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PRINCIPLE 7 OF THE GOOD HUMANITARIAN DONORSHIP INITIATIVE

By Allen Russell,2014-05-07 17:44
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PRINCIPLE 7 OF THE GOOD HUMANITARIAN DONORSHIP INITIATIVE

    POLICY PAPER

PRINCIPLE 7 OF THE GOOD HUMANITARIAN

    DONORSHIP INITIATIVE

“Request implementing humanitarian

    organisations to ensure to the greatest

    possible extent, adequate involvement of

    beneficiaries in the design,

    implementation, monitoring and

    evaluation of humanitarian response”

    François Grünewald

    Véronique de Geoffroy

    July 2008

     1 This policy paper was commission by the Humanitarian Aid Delegation of the French Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs. However, the views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the French Government.

    2

    This Policy paper and the related study were prepared by Groupe URD for the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative (GHDI), with the support of the Humanitarian Aid Delegation of the French Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs.

    It takes stock of the experience Groupe URD has accumulated over the years on this subject, from its early work in Central America following Hurricane Mitch to its recent work in Afghanistan and the Tsunami affected area. It also builds upon the work done by Groupe URD a few years ago, when it was in charge of ALNAP‟s Global Study on Participation of Affected populations in Humanitarian Action, the very rich information base and challenging intellectual process of the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition (TEC), CDA‟s Listening Project, the Humanitarian Accountability Project (HAP) and other initiatives.

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    CONTENTS

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................................................ 4 I. THE PARTICIPATION PARADIGM.............................................................................................. 4 II. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................................................... 4 POLICY NOTE ............................................................................................................................... 6 1. PARTICIPATION IN HUMANITARIAN ACTION: A CHALLENGE .............................................. 6

    2. THE DIFFERENT DYNAMICS OF PARTICIPATION .................................................................. 6 2.1. PARTICIPATION AND THE CRISIS TYPOLOGY .................................................................................. 6 2.2. THE DIFFERENT PARTNERSHIPS IN PARTICIPATION ........................................................................ 7 2.3. PARTICIPATION AND THE PROJECT CYCLE .................................................................................... 8

    3. THE STRENGTHS AND THREATS OF PARTICIPATION .......................................................... 9

    4. STRATEGIZING PARTICIPATION ........................................................................................... 10

    5. CONCLUSIONS ........................................................................................................................ 11

    6. RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................................... 112 6.1. IMPROVING POLICIES AND ALLOCATING RESOURCES TO PARTICIPATORY PROCESSES ................... 12 6.2. PROVIDING ADAPTED APPROACHES AND TOOLS ......................................................................... 13 6.3. IMPROVING HUMAN RESOURCES RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING .................................................... 13

    ANNEXES .................................................................................................................................... 14 ANNEXE 1: A ROAD MAP TO EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION IN EMERGENCIES ........................ 15 ANNEX N?2: FRAMEWORK FOR PARTICIPATION FEASIBILITY STUDY ................................... 16

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    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

i. THE PARTICIPATION PARADIGM

For a long time, humanitarian action continued to be seen as a form of charity provided by

    organisations from the North to people in disaster torn countries, whereas the participation

    paradigm had already been adopted in the development sector. Humanitarian agencies finally took

    stock of their experience and began to recognize the role of local civil society, local organisations

    and local individuals in delivering aid and began to incorporate them into the aid agenda through

    participatory processes. The recent set of evaluations of natural disaster responses, including the

    work of the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition (TEC), the evaluation of the response to the Pakistan

    Earthquake of 2005, specific Real Time Evaluations after different hurricanes in Asia, Latin

    America and the Caribbean islands, as well as other work carried out under the ISDR showed how

    critical this is in natural disaster settings, when the population is often the primary aid deliverer.

    This was even more apparent in the case of Typhoon Nargis in Myanmar, as most international

    organisations were unable to intervene to any great extent. Thousands survived due to the actions

    of the local pagodas, national Red Cross volunteers and all those who were prepared to help their

    neighbours.

But it is one thing to recognize the importance of participation, and another entirely to put it into

    practice, especially in complex conflict-related circumstances. Humanitarian action is guided by a

    number of principles, notably the Humanitarian Principles of independence, impartiality and

    neutrality and it is limited by the need to act rapidly, the growing demand for financial accountability

    and the high level of turbulence of most contexts. All these factors have the potential to hinder

    proper participatory practices.

