Quality and Accountability
Quality and Accountability Hub

Sphere recently published a new resource that offers hands-on guidance to practitioners looking to consider environmental issues in their humanitarian programmes. The guide, called “thematic sheet”, is the first in a series that will discuss some of the core issues in humanitarian response and the Sphere Handbook’s relevance to them. 

To understand what a thematic sheet is and how it will be helpful to humanitarian practitioners, Sphere interviewed sustainability expert and Sphere Handbook co-author Amanda George.

Read more

Share your Feedback on this third Edition: Consultation is opened until 4th December 2019!

This third Edition is opened to a wide audience for consultation through various platforms. We welcome any comments and inputs until 4th December 2019. This Edition will then be finalized, designed and published by the end of 2019.

We would also greatly appreciate any contribution in the format of stories or case studies related to the implementation of Quality and Accountability throughout the Project Cycle Management/ Humanitarian Programme Cycle.

Please share your feedback and contributions to both:

Sylvie Robert, Booklet Author, Independent Consultant
Email: sylvierobertconsulting@yahoo.fr

Shama Mall, Booklet Publisher, Community World Service Asia
Email: shaprograms@communityworldservice.asia

Thank you in advance!

Note: A 3-day Training package on Quality and Accountability for Project Cycle Management – composed of 10 training modules – is being tested and finalized to accompany this publication.

Click here to download the Booklet

Community World Service Asia, ACT Alliance, OCHA, ICVA, ADRRN, Act Church of Sweden, CHS Alliance, Sphere, and the Q&A Hub are hosting a collaborative event on strengthening accountability to the communities. A revised version of the new and updated booklet on Quality and Accountability for Project Cycle Management (PCM) will be introduced at this event which will be followed by a stimulating panel discussion that will be led by experts on accountability towards affected populations.

Click here download Event Agenda


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. However, the impact of our activities depends as much on behavioural and professional standards of individuals who work for our organisations. Humanitarian agencies therefore have a duty of care to affected communities and a responsibility to ensure that right-holders are treated with dignity and respect and that certain minimum standards of behaviour are observed. The goal is to create an environment free of sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment and other unacceptable behaviour in humanitarian crisis and development work.

Course Aim and Objectives

The objective of this course is to gather professional humanitarian workers from (I)NGOs, UN, donors and government agencies who aim to become experts in complaints handling. It will allow participants to understand the linkages between quality & accountability and handling complaints, from reception to investigation and implementation of the learning. More specifically, at the end of the course, participants will have acquired the following skills:

  • Understand the different Q&A initiatives and how they complete each other
  • Explain and apply the 9 Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) commitments and identify how they contribute to improved humanitarian interventions
  • Explain terminology related to sensitive complaints
  • Understand the global investigative framework including specific skills to conduct interviews
  • Demonstrate a robust knowledge on how to handle complaints, from communication to reception of complaints and subsequent investigations
  • Able to support and manage an ongoing investigation and its follow-up action


The methodology will be very participatory, allowing participants to be involved in a dynamic way at all times through presentations, debates, experience sharing, group work, learning parts, videos. The course will be conducted in English.

Who Should Apply

This workshop has been designed for those staff members working to establish and handle complaints system in their organizations or staff members involved in the Prevention of

Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) as well as investigating sensitive complaints. Applicants fulfilling the following criteria are eligible to participate:

  • Senior and mid-level managers, including project coordinators involved in complaints handling and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)
  • Proficiency in English

How to apply

Kindly fill out the Online Application Form: https://forms.gle/trS5Rf5A1zCtRhqM8 or fill the attached form and send it to qa.support@communityworldservice.asia by October 20, 2019. Applicants will be notified/confirmed about their participation by October 31, 2019. For further information or queries please feel free to contact us: qa.support@communityworldservice.asia

Please make sure you include contact information (postal address, e-mail or phone number) you will access during those dates, at the latest. Space will be allocated on a ‘first-confirmed, first-served’ basis. Payment of the tuition fee will confirm the course registration.

Things you need to know!

