Community World Service Asia: Capacity building strengthens quality and accountability in the Philippines

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New case study: Community World Service Asia - Capacity building strengthens quality and accountability in the Philippines

This case study highlights the capacity building that Community World Service (CWS) Asia undertook in the Philippines following typhoon Yolanda in 2013. It details how to maintain focus on HR during a disaster, particularly regarding the skills, knowledge, and attitude required and expected of an aid worker to deliver high quality services to communities.

In the period immediately following a disaster, it is a challenge to ensure good HR practice remains part of the way of working. Local NGOs sometimes need to recruit up to three times the normal workforce size within a very short timeframe, and HR practices may easily get overlooked in the name of urgency.

The CWS programme, Strengthening Humanitarian Assistance Capacity Building, was undertaken to improve Quality and Accountability (Q&A) processes and practices in the immediate aftermath of typhoon Yolanda. At a time of rapid escalation of NGO and INGO involvement in the immediate disaster response and early recovery period, it was crucial to quickly embed Q&A measures to ensure that services were effectively delivered and that accountability of all actors was guaranteed. The work also aimed to ensure that CWS Asia would be able to independently undertake a major Q&A deployment in the future, with limited support from consultants or external expertise.

This project addressed three areas:

community education and capacity building for aid agencies and their staff,

capacity building indirectly for local communities, and,


By coaching and mentoring staff, technical advisor Uma Narayanan built on existing local and regional capacity and capability, developed in-house skills, and reduced reliance on external consultants. Uma suggests that leaders and managers in NGOs and INGOs can make basic changes in their HR practices to continue implementing what has been learned and documented from other disasters.