Donors are critical stakeholders in this respect, as the constraints they impose on agencies or the

    rigidity of their fund allocation methods can make it more difficult to adopt a participatory approach.

    It is extremely positive, therefore, that the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative includes this

    issue in principle 7, which reads “Request implementing humanitarian organizations to ensure to

    the greatest possible extent, adequate involvement of beneficiaries in the design, implementation,

    monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian response”.

ii. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

Although it is an essential ingredient of quality aid operations, participation is not simple. It requires:

    1. Means, which are seldom available, especially during the early phases of diagnosis and

    programme design. Participation is priceless, but it comes at a cost! However, the cost of

    appropriate design is much lower than that of maintenance and redress after the failure of a

    programme designed and implemented with limited involvement of those it aims to serve.

    2. Expertise in social sciences, which is not often included in the technical package mobilized

    by NGOs and other actors. Donors should support agencies that carry out studies in social

    anthropology, as these improve understanding of social and power structures within

    affected populations and ensure that the right voices, and not always the voices of the most

    powerful, are heard.

    3. A high level of openness from both donors and aid agencies: Participation implies listening

    to a population‟s needs and demands and therefore being ready to do things that neither

    the agency nor the donor was thinking of doing. Agencies and donors that engage in

    participatory policies and who adopt the values related to participation have to be ready to

    accept many challenges and change their processes and methods.

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    4. Commitment to gender-balanced participation. The importance of empowering women is

    widely recognised. Yet it requires courage, an appropriate cultural approach and, in certain

    contexts such as Afghanistan, a good communications strategy.

5. Serious commitment to transparency and downward accountability. If participation is to

    make sense, it has to be based on confidence which is difficult to build, and easy to

    damage. Transparency and being genuinely accountable to the affected population can

    contribute to establishing confidence in a sustainable way.

    6. A more concerted approach to reporting by donors: Too often, aid workers spend more time

    in front of their computer screens responding to incoherent reporting requirements than in

    the field, engaging with the populations and improving diagnoses. Developing an orderly

    reporting system, as recommended in principle 23 of the GHDI, would probably go a long

    way to encouraging participatory approaches…

7. Some of these recommendations require commitment from aid agencies and adequate

    resources. By creating the conditions which would allow agencies to follow these

    recommendations, donors would make it possible for agencies to improve the way they

    engage with affected populations, their social structures and their institutions. Thus

    agencies would not only listen to disaster victims, but also give them some control over

    their fate and their future.

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    POLICY NOTE

1. PARTICIPATION IN HUMANITARIAN ACTION: A CHALLENGE

    Most evaluations show that “populations in distress” do not remain passive when their survival is at stake. Several studies have highlighted the positive effects of increased participation by local

    people, which include more accurate analyses, more suitable programming, more effective

    implementation and increased accountability in project cycle management. And yet, achieving this

    kind of added value is one of the most difficult challenges for humanitarian operations. Broadly

    referred to as participation, it is often cited as a critical point in existing codes, tools and methods

    (the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief, The

    ALNAP Practitioner‟s Handbook, the SPHERE Project, the Quality COMPAS, the Do No Harm

    project, etc) and in many donor guidelines for proposal preparation. Unfortunately, participation is

    rarely applied in practice, despite its widely acknowledged importance and many statements of

    intent. Most of the recent evaluations, including the Tsunami Evaluation Coalition (TEC) and others,

    underlined that it is still only used peripherally during operations. That the GHDI encourages

    donors to promote participation as it does in principle 7 is testimony to how important this issue has

    become. But do current conditions make it possible for humanitarian organizations to “ensure to

    the greatest possible extent, adequate involvement of beneficiaries in the design, implementation,

    monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian response”?