When: November 29 – December 2, 2019
Where: Bangkok, Thailand
Registration Fee: US$ 650 (All-inclusive except for dinners and travel cost to & from Bangkok).
Application deadline: October 20, 2019

Please note

  • Participants are expected to arrive in Bangkok on November 28 and depart on December 3 and will be accommodated for maximum 5 nights (on double occupancy basis).
  • All participants are expected to attend the collaborative event on the morning of 29th of November.
  • Two meals (breakfast and lunch), in addition to refreshments will be provided during the training. Participants will be responsible for their own dinner.
  • Participants are advised to please confirm any expense related information from Community World Service Asia to ensure all financial matters are clarified.

Meet the Trainer

Ms. 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.

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

There’s More

The CHS Exchange

When: 08.30 AM Tuesday, November 19 to 12.00 PM Wednesday, November 20
Where: Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel 8/2 Rangnam Road, Thanon-Phayathai, Ratchathewi, 10400 Bangkok

Organized by the CHS Alliance, the CHS Exchange provides the opportunity to debate and discuss how the CHS can make aid work better for people in crisis. For more detail and registration please visit https://www.chsalliance.org/events/bangkok-chs-exchange/

The CHS Alliance General Assembly (Members only)

When: Wednesday afternoon, November 20 to Thursday, November 21
Where: Pullman Bangkok King Power Hotel 8/2 Rangnam Road, Thanon-Phayathai, Ratchathewi, 10400 Bangkok

The physical General Assembly of CHS Alliance members is an important opportunity for the membership to agree on the collective way forward, in our commitment to the CHS and making aid work better for people. For more details and registration, please visit https://www.chsalliance.org/get-support/event/bangkok-chs-exchange-and-general-assembly/


When: Tuesday, November 26 to Friday, November 29
Where: Bangkok, Thailand (Venue to be decided)

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), The International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network (ADRRN) are holding a range of events, including thematic sessions, in a collaborative manner during the four days. For more details, please be in touch with the organizers.

Launch and Panel Discussion

When: 09.00 AM to 12.00 PM Friday, November 29
Where: Windsor Suites Hotel 10/1 Sukhumvit Soi 20, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand.

A collaborative event will be organized by Community World Service Asia, OCHA, ICVA, ADRRN, Act Church of Sweden, CHS Alliance and Sphere. It will include the launch of the updated booklet on Quality and Accountability for Project Cycle Management. This user-friendly booklet is designed especially for field practitioners working in the humanitarian and development sector to improve quality and accountability of their projects towards communities. The revised version aims to introduce advance tools to use at each stage of the project cycle, allowing enhanced practical implementation of quality and accountability. The launch will be followed by a stimulating panel discussion by panelists representing a range of experiences on accountability towards affected populations. More information will be circulated soon.

Advancing women leadership

When: November 24 to 29, 2019
Where: Windsor Suites Hotel 10/1 Sukhumvit Soi 20, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

Community World Service Asia is organizing a training on Advancing Women Leadership. This training is a holistic approach to leveraging the strength and power of women. We are all unique beings and this course lends itself to that. For more details and registration, please visit: http://bit.do/a-w-l-2019

Training of Trainers on Quality & Accountability to Affected Populations

When: November 23 to 29, 2019
Where: Windsor Suites Hotel 10/1 Sukhumvit Soi 20, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

As part of Community World Service Asia’s response to the demands for more support on awareness raising, capacity building and collective learning, we are delighted to announce the upcoming Training of Trainers on Quality & Accountability to Affected Populations. This event is a unique opportunity for all agencies, to equip staff to both disseminate and implement the standards. For more details and registration, please visit: http://bit.do/fbbcU


CWSA reserves the right to cancel or postpone the course if circumstances require. Registered participants will be informed with 100% fee refund. However, if the participant wishes to cancel the registration, he/she requires informing CWSA office at least one month in advance or else the fee will not be refunded.

About Community World Service Asia

Community World Service Asia is a humanitarian and development organization, Registered in Pakistan, head-quartered in Karachi and implementing initiatives throughout Asia. We aim to address factors that divide people by promoting inclusiveness, shared values, diversity, and interdependence. Marginalized communities are assisted Irrespective of race, faith, color, age, sex, economic status, or political opinion. Respecting the right to choose how to live, we work with marginalized communities to overcome the impacts of inequalities and lead peaceful, dignified and resilient lives.

