Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS) in quality and accountability

Increasingly, organisations and donors are using the Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS), approved in 2014 under the auspices of the CHS Alliance (the over-arching body for humanitarian standards).

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These standards are founded or developed from a synthesis of pre-existing ones including Sphere core standards, the IFRC and NGO Code of Conduct, ALNAP Evaluation Guidelines, and IASC Accountability to Affected Populations (CAAP) and standards from various NGOs.

The CHS outlines what organisations need to do in order to be accountable, which will result in the assistance provided being more targeted, timely and in line with what people need.

It is intended for the CHS to be used across design, implementation, assessment and accountability of assistance and wider programmes. The CHS also provides technical guidance on the performance indicators expected under each standard.

It can be used by the wider public and those affected by crises as a guideline for what to expect from those organisations committed to its implementation. What is innovative about the CHS is that it is designed to allow crisis-affected communities to hold the NGOs helping them to account.

The CHS emphasises accountability mechanisms whereby:

  • Assessments are used to improve the targeting of assistance, location of service provision and the design and implementation of supported interventions
  • Community engagement and information-sharing is promoted
  • People can make known grievances and organisations investigate and redress any wrongdoing

The CHS working group quoted in the Guardian newspaper stated that purpose of the CHS ‘was to create a simple set of standards that everyone can relate to, a low hurdle that every humanitarian organisation should be able to leap over’. As an agency evolves, it is expected to then aspire to higher and more technical standards.

Core Humanitarian Standards

Your task

In Week 1, we introduced the value of and process for preparedness and planning for disaster response.

Those of you who have formulated emergency plans and activated them for response know that, very often, your planning assumptions do not match the reality. What role do principles and standards from in these situations?

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This article is from the free online course:

Humanitarian Action, Response and Relief

Coventry University