Quality and Accountability
Quality and Accountability Hub

It is an essential responsibility of development and humanitarian organizations to ensure that the communities we work with feel safe. Safeguarding is a key pillar of any accountability mechanism and its incorporation in organizational policies, procedures and norms is paramount.

In light of the flood response in Pakistan, Community World Service Asia has launched a coaching and mentoring series on Safeguarding. This series, initiated in October 2022 and ending in January 2023, is led by Ester Dross, who has over 25 years of specializing in accountability, prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, gender and child protection.

Through this platform, an estimate of 25 local emergency response organisations are mentored on how to address difficulties and concerns connected to maintaining and adopting Safeguarding standards, tools, and practices throughout the humanitarian program cycle.

Session 1- Safeguarding: From Theory to Practice

The first session, held on 26th October 2022, discussed the concept of Safeguarding and its distinction from protection. Ester also elaborated on the limitations and organisational responsibilities towards mainstreaming safeguarding in humanitarian action.

“It is important to discuss how we can move from theory to practice such that safeguarding policies are actionable, practical, widely applicable and well-known to staff as well as community members. Safeguarding entails that organisations have policies and procedures in place, from a Code of Conduct and safe reporting mechanism to recruitment procedures as well as appropriate disciplinary follow-up,” shared Ester.

Organizations can use international conventions and national legislations as the minimum benchmark in developing safeguarding policies but their norms should never be lower than legal norms. To ensure a strong safeguarding mechanism, organisations ought to have policies and procedures in place, from a Code of Conduct to a safe reporting mechanism, investigation systems and recruitment/vetting procedures as well as appropriate disciplinary follow-up in case of substantiated breaches.

Session 2- Integrating Safeguarding in Policies and Structures

The second session focused on how safeguarding can be incorporated in organizational policies and structures such as in human resource management and project design in a contextualised manner while also establishing strong support networks for safeguarding incidents.

“Contextualising safeguarding policies and procedures is not a one-fits-all approach. It could be subject to country, region and even project. While some elements should be contextualised including the program cycle, project design, logistics CRM channels and job descriptions, some elements are universal and thus applicable everywhere such as PSEA Rules and minimum standards,” said Ester Dross, in the second session on November 15.

“Aspects of safeguarding can be integrated in an organisation’s HR systems, security clearance and capacity building activities. Humanitarians have to be oriented on why safeguarding structures, policies and systems are vital to exist in any workplace,” shared a participant.

Session 3: Establishing an Effective Complaints Response Mechanism

Marking halfway through the series, the third session on 24th November 2022 focused on how an organization can establish or adopt a complaints response mechanism especially for an emergency situation within its accountability framework.

“As one of the fundamental pillars of ensuring safeguarding, a robust CRM is marked by four key elements- accessibility, transparency, confidentiality, and safety & security. It is ultimately about giving power to the people throughout the process- not only receiving complaints but also addressing and resolving them,” said Ester Dross.

Through breakout room and large group discussions, participants also brainstormed what an emergency set up of an effective CRM should incorporate. The session emphasized on including safeguarding policies in vendor contracts, displaying safeguarding and CRM messages in local languages. Ester stressed on establishing a robust follow-up mechanism and enforce a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation. Ester added, “It is essential to adopt timeliness, and set up accessible reporting methods. Along with being trained to handle complaints effectively, staff needs to be clear on their roles and responsibilities.”

Session 4: Setting up a Community Based Complaints Mechanism

Establishing a community-contextualised complaints system that enables local communities to exercise their right to make complaints is essential. An effective Complaints Response Mechanism (CRM) does not only constitute receiving complaints but also investigating them and communicating clearly about the process to communities and how to respond to it.

The fourth session, held on 6th December 2022, continued the discussion on developing an effective CRM (carried on from session 3). Participants examined the elements that organisations need to consider while communicating about CRM and safeguarding with their staff, external partners and communities. It emphasised on ensuring staff’s capacity building on safeguarding and CRM, having an agreement with partners on minimum standards of safeguarding to be followed and using local languages and terms when engaging with communities.

“Key messages related to safeguarding and CRM should be displayed at the workplace. It is always good to be reminded that one is working in a safe environment”, shared a participant in the virtual event.

