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Accountability in Action

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Centre International de Conférences Genève

17 Rue de Varembé

1211 Genève

Switzerland

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The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has committed to making our programs more responsive to the needs and aspirations of our clients, the people we serve. The IRC’s client-responsive programming approach advocates that the IRC systematically and deliberately collect and use client feedback to inform its programmatic and strategic decisions. This participatory approach is reflected in the organization’s Client Responsiveness Framework and the Good and Great Standards. It also echoes similar global commitments made by IRC and other aid actors under the participation revolution and the localization agenda spearheaded by the Grand Bargain.

The IRC has found that in order to better engage and listen to clients to influence the decisions that affect them, humanitarian actors need to have: (1) well-functioning feedback and response mechanisms, tailored to the context and specific programming phase, and (2) effective strategies to create or improve the organisational structures, processes and behaviours which enable client-responsive programming.

To date, efforts within the humanitarian sector tend to focus on the first condition while little has been done to improve the institutional enablers and incentives to drive progress towards greater participation and accountability. The IRC has focused its efforts on programme and staff performance management in order to increase internal incentives for listening to and acting upon client feedback. The rationale is that we need to: 1) be able to measure what we do and assess how well programmes involve and engage clients in decision making and whether clients are satisfied with the agency’s performance and 2) have staff with the right set of competencies and behaviours which promote accountability to affected people.

With the support of Sida, the IRC developed a Client Responsive Measurement Framework and Client Responsive Staff Management Guide. The Measurement Framework provides recommendations and performance indicators to measure client responsiveness at the project level. The Staff Management Guide presents tools to recruit, support and manage employees in ways that promote client responsive and accountable behaviour. Both guides have been tested in six IRC Country Programs (Cameroon, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe) in order to increase our capacity to manage the performance of programs and individual staff in delivering Client Responsive Programming.

This event will share lessons and discuss how internal HR and Measurement policies and procedures can provide positive incentives for humanitarian aid staff to support feedback mechanisms and to actively contribute to making their agency more responsive and accountable to the people it serves. Another objective is to discuss recommendations about what we could do differently (e.g. in adapting some of our internal organizational and programmatic processes), to strengthen the effectiveness and the use we make of our client feedback mechanisms.

Speakers will include senior representatives of the International Rescue Committee, CHS Alliance, and IFRC.

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Centre International de Conférences Genève

17 Rue de Varembé

1211 Genève

Switzerland

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