The Core Humanitarian Standard
We had some really interesting sessions this morning here in Valencia, looking back on our progress and developments across the network since this time last year, and then focusing in some of the key initiatives we have been putting in place over the course of 2018.
One of these key initiatives is the Core Humanitarian Standard, which was created to be one standard to frame quality and accountability; not replace other standards but to complement them with a verifiable, measurable overarching standard.
So what does that mean for Action Against Hunger and our new International Strategic Plan?
Over the last two years we have conducted three self-assessments against the Core Humanitarian Standard (or CHS). And they have told us a lot about ourselves. The self-assessments – conducted in the UK, France and Spain, looking at a total of six country offices – gave us some rich data that enabled us have some valuable discussions at the network level. We found that in some areas we were really strong; less so in others.
After completing the three self-assessments, we scored highest in commitment 1 – humanitarian response is appropriate and relevant – and commitment 6 – humanitarian response is coordinated and complimentary. No surprises there, as most of us know we’re strong in those areas, but it’s great that what we know to be true is now validated and evidenced.
We were weaker in three areas:
- Commitment 3. The extent to which we’re investing in and building on local leadership in a way that ensures that people aren’t negatively affected is one of the things that we could be doing more of.
- Commitment 4. We are not as strong as we could be on the extent to which we’re sharing information with communities and enabling their participation.
- Commitment 5. Complaints and feedback mechanisms are a particular weakness. We recognise that it’s very complicated to put those in place effectively in a way that permeates from the community level to the very top of an organisation. We also recognise that there are some great examples in pockets of the organisation, but the network still has a role to play in pinning these together in a coherent way that we can take forwards.
So looking at this, we have some key priorities at the network level, not least making the connection between policy commitments and implementation: we have plenty of policies but it’s not always obvious how to implement them and the guidance and tools to help with that aren’t always available.
We also recognise that many of our countries have been trying to address these challenges for quite some time, so there is another job to be done here in collating and aggregating these good practices to scale them up and across the network.
And we need to support the country programmes that have done the CHS self-assessment to use the results to build on our strengths and improve in our areas of weakness.
With those things in mind, we closed the session with a question for reflection:
- If we put people at the centre of our next strategy, what would that look like, and what would the implications be?
Food for thought…