Session 5: Accountability and Safeguarding

The fifth session, held on 20th December, focused on identifying various humanitarian networks and their role in safeguarding and explored specific links between accountability and Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH). A participant in the virtual session shared, “Networks to provide legal, medical, psychosocial, and safety support are a concrete example of moving from theory to practice in the context of safeguarding but this is not without its challenges. Organisations in Pakistan are hindered by a lack of connectivity and mapping in the context of safeguarding.”

In the breakout rooms and open plenary, participants discussed what organisations need to think of, evaluate, and set up in reference to commitments of the Core Humanitarian Standard to PSEAH.

Key Takeaways from the session

  • Aid organisations must identify specific vulnerabilities of communities to safeguarding and ensure that additional risks are not created
  • Staff must be oriented on how to respond to a sensitive issue or complaint – in terms of behaviour, language and messaging
  • It is essential for staff to have cultural intelligence competency to respect and understand local norms
  • Organisations must coordinate with other stakeholders (especially government and non-governmental) to ensure a complementary and effective response that places communities at the centre.

Session 6- The Finale – Safeguarding Investigations

The coaching and mentoring series on safeguarding was concluded on 10th January 2023 with the last session focusing on investigation procedures around sensitive complaints and corresponding responsibilities within an organisation.

Participants shared the principles of an investigation and gained clarity on the processes. Group discussions focused on distinguishing the key roles of each member in the investigation process; i,e., that of the focal point, investigation team, investigation manager, and senior management.

“While there are general guidelines on key roles and responsibilities in an investigative process, it is always an organisational decision on how to exactly formulate it. What is important is that the process places survivors at the centre, that it is fair, structured and professional following thorough analysis of all evidence,” shared Ester.

Participants’ Insights

1. “Participating in the safeguarding series was one of a kind experience. The quality of the content was excellent and the trainer presented it with great expertise. The interactive digital tools used during the series, including Jamboard, breakout rooms and quizzes was quite effective and engaging. Being able to relate theoretical concepts with practical examples, and getting the opportunity to discuss our own experiences and challenges made this learning series very useful and informative for me.”
Mazhar Hussain, READ Foundation

2. “The knowledge I received through the series helped me comprehend how to stop harm from happening before it occurs, how to acknowledge and handle complaints, and how to guarantee the complainant’s confidentially. The information obtained will help to educate people about our investigation procedures and to bring to light problems that endanger women and children. It will also assist us in creating a robust system to protect women and children.”
Samreen Najeeb, Protection & Human Rights Organisation (PHRO)

3. “The virtual coaching and mentoring series on Safeguarding training series was an overall good experience albeit a few connectivity issues. I found the series to be quite insightful as most of the topics were new to me especially CRM, difference between protection and roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in ensuring safeguarding, and accountability. This training will be helpful to our organisation to build changes in our current safeguarding policy, staff training and field implementation.”
Noor-ul-Amin Keerio, SAFE Pakistan

When: 13th-15th, February 2023 (arrival at venue on 12th-Feb-2023)
Where: Sukkur, Sindh
Language: Urdu and English
Interested Applicants: Click here to register
Last Date to Apply: 29th-Jan-2023 (incomplete applications will not be entertained)

Training Objectives: Through this training, you will be able to:

  • Identify the key Quality & Accountability initiatives
  • Select and adapt existing Quality & Accountability tools and resources
  • Outline the opportunities and challenges faced by humanitarian workers in implementing Q&A approaches and tools
  • Identify means by which you and your colleagues can collaborate and coordinate with other agencies to improve the quality and accountability of a humanitarian response

Training Purpose

Introducing and mainstreaming quality and accountability mechanisms through the organisation

The impact of humanitarian work on communities depends greatly upon the quality of services and accountability of actions both during emergency and non-emergency times. With millions of people affected by disasters and conflicts, the importance of Quality & Accountability (Q&A) is undeniable. The effective implementation of Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) requires a commitment to build institutional and individual capacity of people engaged in designing and implementing humanitarian as well as development projects.

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) aims to ensure that all relevant agencies including NGOs, INGOs, UN, donors, universities and government agencies, playing an active role in the disaster response & rehabilitation are given the opportunity to implement Quality and Accountability approaches and tools in their work.

Number of Participants

  • 20-25 participants will be selected for the training. Women and staff belonging to ethnic/religious minorities are encouraged to apply.
  • Preference will be given to participants representing organizations working in Sukkur and surroundings.

Selection Criteria

  • You have experience in managing a key position (Programs, operations, MEAL etc.)
  • You have an idea about the Q&A initiatives
  • You are interested in introducing Q&A mechanisms in your organisation
  • You have a ‘good enough’ command of English.

