FSAC Afghanistan seeks to support, where possible, its members to increase the quality of their systems and processes for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. As part of that commitment, a mapping exercise was conducted to capture existing mechanisms used by FSAC partners for obtaining feedback from beneficiaries, as a step towards producing an evidence‐informed guidance for humanitarian agencies on strong and effective feedback mechanisms for affected populations in food security and agriculture context.
Interviews with 18 member agencies revealed five main beneficiary feedback and complaint (BFC) mechanisms: informal interaction with project staff, formal interaction with project staff, letter boxes, community based organizations/institutions, and hotlines. These mechanisms are used broadly across Afghanistan, covering 30 provinces. Complaints may be made verbally or in writing, and can be formal or informal. In the case of stronger or sensitive complaints it is common for agencies to request the complainant to record the complaint in writing.
Only four of the 18 respondents had a policy on BFC. It is considered that grounding a mechanism in a clear policy on BFC can ensure the mechanism is implemented with the overall policy objectives in mind, and there is periodic reporting on progress on policy implementation. Implementing agencies must ensure they have processes and procedures for collecting beneficiary feedback, including appropriate handling of confidential information. This ensures that beneficiaries raising complaints are protected and safe. BFCs will fail, however, unless the feedback is acted upon and followed up.
A successful and effective beneficiary feedback and complaint system will only be established when it is developed in a participatory manner and include representatives from all relevant stakeholders.
This enables it to be contextualized it according to the local context and keep with local governance structures and fit within the specific nature of the programs being implemented. A successful system can pave the way to integrate into all programs and activities and promotes the protection and dignity of beneficiaries.
BFCs facilitate accountability to beneficiaries as well as providing valuable inputs to revise organizational strategies and policies. Effective mechanisms provide key benefits in that they:
Help resolve issues and concerns raised by beneficiaries;
Strengthen relationships with communities;
Provide an opportunity to improve programming; and
Can improve the reputation of the aid agencies