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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Disaster Interventions and the Need for Evaluation, Accountability and Learning. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Another NGO stepped in to help Sameea and her friends. They talk to community and ask the children to draw what they wanted. They made sure money was spent where it was needed fixing the broken pipes at the school and buying well-made books. For Sameea and her friends having an NGO that engaged, listened and remained accountable was all they needed. Throughout this short course on disaster interventions, evaluation and learning we have seen why we need to be accountable to the communities we serve. I’ve got three news articles, we’ve got the kind of hard hitting one about the adverts to do with gambling and how they are targeted at certain people.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 seconds If we talk about this would you be willing to - yeah - yeah I suppose it’s good to talk about it.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds We have seen that community engagement can vary and actions of aid organisations aren’t always driven by humanitarian concerns. We have seen that money and resources on their own aren’t enough to solve a problem. Communities don’t need saving. They need support. They need a voice. So how can we achieve that through the way we work? Come with us through the module as we explore how the core humanitarian standards influence our work, how we use log frames, quality management systems and resilience frameworks to measure our effectiveness, how to build skills, capacity and confidence. How we influence policy and how to make the biggest impact while staying true to funders and communities at the same time.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 seconds So, ask yourself, what does being accountable look like to you?

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 seconds It was obvious that the children and teachers were unhappy so asking what they thought was important seemed like the best option. By starting conversations at the school I got more information about other problems too. It turned out two agencies were providing food but no one was handing out blankets and winter was coming. My manager was grateful we found out what the community needed and now we’re going to use this technique in all our operations.

This week you learned about...

This week, and throughout the course, you learned about all the defining aspects of humanitarian accountability:

These include the realisation that there are weaknesses in the humanitarian system, highlighted by different emergencies, and this has resulted in a series of major initiates to improve quality and accountability. You will have seen that strengthening accountability is a complex and contested agenda, and has a long history, which is increasingly being enhanced by the use of evidence, evaluations and learning.

You may feel that having a fully transparent and accountable system is the only acceptable goal, or you may consider that the system needs to be ‘good enough’ given the many challenges it faces.

For some of you, this course is the first step to achieving your degree with Coventry University. For others of you, your learning journey will stop here. Whatever your plans for your learning are, by now you may also consider that while there is room for improvement, most organisations are heading in the right direction. Alternatively, you may feel the whole system requires fundamental reform and a redistribution of power and resources down to locally accountable stakeholders, with the voice of affected populations given the greatest influence in decision making.

Your task

Share your reflections from your personal blog via a link in the discussion area or write two to three paragraphs of your thoughts.

Prompts to help you with your reflections:

  • What are the two to three key points that you learned in this course?

  • Has your perception of the subject changed since you started the course?

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This video is from the free online course:

Disaster Management and Accountability

Coventry University