Fee Details

  • Training fee for each participant is PKR 10,000. Fee concessions and scholarships are available for participants belonging to marginalised groups and NGOs with limited funding.
  • No TA/DA will be given to participants and travel expenses will be incurred by participants themselves.

REGISTER NOW!

Community World Service Asia (CWSA) is a humanitarian and development organization, registered in Pakistan, headquartered 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.

Last week Michael Barnett, University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, and Maryam Z. Deloffre, Associate Professor of International Affairs and Director, Humanitarian Action Initiative, co-hosted, with Community World Service Asia (CWSA), a half-day conference, “Beyond Despair,” at the Regional Humanitarian Partnership Week (RHPW) meetings in Bangkok, Thailand. The RHPW is organized by Asian Disaster Reduction & Response Network (ADRRN), CWSA, the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and is the largest gathering of humanitarian actors in the region. In Beyond Despair, Barnett and Deloffre focused on the positive–how do humanitarian actors leverage their creativity and pragmatism to provide aid despite access challenges and structural barriers? Professor Barnett presented data from a survey conducted last year with Smruti Patel of Global Mentoring Initiative (GMI) and Political Science Ph.D. student Alex Vandermaas-Peeler, on the nature and sources of structural barriers – racism/colonialism embedded in attitudes and institutions, funding (and lack thereof), access constraints etc. Professor Deloffre then led a discussion on how humanitarian actors bypass these barriers to provide life-saving assistance. Over 250 practitioners, policymakers and academics from Asia, the Middle East and Africa attended the session.

 

The idea for Beyond Despair, is rooted in both Barnett and Deloffre’s ongoing research on localization, a policy initiative to reform the global humanitarian system by empowering local communities and populations affected by disasters to lead humanitarian action. Professor Deloffre teaches a graduate level course on the topic, IAFF 6138 Localizing Humanitarian Action, which is offered in the spring. Barnett and Deloffre collected narrative data at the workshop and will share findings with meeting participants as well as in future publications.

The second half of the Beyond Despair conference featured a panel discussion on Survival Strategies, how national and local humanitarian groups innovate and partner effectively to provide humanitarian assistance. Panelists included: Juliet Parker, director of Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP), who discussed the positive news from the recent State of the Humanitarian System report; Smruti Patel, founder of GMI, who described local and regional certification schemes; Nannette Antequisa, Executive Director, Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (ECOWEB), Philippines, who detailed empowering partnership models; Takeshi Komino, Vice President of ADRRN, who discussed private-public partnership models, and Sudhanshu S. Singh, Founder and Director, Humanitarian Aid International, who highlighted his NGO’s survival strategies. Dr. Hanna A. Ruszczyk, Department of Geography, Durham University, served as the moderator.

Community World Service Asia has launched a virtual learning series focusing on promoting quality and accountability (Q&A) and facilitate humanitarian organisations responding to the Pakistan Floods 2022 to discuss challenges, opportunities, and best practices as a group. This provides a platform to engage, interact and learn from each other and ensure a coordinated and principled response, guided by global Q&A standards.

Session 1: Using Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) in Pakistan Flood Response 2022

The webinar aimed at introducing the CHS guidance in response to the floods, and revisit fundamental principles of CHS which are crucial to a successful, holistic intervention. “In the current flood response, Q&A is not being integrated widely and effectively in checklist for assessment, project design, and monitoring as per CHS/Sphere Standards and indicators to ensure that Q&A is implemented, thus leading to unstandardized aid,” highlighted Rizwan Iqbal, ACT Alliance.

Participants who are working directly with affected communities underlined the challenges that have emerged. Some of these issues include cases and reports of sexual harassment in camps, inadequate facilities for pregnant women, rampant spread of diseases including malaria, sudden cost increase of materials such as tents and mosquito nets, and coordination challenges owing to lack of internet connectivity in affected areas.

“The challenges that have emerged in the flood response cannot be resolved by one organisation on its own. It has curated a need for collaboration, coordination and cooperation among all humanitarian entities working there in addition to advocacy and capacity enhancement on Q&A standards,” emphasised Ayesha Hassan, Community World Service Asia (CWSA).

Session 2: What Does It Take to be Good Enough: Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding in Pakistan Flood Response

The second session focused on improving participants’ understanding on the Do No Harm and People-Centred Approaches in the current context and how the Humanitarian Charter, Code of Conduct and an effective Complaint Response Mechanism plays a role in ensuring accountability. Placing people and communities at the centre of all programming was flagged as most crucial to ensuring an accountable humanitarian assistance.

