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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

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.
Paul Hawken – American Environmentalist

Emerging or smaller organizations often work within informal organizational structures due to lack of financial and human resources. This commonly results in fewer staff members performing multiple functions. With this sort of multi-tasking, it is imperative that key employees of such organizations are equipped with basic skills on managing human resources, operational and financial functions of the organization to ensure consistent efficiency and productivity. To support small and medium civil society organizations and local NGOs to achieve this level of efficiency and quality management, Community World Service Asia conducted a capacity enhancement opportunity through a four-day workshop on Organization Management this July.

What did the workshop aim to achieve?

  • To develop functional understanding of Organizational Management skills
  • To equip participants with the knowledge of the latest trends and techniques in Organizational Management
  • To familiarize participants with the concept and practices of Human Resource Management
  • To Identify ways and approaches for effective resource management (Multi-Tasking)

The prime focus of the training was to strengthen the capacity of local level organizations directly engaged in community mobilization and on-ground development initiatives. The key topics covered were Organizational Sustainability, Management Style in Different Cultures, People Management, Art of Planning and Implementation and Applied Tax Compliance. A total of twenty-four participants from fourteen different organizations took part in the workshop.

Applying Innovation in Training methodology

Once the participants for this training were selected, they were fully taken on board with the conceptualization, designing and activity planning of the training itself. Through an e-meeting, they were all asked about their expectations from this training and what they actually wished to take back from it. At this meeting, participating organizations particularly highlighted the need to include dedicated sessions on Applied Tax Compliances, Linking CHS with organizational management and Shrinking Space while working in sensitive environments. For these sessions, experts were invited to share their learnings and experiences in their specialized fields.

A baseline survey was also conducted to assess the limitations and priorities of all participants prior to the training.

Sessions of the Workshop:

Linking CHS with Organizational Work:

There is a growing demand to adopt to international standards and protocols. Donors are pursuing the agenda for linking the organization policies, procedures and practices with international standards for quality and accountability. Local level organizations have shown deep interest in the pretraining stage to understand Core Humanitarian Standards and its significance for organization working in Pakistan.

Community World Service Asia being focal partner of Sphere and an active member of CHS Alliance helped organizations in the workshop understand the importance of CHS and linking it to organizational management. Rizwan Iqbal and Sana Basim, in-house Trainers, briefed the participants on how to link CHS nine commitments with organizational policies, procedures and practices.

Shrinking Space to Operate for NGOs:

The biggest challenge NGOs in Pakistan face is the shrinking space to operate. The problem associated with this is the lack of information about the factors behind the shrinking space. This is another area where CWSA is vigorously engaged. Karen Janjua, Associate Regional Director (Strategy and Partnership), was the guest speaker for this session. She shared the global and national factors behind the shrinking space like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations to counter terrorism funding and newly introduce national legislative measure for this. She also shared the importance of working together and need for positively engaging with government. The participants appreciated the step of Community World Service Asia in introducing them to national and international legislations and how to improve the situation.

Applied Tax Compliance:

There have been a lot of changes in tax and financial protocols for NGOs by the state in Pakistan. According to the participating NGOs, they face the problem of identifying tax rates, deducting taxes and filing returns. Hira Saeed from the Finance department in Community World Service Asia, briefed the participants about the FBR tax reforms in recent times and their implication on NGOs sector. She also shared the tax slabs for different categories.

Applying the Blended Learning Approach:

Practicing the blended learning approach, the facilitators’ team divided the participants’ group into two. The first group was asked to develop a short presentation on their organizational sustainability model, while the other group was asked to present  their management structure as part of the session on Management Style in Different Cultures on day 2 of the training.

Since participants from same organizations were assigned different groups, each participating organization was able to share their sustainability model and management structure by the end of the session. The purpose of this activity was to promote peer learning and sharing of contextualized best practices through open discussions, one-on-one talks and formal presentations among various organizations.


Participants developed organizational action plans, chalking out the roadmap for implementing the learnings of the training and the post-training support they would require towards the end of the training. They all requested to share their respective action points within their organization before agreeing on the final points. This was agreed upon and a follow-up questionnaire was decided to be shared among all training participants to complete in liaison with their line managers and senior management.

Chaudary Shafiq, Commissioner at the National Commission for Human Rights, participated as  chief guest at the closing day of the workshop. He commended the significant role played by national and local organization in Pakistan towards highlighting the issues of the underprivileged and underserved communities in Pakistan.

Group photo of Community World Service Asia project staff with the representatives of participants of the consultation meeting.

