of the participants have been investigating complaints, while 37% are managers of the Complaint Response Mechanism at their respective organisations. The remaining 19% have been indirect and direct witnesses, experts or whistleblowers.

    Complaints are an important way for the management of an organisation to be accountable to the public, as well as providing valuable prompts to review organisational performance and the conduct of people that work within and for it.

    While discussing the key principles of managing investigations, Ester Dross said, Confidentiality is essential to build trust with the users of the complaint system and the investigation teams. Another key principle is that the investigation must be survivor/victim centred in terms of health, welfare, safety, legal and dynamic risk assessment. Moreover, the investigation processes need to be thorough and planned to execute the investigation professionally. It is equally important to work in partnership if a complaint involves different organisations. Respect for everyone from the survivor to the whistleblower and the different witnesses and managers involved in the processes is key to guarantee fair outcomes.”

    Responsibilities can differ from organisation to organisation in the investigation processes. “Usually there is a Board or Senior Management who has the overall responsibility of the process. Then there is the crisis/case management team who sets up the investigation in terms of terms of reference (ToR), identification of investigation team, initial document gathering and logistics. The investigation team, led by an expert or team leader, conducts the investigation and is tasked with document review, interviews, ongoing risk assessment, analysis, report writing and identifying external support if needed (child counsellor, legal expert, psychologist, etc.). The witnesses have a key responsibility to participate truthfully and are bound to confidentiality,” shared Ester.

    Taking Action and implementing the Zero Tolerance Principle is a Key Responsibility

    “As an international organisation,we have an obligation to ensure that we are doing everything we can to avoid sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of children and the affected population,” said Susan while speaking about the responsibility of international organisations in the investigation processes.

    Why are we investigating or addressing these allegations?

    In response to this question, Susan said, Since 2017, there has been increasing scrutiny with regards to international organisations on sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment committed by working staff. The Charity Commission of the United Kingdom, donors, media, and the general public all contributed to this scrutiny. As a result, there was a lot of pressure on organisations to put emphasis on safeguarding and take a more compliance-oriented approach. We must strike that balance and ensure that the investigations are carried out because we want truth, justice, and fairness.”

    “At Save the Children, our goals for 2022 are to increase the quality of our investigations and strive towards more consistency of that quality throughout the regions and countries we operate in. We are seeing this as a chance to reinforce and communicate periodically, to the senior management and throughout the organisation, the importance of supporting any investigations into violations, sexual exploitation, and abuse against children and adults,” Susan added.

    Speaking out as a complainant in the investigation process

    Nabila moved from Kuala Lumpur to Nairobi for a six-month role at an international organisation as head of partnerships, where she believed she could show her leadership potential. Instead, she became a survivor of sexual harassment. “I reported the case after two weeks of being sexually harassed by a colleague. In late November 2019, I was contacted by an investigator in relation to my complaint — three months after it was initially lodged. In that period of three months, I was subjected to retaliation and rumouring at a level I did not expect. I had peers and colleagues from other agencies contacting me with their version of the story. Moreover, my personal life and relationships outside and within the organisation were questioned and scrutinised.”

    After being questioned repeatedly at professional and personal, Nabila became a different person. “I was not as friendly, smiley or open as I used to be. My perpetrator was not put on immediate leave, instead I was continuously exposed to him. Only after approaching a specific person at leadership level for answers did I receive a response from the HR department.”

    Nabila was told her charges had been substantiated and disciplinary sanctions were enforced nine months after she filed her complaint. “I was given no information about these measures, and when I asked for additional information about the disciplinary action taken, I was informed I did not have the legal right to know any further,” Nabila said.

    Nabila is now devoting her time to communicating to other survivors. This is not just one woman’s narrative. This is the story of many women. It is also crucial to note that many women are not as confident or assertive as men are when it comes to confronting such occurrences. Going through the investigation process as a complainant was the loneliest experience I have ever had. I am one of the few people that is publicly speaking up. To empower more women to share their stories or fight against SEAH, a network has been developed to unite survivors, called Nanshe. More platforms like this are needed to raise awareness on violations, discrimination, and harassment within and outside of organisations.”

    “This is not about any single individual. This is about the system and changing it to address the concerns and challenges and protecting individuals at risk,” said Ester as a conclusion to the exchanges made during this webinar.