“It is the right time to mainstream the basics of Q&A in Pakistan flood response. Your common sense, knowledge of the context and connection with the community is key. This will build on those lessons, tools, frameworks and policies,” shared Sylvie Robert, Q&A expert and mentor.

Session 3: Applying Quality and Accountability in the Project Cycle to Build Back Better

To overcome the challenges that humanitarian workers face in implementing Q&A approaches, it was recommended that the aid community collaborate and coordinate with each other to improve quality and accountability in a humanitarian response. This session focused on how humanitarian organisations can adapt key Q&A initiatives and their tools to support project cycle management.

Participants shared challenges that they face while applying standards in previous and the current humanitarian response in Pakistan.

  • There is a lack of awareness and limited capacity on new and even existing quality and accountability tools and techniques among the aid community and affected communities
  • There is always a greater focus on providing quick and timely humanitarian response as opposed to prioritising the quality of the response and accountability to affected people
  • There is still mistrust among stakeholders engaged in response at the local and grassroot level that doesn’t welcome standards and tools being imposed from regional and international actors. There is a need for more relationship and trust building among local, national and international responders
  • There is a lack of coordination among NGOs and government in some districts key areas such as information sharing and assessments
  • Inadequate action on Complaints Response Mechanisms and limited efforts to develop effective and joint CRM for each district to be used by all responding actors

These challenges were discussed and possible solutions were shared among participants. Sylvie Robert reiterated, “Quality and accountability starts from day one and it is not negotiable. There will always be challenges in its implementation but we must stick to these principles. It is a question of attitude and mind-set.”

Participants and speakers collectively agreed that while responding to an emergency could be challenging, integrating Q&A in the project cycle creates an opportunity in emergency response, paving a way for building a better future and prioritising disaster mitigation. An effective complaint and feedback mechanism was highlighted as a key to ensure consistent community engagement and information sharing.

The importance of project management in organisations cannot be overstated. When it is done right, it helps every part of the organisation run more smoothly. It allows teams to focus on the work that matters, free from the distractions caused by tasks going off track or budgets spinning out of control.

A Project Cycle Management (PCM) training was designed to impart practical skills and knowledge, confidence related to the conceptualisation, planning, implementation, management and evaluation of community projects. Such trainings are conducted to enhance the capacity of NGOs in Pakistan thus enabling them to better comply with regulatory bodies such as the federal Economic Affairs Division and provincial Social Welfare Departments. Yasmin Khakwani was one of the fifteen development aid practitioners who attended the three-day residential training, which covered the principles and terminology of project cycle management as well as the many stages and analytical tools used by humanitarian aid workers.

“Handling projects tends to be a daunting task. It requires a thorough understanding of project scheduling, planning, reporting, tracking, and the importance of project management. To become a competent humanitarian aid and development professional, one needs to have a detailed understanding of project management and its importance and the various job roles,” stated Yasmin, President of Savail Development Organisation (SDO), a local NGO in Multan. Yasmin has worked in the development sector for the past two decades, and she credits her mother, who is a development aid practitioner herself, for inspiring her to pursue a career in social services and development.

In mid-November, the PCM training provided Yasmin the opportunity to learn how to apply skills, information, tools, and procedures to project activities in order to achieve project needs. “SDO lacked up-to-date rules, concepts, and processes to manage a project from start to finish. The training provided essential knowledge for staying current with project management trends and technologies. The session on donor management focused on developing a case for support, identify and assess prospective donors, match a donor’s interests and needs with your organisation’s mission and goals, structure a successful solicitation, and respond to ethical dilemmas. Furthermore, a group exercise on identifying challenges faced by NGOs at various stages of the Project Life Cycle provided peer learning, allowing us to learn from experiences and come up with solutions.”

Yasmin returned to SDO and immediately set on revising the organization’s policies on child safety, project operations, and resource management. “Our policies had become obsolete. We revised our policies to meet international standards, particularly our child protection policy, because we work with children primarily. In addition, I led a session in which I highlighted significant takeaways from the training. Thirty people attended the session, including SDO officials, representatives from civil society organisations, and members of Saya, a district-level network.”

