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Communications Office

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article written & developed by the CHS Alliance Communications Team

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

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

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

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

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

staff will follow by example

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

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

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

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

he said, backing up Shama’s earlier comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

27 humanitarian actors trained on HR practices using CHCF in Pakistan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training Package

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The International Day of Peace is observed around the world each year as a day devoted to

commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and people.

This year as we reached 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we as a global community focus on remembering the deceleration as a way towards international peace.

Community World Service Asia is determined towards promoting and fulfilling these rights to improve lives and build a peaceful world.

I worked in the coal mines in Hangu district for twenty years. When I was a child my family was unable to pay for my education so I had to start work as a coal miner at the age of 15. This was the practice for all young boys of my age in our village. We had to do it to support our family, 

expressed Mian Syed Zaman, a 55-year-old father of seven children from Serei Kana village of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan.

Although Syed Zaman’s income was not much, he lived a content life with his wife and children. In 1998, that changed. Zaman started feeling sharp aches in his lower back. The pains kept worsening until one day Zaman felt nothing in his lower body. He was paralyzed from waist down. He tried everything to cure himself, whatever he could afford, wherever he had to travel for it. But it was all in vain. Zaman had become bed-ridden for life. Following his father’s early footsteps, Zaman’s eldest son, Zia-ur-Rehman,  had to leave school, graduating from Grade 8th, to start work to support his six siblings and mother. He had no choice but to do so.

Married and with two children of his own today, Zia-ur-Rehman is the sole bread earner for a large family of twelve members now.  He works in the same coal mine his father used to work at  as a daily wager. He earns PKR 25,000 (Approx. 215 USD) a month. With this income, it is difficult to make ends meet and provide sufficiently all family members. Neighbours and relatives of Zaman and his wife often gift money and used clothes to the struggling family. Zaman’s family also receives Zakatⁱ, in the form of money, once each year from the Government Zakat Department under the quota for disabled people. The family owns a cow, three goats, some poultry and a small piece of land adjacent to their home. Zaman uses the land to grow animal fodder, some vegetables and maize which helps the family sustain their meals for about five months.

Zaman’s house is a scantily constructed mud house where they all live together.

In all these years I could not afford to construct a latrine in my house. My family would use the nearby fields or jungle to attend nature’s call. Being paralyzed, it was not easy for me to do so. I felt embarrassed. I commuted on a small cart. The cart had a hole in the middle with a plastic bucket attached at the bottom. The bucket was half filled with ash and sand. I defecated in it and my wife would clean it. To avoid this trouble, I ate far less then actually required,

shared Syed Zaman unhappily.

During a survey conducted by Community World service Asia (CWSA)  in early 2016 to identify and select most vulnerable earthquake affected families, Zaman and his family were selected as participants to receive support in rebuilding their house and in construction of latrines. Zaman was selected on the basis of being a Person with Disability (PWD) and because his house had been severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake that epicentered in the Hindukush mountain range.

Zaman received Corrugated Galvanized Iron (CGI) sheets which were sourced by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA). They were also provided with raw materials to reconstruct their house by CWSA.  Zaman’s house was completely reconstructed in 2016. CGI sheets were used to construct the roof to ensure the family’s safety during future hazards in mountainous and risk prone areas like Shangla. Most importantly, in early 2017, a complete latrine with two commodes was constructed and included in Zaman’s new house by his son himself.

Our family is living comfortably now. They do not need to go to the jungle for open defecation anymore. There are no flies and smell of excretion around our home anymore and the surrounding environment looks and feels much cleaner and fresher now. I have installed four small wheels in my cart to easily reach the latrine with the help of a stick. It would be great if I can be provided clutches and wheelchair.

In addition to latrine and shelter construction, Zaman’s family was provided with hygiene kits, which included two plastic cans with lids, one water pot (lota), soaps and sanitation cloths. The cans helped the family to carry and store drinking water in safely, minimizing the risks of water contamination.

 Health and hygiene sessions were delivered by the project team. We are more aware of hand washing techniques and importance of using latrines now. This protects my family to from diseases and illnesses, 

 stated Zaman.

ⁱZakat is a religious obligation for all Muslims who meet the necessary criteria of wealth. It is a mandatory charitable contribution, the right of the poor to find relief from the rich and is considered to be a tax, or obligatory alms.

Integrated Emergency Shelter and WASH support to EQ affected families project is implemented by Community World Service Asia in district Shangla, Pakistan with the support of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA).

650 targeted farming families were provided plant samplings for the tree plantation campaign.

An aeroculture[1] campaign was launched with the farming communities of Khairpur Gambo and Pangrio cities of the Badin district in Sindh earlier this August under the Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture project[2]. This was part of an annual activity planned to promote and enhance biodiversity and to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. As a sustainable outcome,  this campaign aimed at providing an alternative livelihood source to the water-deprived farming communities of the area. These activities will also enhance the provision of fodder for the communities’ livestock, which is currently in high scarcity.

A variety of fruit and plant saplings such as Sapota, Lemon, Azarirachta indica (neem), Moringa, Falsa, Jujube and Guava, were distributed among 650 targeted agrarian families of Khairpur Gambo and Pangrio city. As many as 10,400 samplings were given out during the campaign that chanted the slogan “Let’s make a promise to grow more trees”.

Each family were given two saplings each of, lemon, neem, moringa and jujube and three of falsa and guava.  A week earlier to the distribution, the families were demonstrated  on how to plant the samples in the soil. They were also oriented on all the possible measures adopted to ensure the healthy growth of the plants. The categories and species of the plants and fruits were selected with consent and suggestion from the communities and upon recommendations given by the Forest Department in Badin and the ARID zone agriculture institute. These particular types of plants and fruit were selected as they could grow well without a lot of water and could tolerate a certain level of water salinity, which was present in the water available here.  The trees planted under this campaign will bear fruits between two to four years, allowing the farmers to benefit from the sustenance it will provide, as well as reviving greenery in the area, cleansing their environment and building the community’s resilience to climate change impacts.

[1] A method of growing plants without soil by suspending them above sprays that constantly moisten the roots with water and nutrients.

[2] Promoting Sustainable Agriculture Practices to Improve Food Security and Livelihoods of Vulnerable and Marginalized Farmers of Badin.