Quality and Accountability
Quality and Accountability Hub

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.

This discussion paper has been developed to assist in exploring different options and contribute to making the humanitarian certification process fit for the future. It sets out some of the challenges from the lessons learned from the existing standard and certification process and suggests options for alternative processes for consideration for the future. It is hoped that the paper will be used to explore some more realistic options that will ensure wider reach and more inclusion of local and national actors in the Global South.

The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) emerged in 2014 from an extensive consultation process. It contains excellent guidance, further detailed in its 2015 Guidance Notes and Indicators. The Standard is currently under revision. This note seeks to contribute to that revision. The first section recommends greater nuance in some of Standard’s guidance. The second section requests that the CHS, in its application and verification, is squarely put within the political economy of aid, notably of the relief sector. The third section requests that the CHS Alliance ensures that its Standard is not misused to reinforce the structural inequalities in the sector.

Where: Zoom (register here)
Date: 19th 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:

  • Understand the Do No Harm and People-Centred Approaches in the current context
  • Discern how the Humanitarian Charter, Code of Conduct and an effective Complaint Response Mechanism can play a role in ensuring accountability of aid
  • Learn how to place people and communities at the centre of their work throughout the program duration

Background

The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan’s southern and northern regions has killed thousands of people and carried away cattle, houses, and treasures worth billions of rupees, for which long-term assistance is anticipated by the humanitarian sector. Several local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are engaged in emergency flood relief.

Delivering aid through the current emergency reflects our humanitarian values and principles. However, in some cases there may be unintended negative consequences. These have to be considered from upfront and minimized in case they would harm the people we intend to serve.

Community World Service Asia is launching a Q&A learning series for NGOs currently engaged in flood response in the country to ensure that quality and accountability aspect is covered through humanitarian relief activities. 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.

Sylvie Robert 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.

The Sphere Focal Points group in Asia has started following a regular quarterly model of virtual meeting to adjust to post-pandemic realities and make information sharing more timely and consistent. These meetings ensure to engage all focal points and sets ground for better communication and learning while highlighting and discussing contextualised challenges in different countries, and how to overcome them.

Held in June, this year’s second virtual meeting focused on sharing information about the Core Humanitarian Standard, which is one of the foundation chapters of Sphere. The CHS Alliance Strategy 2022-2025 and its Revision process was also discussed in this session. Shama Mall, Deputy Regional Director at CWSA, shared an overview of how Sphere Strategy and the newly launched CHS Alliance Strategy complement each other.

“The Core Humanitarian Standard was based on a large consultation which lasted 12 months with communities and people affected by crisis, NGOs and networks, governments, UN agencies, academics, and funding partners and overseen by a Technical Advisory Group. As a measurable and verifiable standard, CHS verification which is valid for two years and is managed by the CHS Alliance is ‘a structured’, systematic process to assess the degree to which an organisation’s work complies with the CHS,” shared Bonaventure Sokpoh from CHS Alliance who also participated in this virtual session.

While discussing the recently launched CHS revision process and consultations, Aninia Nadig, CHS Revision Manager, presented a detailed purpose and plan “The CHS is one of the foundations for technical standards and other initiatives. It serves as a framework for monitoring and continuous improvement while influencing the system-wide policy and operational challenges as well as transforming relationships with people and communities, making aid more effective and accountable. The CHS Revision process has been officially launched in May this year in light of global and local changes and it aims to look into the aspects of CHS working well, those need to be changed and how its potential can be maximised to make sure that the CHS is more accessible and relevant to all stakeholders. The revision scope focuses on three levels: structure, content and use.”

“For CHS Revision to be effective, a global consultative process grounded in local realities is required. A successful CHS revision would result in the standard being more accessible and inclusive, relevant for today and future challenges, better known and used by many more stakeholders, driving continuous, measurable improvements, and increasing accountability at all levels,” said Aninia.

To take the CHS Revision Consultations to scale, it is necessary to explore the role that organisations and networks in member countries can take to ensure participation of all relevant stakeholders in the consultations. Guidance for the consultations, including tools, have been launched and available to all members and the humanitarian community at large. Aninia Nadig emphasised that since CHS is a part of the Sphere handbook, Focal Points promoting Sphere can support the revision process by conducting consultations in their respective countries as well.

CWSA’s consultation plan for this year was shared with all focal points to share a reference regarding implementation. The diverse voices from affected communities and organisations will help make the revised version more effective and relevant.

Where: Zoom (register here)
Date: 9th September 2022
Time: 10.00 am to 11.30 am (Pakistan Standard Time)

Background

The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan’s southern and northern regions has killed thousands of people and carried away cattle, houses, and treasures worth billions of rupees, for which long-term assistance is anticipated by the humanitarian sector. Several local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are engaged in emergency flood relief. Experiences and lessons from emergencies such as earthquakes and floods in Pakistan, Myanmar, Haiti and Kenya have shown that effective coordination and mutual learning among agencies enhances the quality and accountability of humanitarian action to people affected by crisis.

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. Community World Service Asia is launching a Q&A learning series for NGOs currently engaged in flood response in the country to ensure that quality and accountability aspect is covered through humanitarian relief activities. This forum will also provide a platform for sharing experiences, best practices and challenges for ensuring quality and accountability in the flood response. 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.