One of the key achievements of Yasmin was to secure its first project funded by an international donor. “We upgraded our policy framework and aligned the proposal as per donor’s requirements and fulfilled all the proposal sections accordingly. Moreover, we compiled the proposal and got it reviewed by our board members as well. This was the first time we did this. After a thorough review, we submitted our proposal. Soon after, we got the good news of our project acceptance.”

“I plan to send the staff of SDO in future training events conducted by Community World Service Asia. I believe, such trainings are beneficial for the growth and development of local organisations who have limited resources to progress,” concluded Yasmin.

Local and national non-profit organisations and Disaster Management Authorities (DMAs) are most often the first responders to a disaster, besides communities themselves. While being at the forefront and equipped with rich indigenous knowledge and experience, they face a multitude of challenges while responding to multiple crises due to institutional and staff capacity constraints. “Local organisations are often focused on their project work and have limited resources. The knowledge and opportunities to mainstream accountability in their working mechanisms is limited and complying with all international standards becomes difficult. Therefore, there was a need for formal capacity building of local organisations and disaster management authorities, on quality response and accountability to affected people” says Aamir Malik, Director RAPID Fund, Concern Worldwide.

As a Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance member and Sphere regional partner and focal point, Community World Service Asia partnered with Concern Worldwide (CWW) to augment the skills and competencies of Concern’s staff, their partner organisations and DMAs, on Quality and Accountability to Affected Populations (Q&AAP) through a series of workshops. “Concern assessed institutional needs for training and identified gaps between project interventions and the application of Quality & Accountability standards. Concern collaborated with Community World Service Asia, who already have substantial expertise in the field of mainstreaming Q&A, Sphere, and Core Humanitarian Standard in humanitarian action,” shared Ishtiaq Sadiq from Concern Worldwide.

After an MoU was signed between the two organisations in 2019, a thorough consultative process between the two parties took place. Multiple meetings were arranged to discuss and finalise course outlines of Q&AAP trainings; complete workshop materials were developed and finalised as per CWW feedback. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the trainings transitioned into a virtual model. Since the start of the collaboration, eight workshops have been conducted for 187 participants representing 87 different partner organisations from Sindh and Balochistan as well as PDMA Sindh. These workshops aimed to raise awareness on key standards such as Sphere and the CHS that support organisations with effectively mainstreaming and implementing quality and accountability through a people-centred approach. Through the learning series, participants were enabled to outline opportunities and challenges in implementing Q&AAP, and were provided a platform for experience sharing and peer learning on its practical implementation

Participants strengthened their skills on Q&A standards and commitments and learned to apply them according to their contexts. They also designed a Q&AAP learning action plan tailored to their specific needs and identified ways of collaborating and coordinating with other partners to improve Q&AAP in a response. “We not only designed a training workshop for the participating organisations, but we provided technical support in mainstreaming the standards in the organisation systems and policies,” shared Aamir.

Concern’s Rapid Fund collaborated with CWSA on its Q&A interventions and jointly developed a plan for its implementation. CWSA conducted the Q&A focused trainings for them with the facilitation of the Rapid Fund team.

Lessons Learned; Improving Accountability Together

A virtual meeting was held in June 2022 to draw conclusions on the workshops’ successes and failures to improve content and resources for future workshops. During the meeting, the objectives and methodology of the workshop were shared, the draft content was presented and analysed and results and challenges thoroughly discussed. By the end of the meeting, recommendations for future learning events were brainstormed and shared.

Participants’ Selection, Self-Assessment and Pre-Training Coordination

Gender balance was ensured during participants’ selection which was done based on relevance and experience of the training topic allowing richer, more contextualised discussions and peer learnings.
Self-assessment done by each participating organisation to evaluate its structure, policies and procedures was an effective tool to gauge organisational standing on Q&AAP and identify improvement areas. This led to effective development of training plans and agenda based on participants’ needs and expectations.

Resources such as Sphere handbooks shared prior to the training were useful, allowing participants to review them and come prepared with some knowledge of the topics to be discussed. WhatsApp groups were created for participants, which allowed peer learning and continuous coordination.

Workshop Assessment

Appropriate time allocation and pace, and recap of learnings from the previous day played a key role in keeping participants engaged throughout the workshop and ensured consistent productivity during the sessions. The workshops were conducted online for which orientation on Zoom was given to participants in addition to provision of internet devices to prevent technical glitches. The training was made interactive and engaging through open discussions, breakout rooms and utilization of Google Jamboard. Comprehensive sessions on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) increased awareness of most organisations. Case studies for Q&AAP guidelines were shared from the Asia Pacific region such as a CRM developed by World Vision in Sri Lanka, giving participants contextualised and local examples from the region.