Our focus areas include: Emergencies; Climate Action and Resilience Building; Education; Health; Livelihoods; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene; and, Humanitarian Quality and Accountability. We engage in the self-implementation of projects, cooperation through partners, and the provision of capacity building trainings and resources at the national, regional and global levels.

To strengthen and extend the reach of our commitments to promoting quality and accountability in humanitarian response, we are a member of the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) Alliance and Sphere. We are the Sphere Country Focal Point in Pakistan and the Regional Partner in Asia for the Sphere. Community World Service Asia is ISO 9001:2015 certified and has also received the USAID management standards certification. We have also been certified as a Gender Friendly Organization (GFO) in Pakistan and have undergone the CHS self-assessment. Our commitment and capacities enable us to collaborate with key partners on advocating, building capacity, and enhancing quality and accountability of humanitarian action both within Pakistan and the wider region.


Community World Service Asia shall not be made liable for any damage, loss, illness, injuries or death that may occur to or be caused by the participants during the course of training or travel to and from the training venue.


Click here download brochure and invitation letter.

For further details, please contact:

Mr. Khurram Saeed
Email: qa.support@communityworldservice.asia
Contact: +92 51 2307484
Web: www.communityworldservice.asia

The Perbhat theater group with the team of community World Service Asia.

Sphere Regional Focal Point, Community World Service Asia organized a theater performance on the Sphere standard #6.3 Food Assistance. Two theater performances were conducted in Ratan Bheel and Mandhal Thakur villages of Umerkot district in Sindh, Pakistan on December 6th! A total of 130 men and women participated in the community-level event.

The play highlighted some challenges faced during the targeting, distribution and delivery processes of food assistance. Perbhat, a local theater group and local partner of CWSA, performed an interactive theater play to highlight the food distribution methods or direct cash/voucher delivery mechanisms that are efficient, equitable, secure, safe, accessible and effective and are in line with the Sphere standards. The play emphasized on the guidelines derived from the Sphere Handbook 2018 that guides the CSOs to use the minimum standards to protect the rights of all groups of society to promote their dignity and ensure their inclusiveness and protection.

Voices of the Community:

Savetri from Ratan Bheel village in Umerkot shared, “The play promoted the importance and respect of differently able and children in the community. These two groups are mostly overlooked but today we learnt that the new Sphere Handbook promotes the inclusion of all groups including men, women, children, youth and the differently able members of communities.”

Khatoon from Ratan Bheel village in Umerkot quoted, “The needs of men, women, children, youth and differently able members of the communities were given importance. None of the group was disregarded as all are served equally during emergency crisis.”

Dhano, Ratan Bheel village, Umerkot. “We learnt an important message today stating that the food assistance provided by various organizations should be according to the needs of community members”

Kiran Bashir, Project Manager, Community World Service Asia. “Sphere Handbook 2018 promotes the inclusion of all women, youth, elders and differently able members of local communities. Every voice counts so let us raise our voices together and share the message of equal participation.”

Jai Ram Dhaas, Ratan Bheel village, Umerkot. “We learnt that the Sphere Handbook 2018 caters the needs of all women, children and most importantly of the differently able members in the community who are mostly gone unnoticed.”

Sphere partners, International Council of Voluntary Agencies, Community World Service Asia, Church of Sweden, ADRRN and Alnap, launched the revised edition of the #SphereHandbook in Bangkok on December 11. 150 participants representing the humanitarian community of over 30 countries attended the regional event.

The panel discussion with key experts launched presentations of recent findings and products followed by a debate on hot topics related to Quality and Accountability to Affected Populations (Q&AAP), with a focus on communities and people affected by the crisis as the main target.

The event was concluded with an announcement of a Share Fair on Quality and Accountability to Affected Populations. Participants of the Training of Trainers on Q&AAP, together with some initiatives leading the work and research on humanitarian standards lead presentations and discussions on different tables.

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.

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