What should the new Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative do?

Lesbos refugee

Greece 2015: Who holds the humanitarian system accountable?

A new member of the humanitarian family is being born this month. The Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative is taking life. The first board meetings are happening in the next few weeks.

It’s a member of a small and select group of organisations that shape international humanitarian action. Continue reading

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

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

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

Client Satisfaction Saves Lives

ICCO cartoon2ICCO has recently published reports of their impressive pilots on Client Satisfaction Instruments. It’s a wonderful example of a serious pilot by an NGO on client feedback – and a great contribution to sector-wide learning.

Thank you, ICCO!

From 2009-12, they ran pilots with partners in Malawi and Ethiopia, and generated some fantastic results. Continue reading

Great new job: lead Plan’s work on feedback systems

I’m delighted that here at Plan International, we’re recruiting for a Community Feedback Specialist. It’s a great opportunity, based in the UK. Deadline: 6th July.

For me, Plan’s turning out to be a great place to work. There’s senior support for improving programme systems and there’s space (and resources) to trial new approaches. And there are dedicated and experienced colleagues to work with all round the world. Continue reading