Accountability to affected populations (AAP) is about systematically and meaningfully engaging the recipients of aid into all stages of the humanitarian programming cycle, ensuring they have a voice and a hand in the decisions that affect their lives. For humanitarian actors, this requires respect, transparency, and a willingness to work with affected communities, and also be influenced and judged by them. In practice this entails consulting beneficiaries during assessment, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of programmes; establishing open channels of communication for feedback and information sharing; and facilitating participatory processes for decision-making and mutual learning. Doing so is not only fundamental to humanitarian principles, but also a practical means to improve the quality and effectiveness of humanitarian aid and ultimately the sustainability of aid programmes.
The following sets of questions are intended to serve as basic guide to help partners incorporate, ensure, and promote AAP across all phases of their work. Please use the questions as merely a starting point for addressing AAP before, during, and after the implementation of an aid programme and for stimulating discussion on future AAP action. We hope that by asking themselves these questions, partners can increase the effectiveness and responsiveness of their efforts; support the self-confidence, capacity building, and sense of ownership of beneficiaries; and minimize the risk for fraud, negligence, and inefficient use of funds. The significant limitations often imposed by the humanitarian environment in Sudan mean, however, that all of these recommended measures are not always possible or appropriate to carry out. Thorough consideration of local circumstances, as always, must precede adoption of any action as to not jeopardize the safety of any beneficiary or the security of a project—following along a ‘do no harm’ approach.
AAP is just one aspect of a principled approach to humanitarian aid, in addition neutrality and impartiality must be ensured. A staff code of conduct spelling out and necessitating commitment to these principles and AAP in particular is essential to establish a shared mindset among the organisation that places affected populations at the heart of humanitarian action. To this end, partners must do their part to ensure staff attitudes and actions treat beneficiaries with respect, to devote adequate financial and human resources to AAP related activities, and to provide training and support in AAP as necessary.
An extensive range of resources exist to aid partners with AAP, many of which are compiled in the Sudan SHF AAP Framework. The SHF seeks to further support partners in enhancing in AAP through guidance and oversight. More details on SHF roles and responsibilities can similarly be found in the SHF AAP framework.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.