    Follow the Learning Journey on Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding
    Update on Virtual Learning Session I: LEARN

    The second session of this Learning Journey on Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding, facilitated by Sylvie Robert, included a panel discussion which was joined by Wassila Mansouri, from Sphere and Bonaventure Sokpoh, from the CHS Alliance to share the basics, few updates and best practices of applying quality and accountability standards such as the Sphere standards, the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) and the Humanitarian Standards Partnership (HSP).

    Sylvie introduced the session saying, “Today, we will update each other on how various initiatives can be taken at the field level to enhance quality and accountability through increased community engagement. It will be interesting to have an update from the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), Sphere Standards and the Humanitarian Standards Partnership and gather views on how we are – or could – practically apply these in the best possible way.”

    40 humanitarian and development practitioners from Asia and the Middle East participated in the half-day Virtual Learning Session ‘UPDATE’.

    Bringing the Core Humanitarian Standard & Sphere Standards Closer to People We Serve

    While discussing the content of the Core Humanitarian Standard, Bonaventure shared, “The Standard places people affected by crisis at the centre of humanitarian action, and it sets out nine Commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide. The CHS has been built upon a bottom-up approach that contributes to harmonising and strengthening the coherence of humanitarian actions. We should apply the CHS not only to improve the organisation’s accountability to people affected by disaster, conflict or poverty but also to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the organisation’s work.”

    Referring to the Sphere Standards, Wassila said, Sphere has always put people at the centre of humanitarian action, recognizing that their active engagement is essential to ensure assistance meets people’s needs and supports them in their recovery. There is stronger wording throughout the Sphere Handbook 2018 that recommends working with affected people at all stages of the response instead of simply consulting them.”

    Applying CHS to local contexts. Relevant Commitment and Key Actions:

    “All the commitments are applicable in the context of the Syrian community and the organisations working on ground in Syria. However, our discussion identified Commitment 8[1] as most relevant as achieving this commitment will lead to fulfilling the other commitments. Consequently, one of the key actions to assign funds to strengthen the role and build capacity of individuals involved in MEAL[2] as their efficient involvement in the implementation of the standards will allow organisation to efficiently work towards achieving the standards and ensure quality, accountability & safeguarding. In addition, opportunities such as sessions, seminars and virtual events should be conducted where organisations can share experiences and best practice to increase learning.” B. S. from Syria

    “We have seen that many organisations in Afghanistan are developing and enforcing policies and guidelines adhering to the Core Humanitarian and Sphere Standards. Organisations have mainstreamed the standards in their Code of Conducts and Safeguarding & Protection Policies. The mainstreaming of the standards in the project planning and designing have empowered communities and increased their participation in the interventions,” Dr. Naqibullah D. from Afghanistan

    “Continuous awareness raising is mandatory for humanitarian aid workers, especially individuals working directly with the communities. Actions should be taken to make the standards available in local languages so that the communities can understand and relate to the commitments effectively.” Samreen Qaimi from Pakistan

    Engaging communities while applying Sphere and the Humanitarian Standard Partnership (HSP)

    “Local structures formed in the communities such as Steering and Village committees allows increased community engagement and ownership. Some organisations in India are conducting Community Accountability Assessment to assess, design, implement, monitor and evaluate community engagement and accountability activities in support of programmes and operations, especially under the themes of safeguarding and PSEAH.” Tooba Siddique from Pakistan

    “Communication with the communities is key. It gives an open channel for communities and relevant stakeholders to convey the needs and ways to address the needs. Focal Group Discussions, awareness sessions, capacity building workshops and direct interviews are some few channels, which allows communities to learn about the process and relevant details of the planned intervention. Volunteers from the communities is another effective way to ensure community engagement in project interventions.” D. J. from Syria

    “Communities should be motivated to be part of the impact that the projects aim to achieve. Motivation can be built through capacity building opportunities and their involvement in decision-making processes. Engaging in project interventions provides community members with the opportunity to become active members of their community and has a lasting, positive impact on society at large. It also helps communities develop civic and social responsibility skills and become more aware of what their community needs.” Fawzia J. from Afghanistan

    Follow our Twitter Handle @communitywsasia for Live Updates from this Learning Journey

    1. Communities and people affected by crisis receive the assistance they require from competent and well-managed staff and volunteers.
    2. Monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL)