Pre- training resource sharing proved to be effective and were used post-training by participants to refer to guidelines, standards and other tool kits. The pre and post tests were easy to take/complete.

Institutional Capacity Strengthening

Upon training completion of each module, a technical assistance phase was launched within a couple of months that offered coaching and mentoring support to organisations in developing and updating Q&AAP related guidelines, namely a Code of Conduct (COC) and Complaint Response Mechanism (CRM). CWSA provided inputs and guidance through sharing of templates, sample documents and key notes to participating organisations throughout the process; their progress was regularly monitored until final submissions were made by each of them.

Updated policies of organisations were appreciated by networks and funding partners. It also paved way for more effective implementation of Q&A tools and techniques in organisational processes and policies.
The ARTS Foundation did not have a CRM prior to the workshop; they utilised the draft shared with participants during the technical assistance phase to develop one from scratch. SHIFA developed specialised policies on each topic as the organisation had a joint policy before the workshop. Community Development Foundation (CDF) developed its COC and CRM policies which provided them a pathway to apply for CHS Alliance membership.

Key Learnings & Takeaways:

“The participating organisations are now more familiar with globally recognised Quality & Accountability initiatives including Sphere, Humanitarian Standard Partnership (HSP) and Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). Organisations have also mainstreamed CHS and the Sphere handbook in their newly developed or revised policies and guidelines on CoC and CRMs for improved accountability towards the communities they are serving.” Speaker/Technical Expert on Q&A

“Nari Development Organisation (NDO) has established a CRM and placed complaint boxes within the office and the communities we are working in. We are also conducting orientation sessions with the NDO staff and communities regarding the new CRM policy and its processes. This initiative has mainstreamed accountability towards the communities and staff we work with and ensures a people-centred approach.” Zahid Hussain, Nari Development Organisation (NDO)

“Every action has to be guided by the common belief in the equality of all people, the inviolability of their rights and the right of each individual to self-determination. In the spirit of solidarity and humanity, the goal of every organisation is to improve the lives of people in the places where they can work. This workshop provided guiding tools, such as CoC and CRM, which allowed us to mainstream accountability in all the work we do. We updated our existing policies and adhered to the CHS and Sphere standards to better respond and allow community voices to be heard.” Liza Khan, Community Development Foundation (CDF)

“The extensive feedback we received on our existing CoC and CRM allowed us to mainstream CHS and Sphere Standards in our revised policies. Moreover, we receive all kinds of complaints. Some are relevant to our work and some do not relate to our work. There have been instances when we have received fake complaints as well. Organisations should be able to differentiate between these complaints and address them equally and in a transparent manner.” Gulab Rai, Sukaar Foundation

Twenty-two year old Aman works as an IT and HR officer at Riverside Development Organisation (RDO), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Sukkur, Sindh. “RDO is working in the field of education, capacity building and empowerment of women, children, and youth, and health. I joined the development sector for its dynamic work environment, the opportunities to make decisions in uncertain situations, being able to work with diverse teams, taking on different roles according to situational needs and being able to serve people,” shared Aman while introducing himself at a training organised by Community World Service Asia under its Capacity Enhancement Program.

The training titled ‘Leading in Complexity and Ambiguity’, was held in March (2022), providing a learning space for humanitarian practitioners to reflect on their leadership style and its relevance and effectiveness in the Covid-19 context and other crises. “We received resource material before the training which was concise and easy to understand. This allowed us to get familiar with the content of the training and come prepared to the workshop.”

Aman found the session on feedback management and coaching as a leadership most interesting. Learning how to take critical and positive feedback as practised in one of the training exercises has really helped Aman strengthen relevant systems in his organisation and in his professional dealings. “The feedback mechanism incorporated in the training and the session on it encouraged me to implement the same in my organisation. Upon my return, I developed an anonymous feedback form and encouraged staff to share their feedback regarding management, co-workers and office facilities. The staff was sceptical and cautious due to the possibility of punitive action being taken against them. I held a session with all employees to explain the value and anonymity of the feedback system and to urge them to freely submit their opinions. This increased staff confidence, and they were more willing to provide comments as a result.”