Community World Service Asia’s (CWSA) Quality and Accountability team organized a consultation meeting with selected representatives and officials of the academia community of Pakistan to explore the existing practices of student engagement in field work and to initiate the process of designing a comprehensive guide on “Field Work Practicum”. Field Work Practicum is part of the course work of Social Work Department of Pakistani Universities. This involves field work for practical exposure and experience for a certain period of time. The practicum enables students to connect their theoretical curriculum with practical field work. Universities in Pakistan lack guidelines about student placement, role of external and internal supervisors, ethics and norms for students to learn before going to field, scope and limitation of engaging students with organizations, gauging students’ performance and allocating grades for specific subject area. CWSA will facilitate these Universities in developing guidelines which will support the Social Work Departments with well-defined parameters, roles, responsibilities and plans for student engagement and field work.

The meeting held on June 23rd was attended by eleven faculty members from three universities, including University of Sindh, Jamshoro, University of the Punjab, Lahore and University of Peshawar (UoP). The broader aim of the consultation was to identify the existing practice of field work and form a core team responsible for drafting the guideline and developing a detail plan of the “Field Work Practicum Guide Development”.

Dr. Ibrar, Assistant Professor at the Social Work Department, UoP, welcomed all the participants of the meeting and shared the agenda of the day, while, Khurram Saeed, Community World Service Asia representative, facilitated the consultation and explained the process required to work on the guidelines.

The existing practices of academic field work and challenges faced by students and supervisors in its initial stages of implementation were shared by all participants. Arshad Abbasi, Lecturer at University of the Punjab and Waheed Akbar, Lecturer at University of the Sindh, Jamshoro particularly explained the informal mechanism used by their respective universities for field work and various challenges associated with students and supervisors due to informal arrangements. Some major challenges highlighted were the lack of proper plans, clear objectives and follow up mechanism for student performance, role of internal and external supervisor in coaching and mentoring of students and forms and formats for different levels (Objective setting, student plans, reporting and student assessment).

Each of the three participating universities shared their existing practices and challenges through presentations followed by a Question & Answer session. Participants further shared solutions to challenges faced in field work activities with each other and discussed steps to develop the first draft of the guidelines.

Rizwan Iqbal, Community World Service Asia staff member, explained the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework (CHCF) to the participants and how the CHCF can contribute to the development of competency-based student placement programs. In a group exercise, each participant briefly studied the core competencies and identified important features to be incorporated in the program and the practicum. The CHCF was found to be useful and applicable by most of the academia members present at the meeting.

Nominations were requested to form a core committee to begin work on the different stages and drafts of the field work practicum guide. The core committee will receive nominations from universities by the end of July.

Dr. Ibrar formally concluded the session and appreciated the vigorous participation of all the participants and their valuable contribution at this initial stage of development of the field work practicum guide. Nasira Nasreen, Lecturer, Peshawar University, shared,

I am quite impressed by the idea of developing the field work practicum guide as students face challenges from departments and immediate supervisors when conducting related activities. This guide will help improve the processes of field work, resulting in productive outcomes.

 Waheed Akhtar, Lecturer at University of Sindh, Jamshoro highlighted the importance of the meeting

as this experience sharing gave them an opportunity to learn new practices to improve their field work exercises and activities. A standard document will further clarify the processes for students and relevant departments, which will allow efficient and smooth working.

Group Photo of the training participants of "Leadership Development for Managers" in Sindh.

Most managers in local organizations are often not given many opportunities of professional training or grooming on enhancing leadership skills. These particular skills are crucial to achieving planned goals and to bring the best out of a team in any management role. To fill this gap and to further strengthen the role of managers, second-line leadership, and  staff in supervisory roles in local NGOs or CSOs, Community World Service Asia organized a four-day workshop on Leadership Development, under its Capacity Enhancement Program in Mirpurkhas, Sindh, Pakistan. The training, organized in early May, was participated by twenty-seven professionals from eleven local level organizations in Sindh.

The training, which was in a “workshop” format,  focused on introducing the various leadership styles recognized globally and strengthening management skills and professional competencies to lead and guide teams and individuals. Some of the key sessions of the training included “Difference between Leadership and Management Skills”, “Community types and style”, “Transactional Analysis and Coaching” and “Mentoring Skills”. Participants understood the difference between a good leader and a good manager and what characteristics stands them apart. An activity which aimed at identifying and mastering the five steps for team building helped the participants to reflect upon the critical stages of team building and how to facilitate the process. Referencing to real life challenges faced in work environments when attempting to conduct team building activities, this session was particularly relevant for most participants.

Transactional Analysis was a new approach introduced in the training. The session analyzed the social transformations of organizations. With the help of this session, the participants further built their knowledge on the various types of social transactions and how to avoid arguments or cross communication with colleagues in future.

Participants recognized the importance of mentoring and coaching towards developing second-line leadership and how vital it is for staff in managerial roles as it aids in limiting the risks of internal and external challenges faced by organizations.