    The first step of a learning journey on ‘Quality, Accountability to Affected Populations and Safeguarding’ kick started on February 1, 2022. A series of Virtual Learning Sessions and a Coaching Lab will run over a course of six months (January to June 2022)

    A learning journey on Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding
    Coaching Lab – Capitalisation of Experiences – Learning for the future

    As part of this process, four Virtual Learning Sessions are jointly hosted and organised by Community World Service Asia (CWSA) and ZOA, for the Syria Joint Response (Cordaid, Dorcas, Oxfam, TDH Italy, ZOA and local partners), supported by the Dutch Relief Alliance. Other partners are also involved such as ACT Alliance, Act Church of Sweden, ADRRN’s Quality and Accountability (Q&A) Hub, CHS Alliance, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and Sphere.

    This initiative aims to bring together committed humanitarians who are leaders in promoting and implementing Quality and Accountability and its relevant standards and tools throughout the project/programme cycle. The primary goal is to update them on the latest developments and tools around people centred approaches to quality and accountability, and facilitate localisation, learning and contextualisation in the humanitarian, development and peace nexus.

    While sharing the strategy of the session, Sylvie Robert, who designed this learning strategy and is the lead facilitator, said, “We are all part of this learning journey. We will work together to design improvement plans in a realistic manner, tailored to your context, and provide coaching to monitor these plans to see how we are implementing what we have discussed and agreed to improve. Along the process, we will capitalise experiences at individual and organisational levels and across different organisations and regions. The learning will allow to design the next steps of the journey.”

    Why are we here together?

    “During the Virtual Learning Sessions, we will review what is available in terms of standards and tools, as well as how we can apply and use these across the project or programme cycle,” shared Sylvie.

    65% of the participants joined the session to better understand Quality, Accountability, and Safeguarding, while 30% joined to identify practical ways of mainstreaming Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding. The remaining 5% aim to improve their programming skills.

    Forty-one humanitarian and development practitioners from Asia and the Middle East participated in the first half-day Virtual Learning Session ‘LEARN’ that gave participants a platform to share experiences from a wide array of diverse locations and organisations.

    The session commenced with an introductory video of the Core Humanitarian Standard.  

    ASKs: While applying Quality and Accountability in your work, what limitations and opportunities are you facing in your specific working context? What key actions must be undertaken to uphold Quality and Accountability?

    In response to the questions, participants reviewed, in small groups, good practices, challenges, and gained insights of different humanitarian networks and communities working on the ground on the application of Q&A.

    While sharing key insights from the discussion, Qamar Iqbal from Pakistan said, “Three critical components were underlined to ensure quality and accountability in project intervention: participation, coordination, and communication. Engagement of all stakeholders in every phase of the project cycle management ensures participation of all. Likewise, effective coordination and communication of goals, expectations, successes and challenges are fundamental tenets of quality & accountability. Communities must be clear on the existing complaint response mechanism in place. To use the mechanisms in place efficiently and effectively, all processes and procedures should be properly explained to the necessary stakeholders.”

    In the implementation phase, participants agreed that organisations should be able to adapt to contextual and situational changes. Engaging communities and enabling their effective participation during the planning and assessment phases is a critical challenge for many organisations. To address this concern, several organisations are utilising cutting-edge methods such as Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA)[1]. It is a precursor to cluster/sectoral needs assessments and provides a process for collecting and analysing information on affected people and their needs to inform strategic response planning. People First Impact Method (P-FIM) is another tool and an approach that gives communities a voice. It allows communities to identify the important changes in their lives and what these are attributable to, and reveals the wider dynamics within the life of a community.

    While sharing limitations and opportunities of applying quality & accountability, Fadi Kas Elias from Syria added, In Syria, we have started to focus on the quality of humanitarian interventions since we are at the transition period of emergency to recovery. On the other side, we sometimes place far more emphasis on how to comply with donor requirements than on assuring the effectiveness of interventions. There need to be more coordination between humanitarian actors themselves at ground level to deliver quality assistance, share information and experiences and work together more effectively. Furthermore, we need to raise awareness within the communities we are working with about complaint response processes. Because communities are hesitant to provide feedback, we must encourage them to communicate their experiences and feedback about project interventions more freely and without fear. We can work to strengthen community capacity in areas such as safeguarding, early recovery of livelihoods, localisation, and so on, so that humanitarian actors can rely on them and maximise their influence.”

