Author Archives: Sarah Cechvala

Failing the Duck Test: Labeling companies as peace actors

Sarah Cechvala argues that regardless of whether “peacebuilding actor” is an apt label for private sector companies, efforts to involve companies in a peacebuilding agenda will be far more effective if they account for the fact that, in almost every way, companies are different from peacebuilding actors. Continue reading for some of the more critical differences to keep in mind as policymakers try to involve companies in peacebuilding agendas. Continue reading

“We’ve Opened Pandora’s Box!” Responding to Unsolicited Feedback

– In this post, Sarah Cechvala, an expert on aid accountability and feedback loops as well as responsible business practice at CDA, addresses the practical challenges related to analyzing, responding to, and utilizing open-ended feedback from communities. In response to the burgeoning emphasis on accountability and local ownership in the humanitarian and development sectors, we have seen organizations adopt more deliberate approaches to collecting community feedback. Yet, what happens when this feedback “doesn’t fit” within our prescribed lines of inquiry or is broader than our programmatic objectives or operational mandate? Making sense of where and how unsolicited feedback fits into our organizational directives can feel insurmountable, but often is essential for effective practices. –

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Where Should the Feedback Function Sit? Determining the Institutional Location for the feedback function

-If we want to see change informed by local feedback, what elements are vital? While perhaps less ‘sexy’ than real-time SMS feedback channels, the decision on where to anchor your feedback mechanism within your institution has a significant impact on its effectiveness and your ability to utilize the data it generates. This blog traces CDA’s evidence regarding the institutional location of feedback systems, and provides questions for practitioners seeking to strengthen their accountability mechanisms and processes.

Anyone working on improving accountability and feedback loops these days has undoubtedly engaged in discussions about innovative, technology-based feedback channels, the role of local partners and the aspiration to place the affected people at the center. While all these dimensions hold merit in advancing effective accountability practices, we need to ask ourselves: if we want to see change informed by local feedback, what elements are vital? Continue reading

Who has a seat at the World Humanitarian Summit?

Sharing the Voices from CDA’s Humanitarian Effectiveness Project

With zero days, hours, and minutes left until the launch of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul, many in the sector anxiously await to see if the conversations will really cull commitments that can redirect a languorous humanitarian system. Public departures from these critical conversations by sector leaders, such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), have left the community to ruminate about the achievability Continue reading