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#

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

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

Wonks make peace not war?

keep-calm-and-make-peace-not-war-11A follow up post on the “wonkwar” between 3ie and the Big Push Forward about measuring the results of aid.

Duncan Green said it was the most read ever debate on his blog. As ever, his summary was balanced and readable – great attributes in this war of words!

Last week, I went to 3ie’s public lecture in London on evidence-based development (watch it on video). And today I popped in to the Big Push Forward conference in Brighton. Continue reading

Lessons from World Vision: Mandatory indicators don’t work!

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 22.11.38Here’s another powerful experiment by a major NGO on how to measure results. It’s from World Vision, a few years ago. The experiment was to roll out the same 12 standard impact indicators across all their programmes, worldwide. (World Vision currently works in over 80 countries worldwide.)

I’m greatly impressed by how much material World Vision has published. Their original approach was ultimately unsuccessful. But they’ve continued to evolve the ideas. Both the original effort and their current materials have powerful lessons for other NGOs today. Continue reading

World Food Programme: “Beneficiary Contact Monitoring”

WFP

WFP at work: listening or directing?

A colleague just passed me the World Food Programme’s guidelines on Beneficiary Contact Monitoring.

The idea looks terrific: “Beneficiary Contact Monitoring is a systematic investigation to monitor beneficiaries’ – women’s, men’s, girls’ and boys’ – perceptions of an operation.”

I like the sound of this, particularly coming from a major UN agency. Continue reading

Owen Barder: Could Britain’s New Aid Transparency be a Game-Changer?

Owen BarderThis is a re-blog from a post by Owen Barder of the Center for Global Development on 7th December 2012. It describes how DFID is substantially improving aid transparency. Their leadership lays down a challenge to all major NGOs to follow suit.

Christmas came early yesterday for anyone interested in seeing more effective and accountable aid, with an announcement from DFID which has raised the bar for aid transparency. Continue reading