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| About CARE's commitment to Quality and Accountability | CARE International Accountability Framework | Quality and Accountability in practice | Governance & Accountability: "Forward Accountability" | Partnerships for improving Quality and Accountability

About CARE's commitment to Quality and Accountability

CARE International seeks to achieve its vision and mission by following a set of Programming Principles and Project Standards whether responding to emergencies, assisting with rehabilitation efforts or long term development. CARE's own principles and standards are intentionally aligned with those of many other humanitarian agencies, including Sphere minimum standards, Humanitarian Accountability Principles and the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief. CARE's work related to quality and accountability is led by the CARE International Secretariat.

CARE International Accountability Framework

The pilot version of CARE International's Humanitarian Accountability Framework (released in February 2010) was designed to pull together and simplify CARE’s existing various quality and accountability commitments, such as CARE’s own programming principles and inter-agency standards such as Sphere, into a single framework. This framework should help clarify CARE’s accountability commitments for senior managers, their teams and CARE partners in addition to helping field staff working with disaster-affected communities put accountability into practice. Central to these standards is a commitment that humanitarian agencies should be directly accountable for the quality of their work by making certain that those affected by emergencies really do have a say in planning, implementing and judging our response. To ensure this is happening and improve our performance by learning, CARE measures outcomes and changes that take place in people's lives as a result of our work through a series of monitoring activities, After Action Reviews (AARs) and external evaluations. CARE's Evaluation Policy is one way of ensuring transparency, as this requires that terms of reference, findings, lessons learned and recommendations of external evaluations of humanitarian action are placed in the public domain. All of CARE’s external evaluation reports can be seen at the CARE Evaluations e-Library.
CARE's Humanitarian Accountability Framework will eventually be replaced by an Accountability Framework that will cover all of CARE's programming, operations and governance...not just our humanitarian work. For more information, visit the Development of CARE International's Accountability Framework website.

Quality and Accountability in practice

CARE's Humanitarian Accountability Framework (HAF) makes commitments to our stakeholders, including disaster-affected populations, to deliver a high quality, timely and accountable response. At the same time, particularly in a quick-onset emergency like an earthquake or cyclone, it is necessary to take a "Good Enough Approach" so that, even if we are too busy or don't have enough resources to meet our commitments at first, our efforts ensure that we meet them as soon as we possibly can.

A "Good Enough Approach" acknowledges that in an emergency response, adopting a quick and simple approach to impact measurement and accountability may be the only practical possibility. ‘Good enough’ does not mean second best, but rather it means recognising and acknowledging limitations in terms of capacity and time, prioritising appropriately, taking steps to anticipate and fill gaps and, as the situation changes, review and revise accordingly.

Governance & Accountability: "Forward Accountability"

Efforts by NGOs to be accountable has tended to focus on accountability towards donors with little attention to the people we work with and for. However, in the last decade the accountability of NGOs and CSOs has been increasingly questioned, and pressure for CSOs to be put under the same level of scrutiny as other development actors has increased.
"Forward Accountability" is rooted in the sharing of relevant information with impact groups in a clear and accessible manner (transparency). It relies on the active involvement of beneficiaries in various stages of the programme and project cycles (meaningful participation), as well as safe and reliable mechanisms for receiving, managing and responding to complaints and other forms of feedback (feedback & dialogue). This requires an organisational environment which is conducive to accountable practices through its incentive structures and organisational values and cuts across development and humanitarian work. CARE International UK’s Governance Team is leading related work for CARE International, notably in strengthening Country Office’s capacity. For more information, visit the CARE International Governance Wiki

Partnerships for improving Quality and Accountability

In keeping with our programming principles, CARE places considerable emphasis on working with partners in an effort to improve quality and accountability. CARE is an active member of several humanitarian accountability networks, many of which were established in the wake of lessons learned from the Rwanda genocide.
These different initiatives share a common goal that is to improve accountability, quality and performance in humanitarian action. All the initiatives are governed, managed and supported by humanitarian agencies and individuals. Some of the key networks where CARE is involved are listed below:

The INGO Accountability Charter

The INGO Accountability Charter is an initiative of International NGOs to demonstrate their commitment to accountability and transparency as a response to increasing pressure from the media, businesses and governments for greater transparency. The Charter is designed to cover all major areas of work for NGOs and to be compatible with and complimentary to existing codes. The Charter text codifies practices for INGOs in the areas of respect for universal principles; independence; responsible advocacy; effective programmes; non-discrimination; transparency; good governance; ethical fundraising; and professional management.

The Sphere Project
Launched in 1997 by a group of humanitarian NGOs and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, Sphere is based on two core beliefs: 1) all possible steps should be taken to alleviate human suffering arising out of calamity and conflict; 2) those affected by disaster have a right to life with dignity and therefore a right to assistance. The project has developed several key tools, including a handbook and an associated training pack.
Humanitarian Accountability Partnership - International (HAP)
The creation of HAP in 2003 followed many years of consultation, research and negotiation within the humanitarian community. HAP members share a commitment to making humanitarian action accountable to its intended beneficiaries by following specific "Principles of Accountability". HAP members seek to comply with and promote these principles through capacity-building, self-regulation, quality assurance certification and advocacy.
Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP)
ALNAP was established in 1997 and is dedicated to improving humanitarian performance through increased learning and accountability. Network members include agencies and experts from across the humanitarian spectrum, including donors, NGOs, Red Cross/Crescent, UN and independent/academic organizations. ALNAP is dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of humanitarian action, by sharing lessons; identifying common problems; and where appropriate, building consensus on approaches.
Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB)
The Emergency Capacity Building Project is a collaborative effort of seven humanitarian agencies that are jointly tackling common problems in emergency response and preparedness. Since 2005, these agencies and their strategic partners have been addressing issues pertaining to staff capacity, accountability (primarily to affected populations), impact measurement, risk reduction, and the use of information and technology in emergencies.
Accountability and HIV/AIDS
CARE International is signatory to the Code of Good Practice for NGO’s involved in responding to HIV/AIDS. The Code draws on the success of initiatives such as the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Relief; The Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Reliefand The People In Aid Code of Good Practice in the Management and Support of Aid Personnel. The Code aims to build wider commitment to principles and practices, informed by evidence, that underscore successful NGO responses to HIV/AIDS.
People in Aid
Since 2008 CARE is a full member of People In Aid. This is a global network of development and humanitarian assistance agencies helping aid organisations to enhance the impact they make through better management and support of staff and volunteers. It works as an information exchange on good human resources and people management practice, by facilitating networking, by providing resources, by undertaking research and by answering queries. The People In Aid network is linking more than 130 member organisations around the world.