    Diab J. from Syria shared some of the challenges and key actions with regards to complaint mechanisms, “Communities are hesitant when using the complaint response mechanisms. People fear that help will be cut off or that their safety would be jeopardised as a consequence of a lack of information. As a result, we need to ramp up our public awareness activities so that the CRM can be used productively. Furthermore, humanitarian organisations, particularly at the local level, must collaborate to overcome challenges and effectively serve community needs. To successfully meet the requirements of the communities, we need to strengthen our community mapping. Furthermore, service providers’ capacity building on various standards, such as the Core Humanitarian Standard, is critical in order to have a strong grasp of how to offer humanitarian relief while guaranteeing quality and accountability.”

    ASKs for next session: How do we make it happen practically? What are the key actions we need to see functioning through the project or programme cycle?

    It is imperative to review the adoption and use of Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding throughout the various phases of the Project/Programme Cycle Management. “The initial assessment and design must be prioritised since they will set the tone for the rest of the project cycle. We can connect the project cycle with the humanitarian programme cycle from the global coordination. It gives us an opportunity to advocate for humanitarian principles and guarantee coherence of standards’ application through the cycle phases,” shared Sylvie, in conclusion of this first Virtual Learning Session ‘LEARN’.

    Way Forward
    Participants have been asked to reflect and share their feedback on ‘How they do/would you apply Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding throughout the Project/Programme Cycle’ in their specific context’.

    [1] The Multi-Cluster/Sector Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) is a joint needs assessment tool that can be used in sudden onset emergencies, including IASC System-Wide level 3 Emergency Responses (L3 Responses)

    “Over the last two years we have offered different webinars covering various aspects of Safeguarding. We also continue to raise more awareness in key aspects of Accountability such as establishing efficient and transparent complaint systems and protection from and prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. Safeguarding is a key pillar to any accountability measures that organisations must integrate into their programs and working cycle,” said Palwashay Arbab, from Community Wold Service Asia (CWSA), while speaking in a webinar titled ‘Complaints and Response Mechanism (CRM)’. This webinar was the third one of the webinar series on Safeguarding and Complaints Management.

    As part of the Quality & Accountability (Q&A) Week 2021, the virtual event was jointly hosted and organised by ADRRN’s Quality and Accountability (Q&A) Hub, Sphere, CHS Alliance, ACT Alliance, ALNAP and Community World Service Asia (CWSA).

    Ester Dross, expert in humanitarian accountability, facilitated the session and was joined by panelist Ruby Moshenska, Global Safeguarding Lead, ActionAid International. More than 80 humanitarian and development practitioners,from Asia and Europe, participated in this 90-minute webinar that discussed a wide array of diverse expertise and knowledge on safeguarding from all over the region.

    Speaking about Complaint Response Systems, Ester Dross, shared the need to understand essential components for establishing an efficient complaints and response mechanism, “Complaining is a right and every individual has this right to exercise. We, as humanitarian aid providers, need to receive and respond to complaints efficiently and in a timely manner. For this, the complaint response system should be a formal mechanism in order to deal with all complaints in the same way.”

    Key pillars for a robust Complaint Response Mechanism

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

    Accessibility – By accessibility, we mean geographical, technological, multi lingual, inclusive access, thinking through different possibilities and different groups of people who would need accessibility to the system.

    Transparency – People need to know the policy, procedure, timeline, who will receive the complaint, what kind of feedback they will receive and relevant details about the process.

    Confidentiality – Community members must feel that they are secure and can entrust us with sensitive information, which will remain confidential and accessible only on a needs-to-know basis

    Safety & Security – Security for everyone includes physical and psychological safety as well as taking into consideration medical issues. Communities must be able to access communications modes with ease.

    A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction

    “A complaint for our organisations is an expression of dissatisfaction about our stated commitments. It is clearly linked to organisational policies, programs and obligations. We need to communicate and raise awareness on our commitments so that people can see if we are fulfilling them correctly,” said Ester. 

    The wider and long-term objectives of a complaints mechanism is to create a safer environment for the most vulnerable members of a community and increase community voice and power. “Establishing a complaints system that suits the community needs and helps them exercise their right to complain is critical. Contextual information is essential to design an appropriate community complaints mechanisms and to ensuring that the pillars described above are grounded in reality.”