Objectives

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

  • Introduce the CHS guidance in response to floods
  • Revisit fundamental principles of CHS which are crucial to a successful, holistic intervention
  • Explore the relevant commitments & guidance in CHS
  • Elicit examples and challenges from participants to promote further learning

Moderator

Tooba Siddiqi is an experienced Engagement Manager with over 10 years of experience in partnership management, advocacy, youth mobilization and community-led campaigning. In her time at Community World Service Asia, she has played a significant role in pushing the Quality and Accountability standards with local NGOs as well as regional organisations. She is a trainer on Core Humanitarian Standard practices that has been developed by an expert team at Community World Service Asia. She also leads workshops to train other national and regional staff on this valuable knowledge.

Resources

  1. The Sphere Handbook- English
  2. The Sphere Handbook- Urdu
  3. CHS Booklet- English
  4. CHS Booklet- Urdu

The Asian Disaster Risk Reduction Network (ADRRN), Community World Service Asia (CWSA), International Council of Voluntary Agencies ( ICVA), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), are collectively planning a Regional Humanitarian Partnership Week (RHPW) 2022, which will primarily be face-to-face, with some hybrid sessions, in Bangkok this December.

Please find here a ‘Save the Date’ announcement for you to plan your participation in this exciting and meaningful week.

Looking forward to welcoming you in Bangkok.

Community World Service Asia invites you to a 5-Day Workshop full of interactive learning experiences focused on Quality, Accountability and Safeguarding in Humanitarian Action from 4th – 8th of December 2022, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Kindly see the document below for more details and registration.

The application deadline for the Regional event is September 15th, 2022.

For more information, contact our Focal Point for this event Zainab Mir @ regional.program@communityworldservice.asia

As a continuation of the Quality & Accountability (Q&A) Week 2021, the sixth virtual session, 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), focused on exploring ways to ensure inclusion for efficient child safeguarding into programs, safeguarding efforts, communications and complaints handling.

“Defining who is a child in the humanitarian aid sector is critical. Any person under the age of 18 is classified as a child. Most organisations, regardless of local or cultural traditions, accept the international definition,” Ester Dross stated during the ‘Child Safeguarding’ webinar on May 24th, 2022.

What is child abuse?
What are the symptoms?
What are the consequences?

While raising these questions in the virtual event, Ester Dross said, “Child abuse includes physical, emotional/psychological and sexual abuse, neglect and negligent treatment, exploitation and violence in all forms. It is essential to have a clear definition in our policies and guidelines when addressing child safeguarding.” Ahmad Alaghawani, Safeguarding Officer at Islamic Relief in Jordan, joined the webinar as the guest speaker. More than ninety humanitarian and development practitioners, from Asia and Europe, participated in this 90-minute webinar bringing together a wide array of diverse expertise and knowledge on safeguarding to learn from.

Child Safeguarding vs Child Protection

“Organisational commitment to preventing and responding to abuse of children, by its own staff is referred to as child safeguarding. On the other hand, the mechanism by which an organisation seeks to fulfil children rights in their communities is referred to as child protection,” shared Ester.

All organisations that engage with or come into contact with children should have safeguarding policies and procedures in place. “Knowing the principles of child safeguarding guarantees that every child, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, colour, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation, has an equal right to be safe. Establishing and adhering to safeguarding principles ensures that children are safe and protected from any kind of harm.” Key principles highlighted in the webinar included:

  • Children having equal rights to protection from abuse and exploitation
  • Organisation obligated to taking reasonable measures to prevent harm
  • Appropriately using photos of children
  • Acquiring skills and specialised knowledge to adhere to safeguarding policies
  • Working for the best interest of children
  • Treating reports with confidentiality and seriousness
  • Ensuring partners’ responsibility to meet minimum standards

Safeguarding as a Key Responsibility

At Islamic Relief, we ensure that its staff, operations and programmes do not harm children, young people and people at risk and do not cause them to be at greater risk of harm from others” said Ahmad Alaghawani, “We have policies and guidelines on Child Safeguarding, People at Risk, PSEAH[1], Code of Conduct and Dignity at Work.”

The safeguarding, protection and wellbeing of those we serve have been a core area of Islamic Relief’s work over the past 34 years. In working with vulnerable children of all ages and abilities around the world, Islamic Relief takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard children from all types of abuses.

The organisation has developed a complaint mechanism for children after conducting focal group discussions (FDG) with the staff who directly works with children to address the challenges they encountered while dealing with children. “Some key recommendations that came out from the FDGs included training of teachers on child behaviour and special care of Syrian children refugees, establishing a complaints and feedback mechanism specifically for children and sensitising children on what is right and wrong to create a safe space,” shared Ahmed.

The complaint mechanism for children focuses on raising awareness among teachers, families and children on child safeguarding and protection. Ahmed further added, “The staff at Islamic Relief has to attend a mandatory training on Safeguarding. We also have extensive IEC material which consists of information of different kinds of abuse and exploitation and steps that need to be taken by the communities and children at risk to address the vulnerable situations. Moreover, we conduct awareness sessions to sensitise communities and right holders on our complaint mechanism and ways to report SEAH.” Organisations of all types and sizes to implement rigorous policies, processes and tests to protect children from abuse. “That could mean training staff to understand appropriate language and behaviour. Encouraging teams to run background checks on new recruits. And helping families and communities to understand what they can do to support young people at risk. All organisations have a responsibility to protect children from harm and it is imperative we exercise our responsibility seriously and accountably,” concluded Ester.


[1] Prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment

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