Placing accountability at the heart of humanitarian assistance; Lessons from the Listen Learn Act project

from DanChurchAid, Save the Children, Ground Truth Solutions
Published on 30 Apr 2017

Executive summary


All too often, humanitarian actors fail to adequately consult with affected populations who are given too few opportunities to offer their perspectives on the assistance they receive or the agencies that provide it. Delivered through a partnership between DanChurchAid (DCA), Save the Children Denmark and Ground Truth Solutions, and using the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) – the accountability component of the Sphere handbook - as a foundation, the Listen Learn Act (LLA) project has been piloting an innovative method of regular and systematic information gathering and analysis to provide a ‘heartbeat’ or vital sign for agencies to know how they are meeting people's basic expectations.
Linked to a process of engaging communities on the issues they raise and a commitment to feeding back on corrective actions, this initiative offers an important benchmark for ‘closing the loop’. This report provides an overview and analysis of findings from the project and offers critical reflections from practitioners piloting the initiative in Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mali and Nepal.

Background to the Listen Learn Act Project

LLA is a global quality and accountability project funded by European Union (EU) humanitarian aid and piloted in four countries; Mali (the humanitarian response in the north), Nepal (the earthquake response), Ethiopia (the response for South Sudanese refugees in Gambella) and Lebanon (support for Syrian refugees). It seeks to strengthen accountability to communities through three interconnected components:

  • Building the capacity of humanitarian organisations to strengthen their accountability to the communities that they work with by applying the CHS and implementing feedback systems, through face-to-face to trainings, on-the-job mentoring and through e-learning, on-line toolboxes and supporting communities of practice and sharing data.

  • Refining and testing an innovative methodology to collect and use evidence on the implementation of the CHS by 15 organisations1 in Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mali and Nepal.

  • Strengthening accountability across the sector through the promotion and dissemination of findings and results via reports and online media and by providing input to key humanitarian events and fora.