    Committees can be established who will be responsible for receiving and responding to community complaints, ensuring that the community is aware of their right to complain, and providing avenues to channel their complaints on activities being implemented by the organisation. The roles and responsibilities of the committee should be defined and the committee should follow a code of conduct. These committees can be established internally or externally and can include staff or experts. On the other hand, we can have focal points focused on various aspects including complaints, PSEA[1] or safeguarding. They are often responsible for training and awareness raising on PSEA and CRM and are involved in logistics for complaints handling.”

    Who is responsible for decision making on complaints?

    Who decides on which complaint is relevant?

    Who is going to investigate the complaint?

    These questions were raised by Ester Dross while talking about the Decision Tree and Responsibilities, “We need a formal system in order to address all complaints equally and in a timely manner. A decision making tree acts as a decision support tool, displaying roles and have clarity on who is responsible to make decisions in every stage of the complaint system.”

    Complaints Mechanisms – People Centred Approaches

    “I want to emphasize that we are on this journey as well of strengthening Safeguarding. This is something we are developing and we are always trying to strengthen too at ActionAid. The stronger we all are, the better. Every feedback and complaint is welcomed consequently,” said Ruby, while presenting her slides on complaints mechanisms.

    When it comes to establishing and managing a complaints mechanism, there are several factors to consider. “One of the most important lessons we have learnt at ActionAid is that one-size-fits-all approach does not work for everyone. People should be able to file complaints in a variety of ways. Furthermore, the complaint takes precedence over us. We need to concentrate on making the complaints process simple for the person filing the complaint, not on making the process simple for the organisation.”

    Safeguarding that excludes anyone is not good Safeguarding. “The complaint mechanism has to ensure that the approach is inclusive, adaptable and accessible to everyone. A strong complaints management approach cannot stop with Safeguarding. We need to create an organisational culture where people can raise concerns and take actions from everyone.”

    It is key to create inclusive and accessible complaints mechanisms when working in communities.

    According to Ruby, all staff, partners and communities should be aware of why the complaints mechanisms exist, how to use them and how they will be monitored. “Transparency is absolutely critical here. In addition, working with communities to develop complaints mechanism is key and as part of that to work with them to assess risks and map needs. Here we need to ensure that the mechanisms are accessible to groups that are traditionally marginalised such as persons with disabilities. We are also seeing a lot of work being done with children and young people to develop complaints mechanisms that are relevant to them and ensuring these mechanisms are developed for people with diverse literacy capabilities and communities with oral traditions.”

    Key Messages

    • Have diverse ways that people can raise complaints – work with staff and communities to create accessible systems that are easy and safe to use
    • People want to report to someone they know and trust – train staff, leadership to respond safely and responsibly to concerns
    • Create a safe working culture – encourage people to raise concerns in all areas, not just Safeguarding, and walk the talk at all times

    [1] Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)

    “This humanitarian assistance will enable me to meet my family’s food needs for more than a month. The millet seeds will assist me in reviving my agricultural livelihood, which I want to pursue with the help of my nephew and son-in-law in make a better living. This will enable me to send my girls to school so that they may receive an education and have a brighter future. This help came at the perfect time, just when we were struggling to afford a single meal a day even,” Seeta explained.

    The Village Management Committeeⁱ of Sheedi Jo Tarr village identified Seeta as a project participant under Community World Service Asia and UMCOR’s relief projectⁱⁱ. The project is supporting climate induced disaster affected families with the provision of food packages and seasonal seeds for harvesting in the upcoming farming season.

    Seeta, a widow belonging to and living in Sheedi Jo Tarr village of Umerkot district, does not have any children of her own but has in fact adopted four daughters of her nephew and has raised them as her own. “I got married at a very young age. I was only 16 years old. While my husband was alive, we decided to adopt two of my nephew’s daughters. We have nurtured them as our own, and we adore them. We married our eldest daughter off at the age of 20 in 2009. It was a very joyous moment for us,” shared Seeta.