2. THE DIFFERENT DYNAMICS OF PARTICIPATION

2.1. Participation and the crisis typology

The aid industry deals with very different types of crisis. A typology of crises can be developed

    based on factors of time (speed and duration of the crisis) and scale (magnitude of the destruction,

    size of the affected areas). A further factor to be taken into consideration is the nature of the crisis,

    as different types of socio-natural disaster do not expose civil society and individuals to the same

    types of risks:

    - Rapid onset crises of catastrophic proportions (earthquakes, tsunamis or rapid and

    destructive military operations)

    - Rapid onset crises with manageable impact (floods)

    - Slow onset crises (drought)

    - Durable/protracted crises (protracted drought, protracted conflicts with long-lasting

    refugee and/or IDP situations)

Participation is not very common during acute emergencies. Not without reason, emergency

    practitioners worry that participation will encroach on the precious little time that is available. Acute

    emergencies often involve fire brigade-type operations carried out by specialised bodies: civil

    protection, trained search and rescue teams, etc. Here, participation is not the key “modus

    operandi”. Some argue that it may not even be appropriate to adopt a participatory strategy if the

    scope and magnitude of the crisis has reduced the population‟s capacity to participate (e.g. people suffering from severe Post Trauma Syndrome Disorder as a consequence of conflict or extreme

    disaster) or if people‟s needs are overwhelming (e.g. widespread famine or essential first-aid

    needs to be carried out). However, even in these cases participation can be explored as a

    possibility. Indeed, as local populations and institutions are in most cases the first, and sometimes

    the only “relief provider”, opportunities do exist to launch participatory processes very early on in

    the response. These can have a very positive impact on the morale of the population because

    participatory processes transform them from being “passive recipients of aid” to “active

    stakeholders”, thus restoring dignity…

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    With regard to operations which take place in the immediate aftermath of a crisis (e.g. famine, natural disasters, etc.) participation has proven to be a useful way of speeding up the pace of operations, especially because it brings to light methods, resources and ideas that otherwise would not have been identified. Participation inevitably takes time, but this time is easily compensated for by gains in efficiency, adaptability, relevance and acceptability.

    Participatory approaches are more common in the context of protracted crises, especially in the context of long term displacements. The creation of refugee committees, as seen now in almost all refugee situations, where responsibility for the day-to-day management of the camps is delegated to the refugees themselves, is one good example. However, this does not remove the risk of mismanagement. The refugee camps on the Rwandan border, where management of the camps, though excellent in appearance, had been delegated to those who had carried out the genocide, is a sad example of what an insufficiently thought through participatory approach can lead to.

2.2. The different partnerships in participation

    Most original participatory approaches focus on engagement with local people. But this can take place either through individual contacts and participation of individuals, or through partnerships with civil society institutions:

    - Traditional community institutions;

    - Community Based Organisations (CBO);

    - Local Faith-based institutions (churches, mosques, etc.); and

    - Local NGOs.

    An agency which wishes to establish a partnership with an institution of this kind has to take into account how representative the institution is of the local population, its history and its links with the other stakeholders in the disaster scene. The agency will also have to be extremely careful to ensure that establishing the partnership does not compromise the critical humanitarian principles of independence and impartiality. There is a certain level of confusion about the difference between working with the individuals who make up the “population”, local institutions and national NGOs. The assumption is sometimes made that delegating responsibility to local institutions is in essence “participatory”. But this is far from being the case all the time. Working with and through local

    partners by no means ensures that the job will be done well or using participatory methods, even if it is a step in the right direction.

    A participatory approach does not imply that everyone should be involved in the project but that everyone should at least be represented. When certain members of a specific group are unable to participate, it is always possible to consider involving others.

    It is very rare to find examples of participation that really empowers people to engage in self-representation and control/ management of project resources. And yet, the rare cases that have taken place have had impressive results in terms of reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience. In the Horn of Africa, for instance, populations have been able to suggest how to address their nutritional vulnerability through livestock support in pastoral economies when aid agencies were mainly looking at options for nutrition centres and food aid programmes. In central and Latin America, where participation is part of the culture and even sometimes even part of the Constitution, such as in Colombia, agencies with a low commitment to participation in the disaster response are often confronted by angry staff and unhappy mobs.

    Certain population groups are more or less systematically excluded or marginalised in participatory processes. This is especially true in societies where socio-economic differentiation and gender discrimination are critical features of the society. In these cases, special effort has to be made to give a voice to the poorer segments of the population, to women, and even sometimes to the younger generation, who are often deprived of the chance or the right to express themselves in collective and participatory processes.

