Category Archives: Accountability and Feedback Loops

Blue Ribbon Feedback: Closing the feedback loop, opening up development

In this post, guest author Laura Hughston discusses lessons learned from implementing the feedback gathering tool she designed for Plan International UK. She shares the voices of the people who used the tool, and is honored that it helped communities learn they have a ‘right to be heard’ by those with the power to act on feedback.

I’ve just received one of the greatest honours of my life: I heard that a simple tool for gathering feedback from communities I designed over three years ago is still going strong and in fact about to be scaled up massively! At the time, I was in charge of M&E for a flagship programme with Plan International UK, and I had developed several tools for gathering feedback from a range of stakeholders. The main difference on this occasion was that we were seeking feedback not only from those targeted by our intervention but also from those we had not intended on affecting: for the first time, we were extending the opportunity to anyone in the community.

This simple tool consisted of two parts: gathering the feedback and the ribbon ceremony. 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

When You Are The Divider

In this installment of our accountability and sensitivity seriesSabina Carlson Robillard urges colleagues in the humanitarian and development world to know who they are in the context they work in, and use that knowledge wisely. She draws on her time working in Haiti and Guinea, and the moment she realized she was a “divider” in the N’zerekore Ebola response context. Continue reading

How we listened for the virus: the contribution of community engagement to the Ebola response

In this post Sabina shares her personal experience supporting the response to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea. She explains that listening and community engagement gave responders a better fighting chance – by locating contaminated areas before the disease spread, and by increasing community willingness to collaborate with epidemic protocols. She points out helpful listening methods, and argues that her experience shows it is possible – and that responders must – take the time to listen even in the heat of the response. Continue reading

Presenting Feedback Data to Decision-Makers: Does Form Influence Action?

Experimenting and learning with Catholic Relief Services in Haiti, a post by Isabella Jean and Nathalie Francisque first published on FeedbackLabs;

Organizations supporting local development and responding to humanitarian needs agree on the need to improve the quality and use of feedback data in program decision-making. There is less agreement, however, on what factors ensure quality and consistent utilization of feedback data. Recurring questions continue to pop-up in inter-agency meetings, learning events and peer-to-peer discussions: 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