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Where have we got to with accountability? Review of theory and practice in crisis contexts

Groupe URD is involved in setting up a community of practice made up of around ten Francophone NGOs committed to making progress in terms of accountability towards people affected by crises. The group shares experiences and ideas about accountability mechanisms that are applied in the field, with the aim of improving operations. An initial study is currently being conducted in order to review existing theory and practice and to analyse current trends in relation to what is too often a catch all term. This first document will focus on key questions for practitioners and donors, and will be the starting point for more in-depth case studies on new developments in this area.

More specifically, the study will focus on the following questions:

  • What are the issues at stake behind the call for greater accountability in crisis contexts?
  • What are the key points in the definition of accountability? What links are there with related notions such as transparency, Do No Harm, and participation?
  • What are the current policies, trends, actors and recommendations that directly or indirectly structure/influence operations in crisis contexts with regard to this issue?
  • What does the “A” in a MEAL system (Monitoring, Evaluation Accountability and Learning) mean? And how does the A connect to the M, E and L?
  • What accountability activities are carried out in the field? What difficulties are encountered?
  • What difference is there between the challenges and practices of implementing accountability in the field between short-term and long-term projects? Between different regions of the world? Between the main operational sectors? Between the Anglophone and Francophone sectors?
  • