Start Fund: Learning from Accountability to Crisis-Affected Communities
04 December 2017
The study uses the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) as a lens to review the extent to which Start funded projects are accountable to disaster-affected populations, and the influence this may have on the quality and relevance of these projects.
This review is one in a series of learning products developed by the Start Fund Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning team with the intention of providing actionable recommendations to improve decision making at the project, crisis and system level.
This learning product was led by Apoorva Mishra of World Vision UK, with input from a reference group made up of Start Fund committee members and subject matter experts and explores what the Start Fund has learnt about accountability, an increasingly important component of crisis response.
What was the study
A desk review of 71 Start Fund supported emergency response projects which took place between May 2016 and April 2017 focused on learning on good practices, challenges and gaps in accountability to communities. The overall objective of this study was: to support evidence-based decision-making within the Start Fund at project, crisis and system levels in terms of accountability to communities. With a specific objective to present evidence using the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) as a lens on the extent to which Start funded projects are accountable to disaster-affected populations, and the influence this may have on the quality and relevance of these projects. Specifically, four commitments of the nine (1,2,4 and 5) were chosen for the study which focus more specifically on accountability to communities during the phases of design, implementation and evaluation of responses.
What were the findings?
The study showed that all humanitarian agencies consult communities about their needs to inform their project design. Communities are also largely involved at the evaluation or post-distribution stage to comment on the response (80% of projects reported this) and 73% of projects reported community involvement in projects. (e.g. committees set up for helping in beneficiary selection, involvement of volunteers at distributions, or collecting information about the community). Most humanitarian agencies are also sharing information with communities about the project intervention, although this was reported by fewer agencies (56% of projects).
There is less information reported on getting community feedback during the entire response cycle however, only 55% of projects sought community feedback or set up community feedback mechanisms. The study also found that communities are much less involved in the project design phase itself (31% of projects) and only 18% of projects specifically mentioned that feedback or complaints were responded to.