    Seeta’s husband, Geneso, died of a heart attack in 2010. Following Geneso’s death, Seeta’s nephew’s other two daughters became close to her, as her nephew left them with her when he and his wife went to work in the fields. Seeta would care for the three children by herself all day, and the two younger daughters grew to love her and refused to live with their parents. As a result, Seeta has been caring for the three children on her own since then. Her nephew had a meagre income and would give Seeta a portion of it to help her care for his children. However, this was insufficient to meet all of the children’s necessities. “My husband worked in the farming industry. He had rented acreage and cultivated a variety of crops on it. I occasionally assisted him in his agricultural endeavours. However, after he passed away, it became impossible to make a decent living, as I was caring for my three girls alone. The money did not come in as frequently as it used to. I could not work in the fields on a regular basis because I had to care for my house and girls. However, I used to be able to pick cotton and chilli occasionally to earn a little money. 

    Our neighbours and relatives sometimes offered cash assistance, but it was insufficient to meet our family’s basic needs. At 69 years now, working to earn a living for my family has become too exhausting for me. My daughters help me at home, but I want them to go to school so they may have a better future. My ten-year-old daughter has completed her basic schooling. The two younger ones, who are five and three years old, on the other hand, have not been enrolled in school yet. Unfortunately, I am unable to cover the costs of their schooling,” Seeta explains.

    Seeta received the food package on October 8th, along with 516 other families at a distribution activity held in her village. The food package consisted of wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, pulse, sugar, tealeaves, iodized salt, matchbox and millet. “Since receiving the food package, we have been eating wholesome meals on a daily basis. My nephew and son-in-law have offered their assistance in preparing the field for millet seed sowing. We now have hope of making money from our agricultural efforts, and I intend to enrol my girls in school,” Seeta concluded.

    ⁱ A community-based structure consisting of key community members, both men and women, who coordinate with and support the project team during project interventions. 

    ⁱⁱ Humanitarian and recovery support to the vulnerable communities continuously affected by recurrent disasters

    Format: Webinar presentation, discussion
    When:  2nd February 2022
    Time:  2.00 PM-3:00 PM (Pakistan Standard Time)
    Where: Zoom – Link to be shared with registered participants.
    Register: here
    Language:  English
    How long:  60 minutes
    For:  Safeguarding focal points, senior managers of national, international and regional NGOs and aid/development networks

    Moderator and Trainer:  Ester Dross


    Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organisation registered in Pakistan, addressing factors that divide people by promoting inclusiveness, shared values, diversity, and interdépendance. CWSA is highly committed towards people centered aid and Accountability to Affected People. Over the last two years, we have offered different webinars, covering various aspects on safeguarding and aiming to raise more awareness on key aspects of accountability such as establishing efficient and transparent complaints systems and protection from and prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. Safeguarding is a key pillar to any accountability measures that organisations must integrate into their programmes and working cycle.

    When people we work with or for feel unsafe within their workspace or global environment, this has critical negative impacts on the quality of our work and the objectives we intend to reach. It is therefore important that we are more aware and increase our efforts for a better understanding of the issues at hand.

    This webinar is part of a series of 6 one-hour webinars, covering safeguarding, key policies and minimum requirements, Complaints systems, Complaints handling and managing investigations and communication. The last webinar will be dedicated to experiences sharing and best practices.

    We are now reaching the second part of our 6-session series. We spoke generally about safeguarding and how three organisations set up their safeguarding framework, followed by an interactive session where participants explored the key policies and guidelines they need to have in place in terms of safeguarding. The last time we met we spoke more in-depth about complaints systems, the necessary minimum requirements and how to ensure they are appropriate and user-friendly.


    During our 4th webinar on the 2nd February 2022, we want to dedicate more time to explore how to manage investigations. If we were successful in setting up our safeguarding processes, if the complaints systems we set up are confidential, trustworthy, accessible and transparent, we should have an increase of complaints as a result. We therefore need excellent processes to handle these complaints and guarantee safe, independent and fair investigation processes.

    The webinar today will explore the following topics:

    • The decision making process on external or internal investigation processes
    • How to plan an investigation and manage an investigation team
    • What to communicate around complaints and investigations
    • Taking into account Data safeguarding and protection

    Moderator & Presenter:

    Ester Dross—Independent Consultant

    Ms Dross is an indépendant consultant with over 25 years of expérience, specializing in accountability, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, gender and child protection. Ms Dross has 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 Organisations Project since 2005, dealing with sexual exploitation and abuse of bénéficiaires, 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

    Applying – Contextualising – Learning Principles, Commitments and Standards through the Project Life in Humanitarian-Development-Peace Contexts

    Virtual Workshop

    2022 First Semester

    Learning Sessions – Coaching Lab – Capitalisation of Experiences

    When: Starting February 1st, 2022

    Target Audience

    • National organisations first! Gender-sensitive selection.
    • Gender-sensitive selection
    • Both humanitarian and development actors
    • Participants from Asia, MENA Regions


    • Aid workers engaged in promoting Quality, AAP and Safeguarding
    • Have interest/ experience in implementing Quality, AAP and Safeguarding approaches and tools, and in managing projects or programmes,
    • Have a ‘good enough’ command of English,
    • Commit to attend all sessions (management endorsement, certificate of attendance).