Sohail Muhammad Ali, the lead trainer for the workshop applied interactive and participatory approaches throughout the training which allowed participants to be consistently engaged and active throughout the sessions. Participants voiced their concerns and opinions openly during the four-days workshop.

Participants’ Voices:

“This was a unique training experience. To me the difference between western and eastern communications style was a new thing. We are always engaged in communication without knowing our style of communication, its pro and cons, strengths and weaknesses and limitations. The discussion on different communication models really helped me understand the different backstopping I personally face in my work. Now I can analyze my style of communication and work for further improvement.

Asad Chachar, Jagarta Social Welfare Organization (JSWO)

“Training for Leadership Development for Managers was very informative. I learnt new approaches and tools including Transitional analysis, Emotional intelligence & trust building. These tools are indeed helpful in understanding the note of emotions, language style, communication type and understand what others want to communicate. Words alone do not give you the complete message. You have to understand the emotions and communication style of others to fully understand their message. Previously, we only focused on words which often created problems as there was no clarity or clear message. I am very hopeful this training will be helpful for me in my professional career and personal life”

Allah Dino Khoso, field office, Badin, Sindh, Community World Service Asia

“I am relatively new to this sector and this training really helped me to understand the dynamics of management and leadership skills.  The environment was very comfortable and it provided a culture of sharing and acquiring new skills together. The facilitator of the training was proactive in delivering the sessions. He possessed in-depth knowledge and shared good examples on the training subject. The workshop was very interactive and everyone was engaged throughout the training”

Beenish Mahak, Nishat Welfare Organization

“We do say that leaders are born with leadership skills, however through capacity building programs, these skills can be developed among second line management as well.  The culture of mentoring and coaching in the organizations builds a strong bond for staff within the organization. It increases their commitment and spirit to achieve higher targets and attain long term objectives of the organization. This is one of my key learnings from  this training.”

Fozia Kashif, Participatory Village Development Programme

Group photo of Community World Service Asia and International Medical Corps staff.

Humanitarian organizations in Pakistan are demonstrating increased commitment towards enhancing the capacities of their staff and partners on accountability standards to ensure quality assistance to the communities served. In April 2018, Community World Service Asia provided technical support through two trainings, one for HelpAge International (HAI) and the other for International Medical Corps (IMC), to introduce the Sphere Minimum Standards and Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) into their organizational operations and implementation.

The two-day trainings catered to thirty-four staff members, 32% women and 68% men, of HAI and IMC, who were all facilitated with practical support in applying the Sphere Minimum Standards as a tool to improve quality and accountability (Q&A) of their humanitarian action.

Participants of this learning exercise were introduced to the CHS and its nine commitments, which have now replaced the initial core standards in the Sphere Handbook. Each participant recieved a copy of the CHS Guidance Notes and Indicators booklet by the end of these in-house trainings. Terms that are key to applying Q&A standards in humanitarian response globally, such as Commitment, Quality Criterion, Key Actions & Organizational Responsibilities were explained to the participants using clear examples cited from the CHS booklet. The session on CHS concluded with a screening of an animated video on introduction to CHS. Participants recognized the clear link between Key Actions and Organizational Responsibilities in their work by the end of the session.

A detailed session on the Sphere Handbook was delivered as part of this technical support activity in which sections on Food Security and Health were particularly focused on. Practical exercises were conducted with the staff which ensured that each of them thoroughly reads and understands the standards well and can apply them in their contexts. Common issues identified in food security assistance were discussed with participants, which was followed by a thorough review of the standards on the very subject. Participants developed a common understanding on terms such as food security, livelihoods and malnutrition in the context of the standards.

In a group activity, the participants were asked to prepare a food basket that met the standard on ‘General Nutrition Requirements’ recommended under the Sphere standards. As part of the activity, participants discussed the assigned standards and presented the items in a food package, along with cost and kilocalories calculation.

To build knowledge on the Health Actions chapter of the Sphere handbook, the HAI and IMC staff were given specific scenarios to link common health issues with relevant minimum standards. They were also advised on linking it to key actions, key indicators, guidance notes as well as other relevant chapters of the handbook such as the humanitarian charter, cross-cutting themes and protection principles, all of which must be taken into consideration while planning and implementing humanitarian aid. This helped participants to understand the link between different sections of the Sphere handbook.

At the end of the training, participants prepared a three-month action plan, which would serve as a basis for follow-up. For most of the participants, the contents of the workshop were new, therefore, a more detailed workshop on Sphere and CHS was proposed. Participants recommended that field exercises can be included in future workshops to strengthen their understanding on linking theory with practice. Community World Service Asia offered participants to avail coaching sessions and recommended to refer to Sphere and CHS while reporting and monitoring of projects.

The staff at HAI and IMC are now able to differentiate between Sphere standards, CHS and their application and are well acquainted with the Sphere Handbook 2011 version.