The inside view : Philip Tamminga replies on Certification and Core Humanitarian Standards

I’m delighted to introduce a guest blog, by Philip Tamminga, the Project Coordinator of SCHR’s Certification Project. He replies to my blog on the Core Humanitarian Standard and Certification processes with his own unique insights and five key points for success.

You may also be interested in Ed Schenkenberg’s informed & critical response (below the original blog).

TammingaThanks for drawing attention to these two important initiatives, the Core Humanitarian Standard and the Certification Review project. As you say, this is a real opportunity to make history in the humanitarian sector, and one we collectively can’t afford to miss.

For the last two years I have been leading the Certification Review project and have been heavily engaged in the CHS process. I would like to share some personal reflections on the issues you raise – this should not be interpreted as the position of the SCHR or it members. Continue reading

Making humanitarian history

Into the sunset together?

Into the sunset together?

Two high profile international initiatives are racing towards a historic conclusion in Copenhagen this December: the SCHR’s Certification Project and the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Both aim to reform the quality of humanitarian work. Will they come together in a beautiful Clooney-style marriage or are we heading for a Kardashian disaster? Continue reading

Five lessons from the UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact

Traffic lightThe UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) published another fascinating review of DFID’s work this month. It’s well worth a look, for their methods as much as their findings.

This one was on DFID’s Contribution to the Reduction of Child Mortality in Kenya. (Good summary here from the Guardian.)

It builds on an impressive few years work. ICAI have developed a sensitive approach to systematically assessing a wide range of programmes. And some practical tools others in the sector may be able to learn from. Their work is not perfect. But it’s the result of a lot of thoughtful investment and looks pretty good from the outside. Continue reading

The Samaritans: Kenya’s First NGO Mockumentary

Outstanding spoof documentary on international NGOs in Kenya!

Created by a Kenya-based production company, it chronicles the work of the excellently named “Aid for Aid” – an NGO that, in the words of its creator, “does nothing”.

Maybe we can do more on quality and accountability after all …

More: http://www.aidforaid.org/pilot.php#

Easy ways for philanthropic donors to see if they’re doing well

A re-post from the Social Impact Analysts Association. The excellent and experienced Caroline Fiennes from Giving Evidence describes simple ways for funders to measure their performance. The ideas are widely applicable to NGOs.

The approach is based on exactly the same principle as this site: focus on your performance, not their impact. I also loved some of Caroline’s other blogs, like Most Charities Shouldn’t Evaluate Their Work: Part One Why not?

Caroline Fiennes
Some skiers are better than others. Some singers are better than others. The same for teaching, nursing and curling. So it seems reasonable to suppose that some people are better at supporting charities than others.

Continue reading

10 lessons for NGOs responding to Typhoon Haiyan

Philippines Typhoon 4
I grabbed a few minutes of Roger Yates’s time today. He’s  Plan International’s Director of Disaster Response, with over 25 years of experience. We identified 10 key lessons for NGOs responding to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. They are borne out in plenty of evaluations (e.g. see the box below on the 2004 Tsunami).

Continue reading

Certifying NGOs … again! What are the lessons from last time?

Where did the tracks lead last time?

Where do the tracks go?

Have you seen the current call for comments on a new initiative to certify humanitarian organisations?

It’s a big deal. It aims to ‘professionalise the humanitarian sector’. It’s backed by the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (a group of 9 big independent humanitarian organisations) and some major donors.

The discussion paper makes specific proposals. Feedback is sought on whether they are “feasible, achievable and would meet the requirements of the sector”. Revised deadline for comments: 22nd November. Continue reading

State of the art resource: Keystone’s technical note

Newsflash! A great new resource has just been published on how to get – and use – powerful feedback from the people NGOs work with.

It’s Keystone’s first Technical Note on Constituent Voice methodology: required reading for anyone interested in feedback systems in NGOs. Continue reading

Listening to those who matter most: two inspiring new publications

More and more people are writing about how feedback can improve the quality and accountability of aid. And we’re seeing more serious pilots about how we can use feedback systems at scale.

For example, DFID’s major piloting exercise on using feedback systems to improve aid is getting into gear. Just last week Mark Maxson blogged on a new collaboration called Feedback Labs, working on the same issues.

Two major new publications provide more inspiration to all of us. Both point to similar obstacles and ways forward. And they both lay down a challenge for everyone involved in the debate. Continue reading

Real Transparency: IFAD’s Independent Evaluation Ratings Database

Repost from Rick Davies on Monitoring and Evaluation News. I agree, this is news!

IFAD follows ICAI by publishing summary ratings of evaluations of all its programmes. Oxfam went some way down the same route with its Project Effectiveness Reviews. This is a great trend towards real transparency. Let’s hope other agencies will follow suit. Continue reading