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Effective humanitarian feedback mechanisms

ALNAP and CDA Collaborative Learning Projects have recently finalised a research project which examined what makes humanitarian feedback mechanisms effective.

The aim of this action research was to document what works when establishing and using feedback mechanisms with crisis-affected populations (AP) in humanitarian contexts. This research is unique in that it captures learning from both field staff and AP who have accessed and used such mechanisms.

This joint project, which was launched at our 29th Annual Meeting resulted in a series of resources (all available in the column opposite).

ALNAP and CDA are immensely grateful for the staggering support received by organisations who hosted us for the case studies. This research would not have been possible without their dedication and openness.




What are feedback mechanisms? Why is it important that they are effective?


A feedback mechanism is a set of procedures and tools formally established and used to allow humanitarian aid recipients (and in some cases other crisis-affected populations) to provide information on their experience of a humanitarian agency or of the wider humanitarian system. Feedback mechanisms can function as part of broader monitoring practices and can generate information for decision-making purposes. Feedback mechanisms collect information for a variety of purposes, including taking corrective action in improving some elements of the humanitarian response, and strengthening accountability towards affected populations.


For one thing, they can help close the gaps between accountability rhetoric and practice. Currently, however, there is a need for evidence on what works, and doesn't in different contexts. 


A feedback mechanism is seen as effective if, at minimum, it supports the collection, acknowledgement, analysis and response to the feedback received, thus forming a closed feedback loop (see figure above). Where the feedback loop is left open, the mechanism is not fully effective.





This is a joint research project with:



Blogs we like

A practical guide to using ICTs in community programs
from Linda Raftree's "Wait.. What?"
Accountability: you know it when you see it
from Keystone Accountability
CDA perspectives
from CDA Collaborative Learning Projects
Client Satisfaction Saves Lives
from NGO Performance
Listening to Those Who Matter Most, the Beneficiaries
from Stanford Social Innovation Review
You get what you give: Mechanisms and motivations in community feedback processes
from International Rescue Committee




Important resources

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