- Reaching out to Other Countries
- Consortia Reflection & Planning 2013
- Reflections on Joint Needs Assessment Progress in Bangladesh
- Bangladesh passes Disaster Management Act
- ECB Bangladesh Consortium develops a Protocol for Emergency Response Engagement
- ECB Consortia share learning highlights from inter-agency Simulations in 2010-2011
- ECB first Joint Advocacy Strategy launched in Bangladesh
- Joint Training on Accountability & Cyclone Aila Review
- Horn of Africa
- What is an ECB Consortium?
- How did we select five ECB Consortia?
- What is a CEP?
ECB Project on TwitterRT @PreventionWeb: Disaster risk reduction platform concludes with 14-point commitment #gpdrr2011 @unisdr http://preventionweb.net/go/19951 7 hours ago
Joint Training on Accountability & Cyclone Aila Review
Written by: Hana Haller Crowe, Sr. Specialist Accountability, Save the Children and Md. Harun or Rashid, ECB Field Facilitator, ECB Bangladesh Consortium
Each agency and ECB consortium country agreed earlier this year on a strategic plan to develop joint initiatives focused on Accountability to Beneficiaries in Emergencies. An inter-agency training that took place between 18 -20 August at the BRAC Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh provided Save the Children and the ECB Bangladesh consortium with their first opportunity to launch an inter-agency Accountability training event that responded to these shared strategic priorities, and created an important learning opportunity between ECB agencies, field staff and partners.
In addition to reviewing accountability tools, the consortium was very keen to take this opportunity to assess how they had performed with their accountability activities during the recent response to Cyclone Aila.
It’s always important to reflect on and learn from our work. We should also learn from each other and from the communities we work with”, said Ms. Heather Blackwell, Country Director, Oxfam GB in Bangladesh.
The first day of the training focused on lessons learned during Aila and on sharing each agency’s experiences, best practices and challenges with accountability. The following day focused on the Good Enough Guide and on applying the different tools and practical exercises enclosed. The final day sought to bring day one and day two together by having the different agencies take what they identified in day one (the biggest challenges, what went well, and what the areas for improvement were) and combining that with the knowledge they learned on day two in order to look forward and identify their priority areas, what activities had to take place in order to move their priorities forward, and a realistic implementation plan.
The Inter-Agency Approach
This training was very much an inter-agency initiative with CARE, Concern, CRS-Caritas, Oxfam, Save the Children, World Vision and NIRAPAD (a network of national organizations) participating. The different agencies had jointly identified their accountability training needs; this forum gave them the additional space to share best practices and experiences, and engage in thoughtful discussion and debate throughout.
The level of participation from different agencies and the attendance of several country directors demonstrated the importance this initiative held for everyone. The experience of seeing this level of collaboration and sharing at the country level was inspiring and demonstrated the spirit of the ECB project.
How Accountable Are You?
It was also impressive to see how open the agencies were with regard to sharing their experiences. They not only shared their successes but also their challenges and openly identified some of the areas where additional work needed to take place.
Though we are committed to be accountable, we need more improvement in our system and staff capacity to ensure accountability to our beneficiaries.” highlighted Mr. Ruhul Amin, Manager-Emergency, Save the Children USA in Bangladesh.
After working with the Good Enough Guide, two areas several agencies identified as needing more work were:
1. Saying Goodbye to communities
2. Setting up complaints / feedback mechanisms
In terms of saying goodbye the group noted the challenges presented by the short timeframes and resources they sometimes faced. Everyone agreed that saying goodbye properly meant starting to think about identifying clear parameters from the very beginning of their intervention. One group started to work on solutions and consider how they could say goodbye more efficiently. They determined that the best way to reach the largest number of beneficiaries was to start with one centralized meeting informing people of their imminent departure, and how they could be contacted. The next step was to identify people at this meeting who could then hold separate meetings in their local communities, and support this with information fliers to take to subsequent smaller meetings.
A very spirited discussion took place around complaints/feedback mechanisms; the group covered issues such as:
1. Should it be a complaints or a feedback mechanism that is set up?
2. How to best involve a community in its design?
3. How to reassure both participants and agency staff?
4. The complexities involved in setting such a system up.
In terms of whether a complaints mechanism or a feedback mechanism should be set up, different participants had some strong opinions on which of the two should be established during an emergency. While there were differences of opinion on this they all agreed that it was important to ensure that such a system was available and understood by a community, and that it was critical to ensure the safety/non-reprisal towards the person providing the complaint.
Some expressed concern about the time it takes to set up such a system and there seemed to be consensus in the group that setting the system up in its regular development programs would facilitate its set up and use during emergencies. There was also a concern that opening up to complaints would result in a flood of complaints that the agency could not keep up with. In relation to this we talked about how important it is to make clear what kind of complaints would be dealt with and not dealt with. CRS-Caritas shared that in their experience no such flood of complaints took place with their system. Mr. Pintu William Gomes, Program Manager, CRS – Caritas in Bangladesh also re-emphasized:
Complaint Response Mechanism’s (CRMs) should be user friendly, well understood and well accepted by the community.
On day 3 of the training the participants reviewed the areas they had identified as successes, challenges, and areas needing improvement after the Cyclone Aila review. They then sat with their home agencies and identified which of these areas needing improvement were their own priorities.
At the end of the training, the different agencies finished by sharing their priorities going forward as well as their implementation plans. These critical steps will ensure that the accountability teams can put the training into practice through specific activities, track their progress together via an inter-agency meeting in December 2009, and ensure that these activities fit in with the Bangladesh consortium’s overall annual strategic engagement plan.