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    2.3. Participation and the project cycle

„Participation‟ in humanitarian action should be understood as the involvement of affected

    populations in one or more phases of the project cycle: assessment, design, implementation,

    monitoring and evaluation. In practice, it is very unevenly spread between these different phases.

     Diagnosis Design Implementation Monitoring Evaluation

Degree

    Of

    participation

     Participation is Very rare Frequent instrumental Rare in Extremely rare in

     mainly linked to involvement of participation where the Monitoring evaluation, even

     data collection the population at populations are if the current

     the design phase requested to contribute trend is to push

    and project in kind, in labour or in for beneficiary

    preparation cash. involvement at

    this stage

Participatory approaches are more common in post-emergency and rehabilitation programmes.

    During protracted crises, the most common approach is to consult the affected population

    (especially during needs assessments), to inform them about the planned activities and help them

    to develop the commitment and required know-how to engage effectively with the aid system

    during project implementation. However, because project design and planning rarely involve

    populations, attempts to involve beneficiaries at later stages frequently prove to be unfruitful. For

    instance, as shown by various post-Tsunami evaluations, (the TEC, the evaluation of French

    assistance to the Tsunami affected areas, and the most recent visit of the Listening project),

    agencies who did not engage early with the population got a mixed appraisal of their housing

    projects as most of those interviewed explained that the priority should have been livelihood rather

    than shelter.

In project implementation, the most frequent form of “participation” is often the request that the

    affected population should contribute to the operation either in kind (provision of raw materials), in

    the form of labour (food for work, cash for work) or financially (cash contributions before a new

    school or health centre is built, etc.). As these contributions are often compulsory and conditional,

    one might question whether this really represents a participatory approach.

Having a participation strategy should theoretically mean being participatory at every stage of the

    operation. But it is difficult to find humanitarian operations which are participatory at every stage,

    unless there is a real paradigm shift: it is not the population which participates in the agency‟s project but the agency which participates in the population‟s project.

Participatory approaches are even less frequent in ex-post evaluations, although this is improving.

    Participatory evaluation requires more time, more resources, and better local networks. The

    timeframe required to respond to Terms of References (TOR) through bidding procedures does not

    often make it possible to explore and set up these networks. A project such as the Listening

    Project by the CDA Collaborative Learning Project tries to explore new trends, but they are

    generally more a form of social audit than a real ex-post evaluation.

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3. THE STRENGTHS AND THREATS OF PARTICIPATION

Why are most aid actors so careful in their participatory approaches, whether these are direct or

    through national actors? There are good and bad reasons for this.

A participatory approach often leads to a greater understanding of people‟s needs and their subtle

    nuances. Participatory project design tends to be more flexible and thus easier to adapt to

    changing needs, capacities and constraints. Participation is therefore a key parameter for

    relevance and effectiveness. There are nevertheless a number of difficulties along the way:

- The concept of “participation” carries several key development-related imperatives, but their

    application to humanitarian action is far from easy and can prove to be impossible. It can also

    be dangerous for humanitarian workers and can compromise humanitarian principles.

    - Though literature on participation is well established in the “development world”, there is very

    little in the way of recorded experiences, guidelines or training modules from the “humanitarian

    sector”;

    - Engaging with the population throughout the project cycle, especially at the design and

    monitoring phases, can be like opening a “Pandora‟s box” - aid standards and approaches can 4be challenged; the humanitarian sector‟s priorities can be turned upside down; the logical

    framework of the operation might have to be changed over and over again… Aid agencies,

    which are often donor-driven, only have a limited capacity to enter into a “revolutionary

    paradigm shift”, even if it is the result of participatory involvement.

Participation is potentially a political step towards empowerment and changes in the balance of

    power. It sometimes even represents a move from a “needs based” approach to a “rights based”

    approach. There is therefore a great deal of synergy between participation and the human-rights

    framework which is growing in influence throughout the aid world. It is in line with the principles of

    empowerment and social justice, the elimination of exclusion and inequity, social trust and social

    capital, democratic participation and broad civil society development. As a consequence it can

    potentially be contrary to humanitarian principles of humanity, independence, impartiality and even 5neutrality. This issue is probably what prevents most humanitarian aid agencies from engaging in real participatory approaches.