While frequency of feedback received increased, Aman observed that the feedback they were receiving was mostly centred on the negative aspects of the organisation. In light of this, he introduced a ‘compliment slip’ allowing employees to anonymously submit good thoughts about the organisation and colleagues as well. “We distributed both forms among staff on a weekly basis. This really boosted the morale and motivation of our team members because they know that they will get appreciated through compliment slips. This initiative has established a culture where transparency and confidentiality can both exist, encouraging employees to offer their comments honestly and confidently. Before staff awareness on this was increased only 2-3 feedback slips were received weekly, while the number has now increased to almost 20.”

Another key learning of Aman was coaching as a leader. He learned through the session that coaching employees/staff members on organisational values and objectives was an effective way to build teams, individual staff capacity and increase confidence and productivity. “Coaching is more performance driven, designed to improve the professional’s on-the-job performance. I improvised my coaching methods. As staff would sometimes discuss problems they faced within the organisation, I would usually hear them out and work on the solution myself. However, I now ask them for solutions and I ask them related questions to create a comfortable environment during our discussions. I now urge them to draw the solution while responding. I am amazed to see how the discussions eventually lead to a solution.”

“The workshop helped me enhance my expertise and bring about a positive change at RDO. The staff is more expressive and comfortable talking to me about any matter that arise in the organisation,” stated Aman optimistically.

When: 5th October, 2022/Wednesday
Time: 2.00 PM-3:00 PM (Pakistan Standard Time)
Where: Zoom (Register here)
Language: English

Background:

The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan’s southern and northern regions has paved way for a socioeconomic crisis for which long-term assistance is anticipated by the humanitarian sector. Community World Service Asia, high committed towards Accountability to Affected People, is launching a safeguarding coaching and mentoring series for local NGOs currently engaged in flood response in the country to ensure that quality and accountability aspect is covered in humanitarian relief.

When people we work with or for feel unsafe within their workspace or global environment, this has important negative impacts on the quality of our work and the objectives we intend to reach. Safeguarding is therefore a key pillar to any accountability measure that organizations integrate into their programmes and working cycle. To continue supporting its implementing partners, CWSA plans to organize a series of 6 one-hour remote events on the topic.

Objectives:

As the first in a series of six, this session would focus on gaining input from participants as to what would be the most useful themes within safeguarding for you, to be discussed more in-depth and get practical support in subsequent coaching and mentoring sessions. This first session should also contribute to identify potential speakers who would be ready to share their experience and support others on specific themes within safeguarding. This will overall support participants in implementing safeguarding guidelines and practices in their organizations.

Note:

Registered participants are expected to have prior experience in safeguarding work
The first session is open-call and all participants are welcome to attend. For subsequent sessions, a selected cohort will be chosen based on their experience and the relevance of their work to safeguarding. This cohort is expected to attend all the planned sessions.

Presenter:

Ester 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 has had an 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 project participants, 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 and child protection.

Where: Zoom (register here)
Date: 29th September 2022
Time: 12.00 pm to 01.00 pm (Pakistan Standard Time)
Language: English

Objectives

By the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • Describe how humanitarian principles, commitments and standards can be applied at all phases of the project life in the current context
  • Recognise how the emergency response can be transformed into an opportunity to build back better for the future
  • Learn how to place people and communities at the centre of their work from the onset of the program

Background

The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan’s southern and northern regions has paved way for a socioeconomic crisis for which long-term assistance is anticipated by the humanitarian sector. Community World Service Asia is launching a Q&A learning series for local NGOs currently engaged in flood response in the country to ensure that quality and accountability aspect is covered in humanitarian relief.

Participating organizations and their staff will be able to learn from each other and improve humanitarian coordination to effectively respond to the people affected by the crisis and align the support to their needs.

It is essential that humanitarian organizations adapt key Q&A initiatives and their tools to support project cycle management. To overcome the challenges that humanitarian workers face in implementing Q&A approaches, they can also collaborate and coordinate with other organizations to improve the quality and accountability of a humanitarian response. Additionally, while responding to an emergency is a challenge, it also paves way for building a better future and giving disaster mitigation a strong priority.

Speaker

Sylvie Robert is an adult learning expert with over 25 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector, passionate about and dedicated to Quality, Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) and Prevention of/ Protection from and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA). She works primarily with field practitioners to identify lessons from the implementation, learn from those and stimulate change, specifically in complex environments.

Community World Service Asia is the regional partner and country focal point of Sphere and member of CHS Alliance for promoting quality and accountability (Q&A) standards, tool and principles.

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