    Aim & Learning Objectives

    This virtual workshop aims to gather and learn from committed professional humanitarian and development actors who are leaders in promoting and implementing Quality, AAP and Safeguarding throughout the project/programme cycle, update them on the latest developments and tools, and facilitate contextualisation, localisation and learning for future improvement.

    By the end of this event, participants should be able to:

    1. Identify key initiatives and tools contributing to CHS-related topics.
    2. Outline the opportunities and challenges faced by humanitarian and development workers in contextualising and applying collectively principles, commitments and standards throughout the project/programme cycle.
    3. Describe strategies and means by which they and their colleagues can collaborate and coordinate better.
    4. Design an improvement plan on Quality, AAP and Safeguarding tailored to their context and assessed with a Do-no-harm lens


    • Five half day online sessions combining plenaries, debates, personal or pair assignments and studies, guided discussions in sub-groups, etc.
    • Coaching sessions to support the design of an improvement plan
    • Improvement plans with monitoring details, and
    • learning follow up through 2022

    Shortlisted candidate will be informed through email by January 17, 2022.

    Contact us at:


    When: 17th -19th February, 2022
    Where: Murree, Punjab, Pakistan
    Application Deadline: 20th January, 2022.
    Register: Click here

    Covid-19 has challenged the traditional leadership style and forced leaders to adapt their leadership approaches in dealing with the uncertainties brought about by the virus and its effects. NGO leaders have also been faced with dilemmas and ambiguities that they have never been exposed to.

    Leading in Complexity and Uncertainty training will be directed at the senior staff of NGOs. It will use the ‘Authentic Leader’ model and provide opportunities to the participants to reflect on their leadership style and its relevance and effectiveness in the context of Covid-19. It will give them knowledge on leadership competencies based on research with contemporary leaders. They will also have opportunities for practicing and sharpening their personal leadership skills and competencies.

    Methodology of this training includes self-reflection and analysis, working with buddies, exercises (but considering social distancing). These will be interspersed with lectures by the external trainer and experience sharing by prominent leaders from the development and corporate sectors. Coaching and mentoring support will be provided to 30% of participant organisations to help them apply their learning.


    At the end of the training, participants will:

    • Understand the different leadership styles and competencies.
    • Reflect on their leadership style based on their self-assessment and others’ perceptions/feedback.
    • Sharpen/strengthen their leadership competencies.
    • Develop action plans for peer support and coaching/mentoring.


    The approach used in this training is the ‘Blended Learning’ approach developed by CWSA’s Capacity Enhancement Project (CEP) in its previous phases. The approach is participatory and needs based in nature. It consists of selection of participants from diverse organisations at different levels, content and methodology designed with and based on the needs of the training participants, use of experienced and knowledgeable trainers, flexible content and methodology during the training, development of action plans and follow up refreshers and coaching and mentoring support.

    Number of Participants

    18-22 participants will be selected for the training. Female staff and those with disabilities and from ethnic/religious minorities are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to participants from organisations based in underserved areas.

    Selection Criteria

    • No previous exposure/participation in leadership training
    • Mid or senior level manager in a civil society organisation, preferably field staff of large CSOs or CSOs with main office in small towns and cities
    • Participants from women led organisations, those of persons with disabilities, religious/ethnic minorities will be preferred
    • Willingness to contribute PKR 20,000 for the training. Discount of 10% will be given on early registration by 15th February 2022 to the participants and 20% discount will be awarded to women participants. Exemptions may be applied for by CSOs with limited funding and those from marginalized groups
    • Commitment to apply learning in their work, including dissemination of learning within their organisation.

    Participants will need to arrive at the venue on 16th February 2022.

    Training Facilitator

    Arif Jabbar Khan, Country Head, Water Aid.

