We are all actors in the chain of accountability

from Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative
Published on 12 Sep 2019

HQAI/Geneva 12/09/2019. The chain of accountability starts with vulnerable people and at-risk communities and ends with taxpayers. In between are governments, donors, national and international organisations, their respective partners, and HQAI - a trusted NGO boosting quality and accountability in the humanitarian sector through independent quality assurance. A new video shows how.

“As an organisation we are accountable to the people in need and to the people who give us money” says Hiba Hamzi, Programme Coordinator at Naba’a / Development without Borders, an organisation that is certified against the CHS1 by HQAI. Humanitarian and development organisations are an important part of the chain of accountability, hence, are accountable for their actions towards more than one actor. HQAI supports these organisations directly in helping them identify critical action points to improve the quality of their services. In parallel, audited organisations can credibly demonstrate their performance to vulnerable communities, donors and other stakeholders. The trust that is built-up through this process can facilitate donor-recipient relations.

Building trust

Anne de Riedmatten, First Secretary and Deputy Head of Section at the Swiss mission to the UN, illustrates another element of the accountability chain: “We understand that as a trust building exercise. Due diligence is absolutely critical because we owe accountable reporting to our parliament and, ultimately, we owe it to the Swiss citizens. And having an independent organisation who can help you is extremely useful for the whole sector, and most importantly for the people that we serve.”

Putting people at the centre

Vulnerable people and at-risk communities benefit from growing accountability and improved quality of the services they receive. Moreover, the auditing process gives affected people a strong voice. Their views are the ultimate gauge on whether the quality and accountability mechanisms of an audited organisation work effectively. “It is very important for us to express our opinions and suggestions for improvement of (the audited organisation). The process will improve the lives of our families,” explains Ayat, a mushroom farmer in Indonesia, after discussing with HQAI auditors.


Early September 2019 HQAI released a video that links the perspectives of different actors in the chain of accountability in humanitarian aid and development. The video gives the floor to the people in need of support, donors providing the financial means & to national and international organisations working with vulnerable people, so that they can tell the story.

This short video shows the benefits of independent quality assurance in the humanitarian and development sector in a dynamic compelling way.

Watch the video here.

About HQAI

The Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) provides humanitarian organisations with independent quality assurance services grounded in feedback from vulnerable people and at-risk communities. In other words: HQAI verifies that organisations work according to defined standards from their head offices to the field. Professional and independent, HQAI audits involve document reviews, interviews with staff and partners, observation at selected project sites and the direct input of communities receiving assistance, as well as of other stakeholders.

HQAI makes sure that the services it provides - namely certification, independent verification and benchmarking - remain relevant and accessible to the diverse organisations and institutions involved.

Endorsing the localisation agenda, HQAI has stablished two mechanisms to facilitate access to its audit services: a subsidy fund that can cover up to 90% of the cost of an audit, and a Group scheme, which enables several small organisations to join in an audit and benefit from lower costs.
More on www.hqai.org


Désirée Walter, Head of Marketing and Communication Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) Chemin de Balexert 7-9 1219 Châtelaine Geneva, Switzerland Phone: +41 22 566 1399 E-mail: communication@hqai.org