In an ideal world, aid teams and populations should negotiate and decide the basis of an action

    and should implement it together. Unfortunately, humanitarian action takes place in a chaotic

    environment which means that:

- the relations between stakeholders, and thus the dynamics of participation, may change when

    people involved in the project (staff, partners and populations) change;

    - the power relationships behind the participation process can hamper the full application of

    humanitarian principles, especially independence, impartiality and neutrality ;

    - the “survival instinct” of the concerned population can modify priorities. Short term strategies

    with negative impacts can be chosen by the population rather than longer term strategies,

    which might be less effective for immediate survival, but less destructive in the long term. How

    can this be mitigated in a participatory process?

     4 2 examples of 2 different and opposite tendencies:

    1/ Considering the scarcity of water resources, is the Sphere norm of 15 Lts of potable water/day/person

    relevant in the camps of Eastern Chad when the end result is that a large part of this water is given to

    donkeys and used for brick making?

    2/ Does it make sense for a medical NGO in eastern DRC to respond to the local population‟s demands for

    injections in the design of its project?

55. Ex: When the conflict reveals a highly political divide within a society or between civil society and the

    state, any alliance or partnership can be perceived as “taking sides”

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    4. STRATEGIZING PARTICIPATION

Though participation is neither a quick-fix nor the ultimate recipe for success, carrying out a

    strategic analysis of its feasibility is of great importance. This implies that teams have to establish

    the purpose of participation, the method they want to adopt and weigh up the pros and cons of

    actions in the light of the objectives which have been decided. Strategic analyses prevent projects

    from having negative impacts and help to optimize the chances of positive impacts. The grounds

    for adopting a participatory approach should be agreed and formalized together in order to deal

    with different perceptions of participation. Team members and stakeholders can refer to these (why

    is the participatory approach being adopted) and to the principles involved (dos and don‟ts) to

    decide what to do in difficult situations. Therefore, it needs to be taken up at a strategic level within

    institutions, so that a proper SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis

    can be carried out and the most appropriate strategy chosen and put into action.

Participation is not something to be imposed but rather the product of a complex negotiation where

    the aid agency who perceives it necessary has to humbly engage with the affected population in

    order to understand what their needs are, how these can be met, the constraints and risks, etc., in

    a given context.

    Factors affecting the participation of crisis-affected populations

     CONTEXT: , access, Security and protection

    political issues and conflict, time

    AFFECTED POPULATION: AID ORGANISATION: Humanitarian

    Marginalisation and discrimination, culture and , mandate and policies, principles

    social organisation, operational method, human resources,

    impact of crisis, previous experience of aid donors, coordination

Context is of particular importance in participation, especially the type of crisis. Engaging in

    participatory processes requires investment: the manpower needed is directly proportionate to the

    seriousness of the emergency. It is sometimes considered difficult during the acute phases of an

    emergency. This should not be so if appropriate means are made available. It is even more

    important in protracted crises and in fragile post conflict contexts. In many cases, agencies still

    have to be convinced that participation will give real added value to their work. Thus, the tasks of

    reviewing job descriptions, revising team organization and adapting work plans, all of which are

    essential to creating the right environment for engaging with affected populations, are rarely, if ever,

    implemented. The most important component of participation is the population. The weaker the

    community affected by the crisis, the more likely it is to become the object rather than the subject

    of aid. While participation can be encouraged by humanitarian actors‟ practices, it should remain

    voluntary.

Participatory approaches must take into account a population‟s specificities, their resolve and

    interests and the return on their investment in a project. In addition, when confronted with the

    economic survival of their projects and organizations, caught between the heavy work load of

    report-writing and responding to the many conflicting demands of donors, NGO staff have to

    prioritise where to allocate resources and participation is rarely high on the list.

    The principal obstacles to participation in humanitarian action are:

    - Certain beliefs and misunderstandings regarding participation and its workability, feasibility

    and impact in emergencies: Many technicians do not believe in it, as they are too caught up in

    considerations of rapid delivery and technical perfection. Aid workers are also worried in many

    cases that participation will weaken their compliance to either technical norms or humanitarian

    principles;

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