    Mr. Arif is the Country head of Water Aid Pakistan. Mr. Khan holds an M.Phil. degree in Public Policy from the National Defense University Islamabad and was awarded with the President’s Gold Medal. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering (Water Resource Development) from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. Mr. Arif is an Eisenhower Fellow wherein he studied the “Americans with Disabilities Act” during his Fellowship. Mr. Arif is a leadership Coach and is currently coaching a number of staff members in public and private institutions. He was the Chief of Party of USAID Ambassador’s Fund Grant Programme and has served Oxfam International as the Global Head of Humanitarian Campaigns, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Southern Africa and East Asia, Country Director in Pakistan and South Africa, in addition to holding other portfolios. He also served as the Country Director, Pakistan with Voluntary Service Overseas –VSO, Regional Grants Manager, Asia with Child fund International, Director Programme Operations, Sri Lanka with Save the Children and Director Operations, Market Development Facility with The Palladium Group.

    When: 14th-16th February 2022
    Where: Murree, Punjab
    Language: Urdu and English
    Interested Applicants: Click here to register
    Last Date to Apply: January 31st, 2022

    Training Objectives:

    The training will focus specifically on developing the ability of participants to:

    • Comprehend concepts and terminologies of Project and Project Cycle Management
    • Recognize various phases of Project Cycle Management and their importance
    • Understand and sharpen their skills to use various analytical tools for Project Identification
    • Learn to use causal hypothesis and Theory of Change for project designing and implementation
    • Understand M&E essentials and learn to plan for monitoring and evaluation at the time of inception of project life cycle
    • Learn to incorporate lessons from similar projects in the designing of new projects


    The development agenda has been, for long, aimed at improving quality of life of communities. However, projects can fail to meet priority needs of communities and not achieve stated outputs. These failures can be attributed in part to poor project cycle management, such as inadequate opportunities for potential beneficiaries to participate in project identification, weak financial management, inadequate monitoring during implementation, poor linkages between project activities and project purpose, and insufficient attention to the external environment during project design. Projects are more likely to succeed when the socio-economic context in which they operate is taken into considerati9on.

    The rationale for imparting training of NGOs in project cycle management to equip development practitioners with the skills and tools to identify projects, recognize roles of different groups, overcome challenges to project management and apply techniques such a logical framework for maximum output. Participants of the training will go through all critical phases of project cycle management both theoretically and practically and there will be ample room through group exercises to benefit from the rich knowledge of participants that they will be bringing from their respective fields and focus areas.

    Number of Participants

    • A maximum of 20 participants will be selected for the training. Women, differently abled persons and staff belonging to ethnic/religious minorities are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to participants representing organizations working in remote and under-served areas.

    Selection Criteria

    • Participant’s organization should be registered with its respective provincial Social Welfare Department
    • Participant is mid/senior for program/project manager working in a local/national NGO
    • Participants from women led organisations, different abled persons, religious/ethnic minorities will be given preference
    • Commitment to apply learning in their work, including dissemination of learning within their organisation

    Fee Details

    Training fee for each participant is PKR 10,000. Fee concessions and scholarships are available for participants belonging marginalised groups and NGOs with limited funding.

    Facilitator/Lead Trainer:

    Ms. Sofia Noreen is an ambitious professional with over 28 years’ eventful career studded with brilliance predominantly in the area of research, program/ project designing and execution, monitoring, international development, and liaison & coordination. Her areas of focus include Gender and Women Empowerment, Climate Change/ Food Security within rural communities, and Governance issues both at policy and implementation levels. She is a dependable professional with a comprehensive understanding of Pakistani politics, the parliamentary setup, and electoral reform agenda and familiar with election management systems both for general and local bodies elections.

    Ms. Sofia has delivered multi-day training programs on train-the-trainer, team building, and other related topics. She is an articulate communicator who is highly well versed in Log Frame Analysis, Risk Analysis, and management for Result Based Management, budgeting, staff recruitment, capacity development, NGO management, stakeholder engagement, evaluation of program and projects, report writing, and manuals. Throughout her career, she has been committed to following the principles set forth with the UDHR, ICCPR, CEDAW, and other international conventions and standards.

    Additional Details: The final deadline for applications is January 31, 2022. Please be assured that incomplete applications will not be entertained.

    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.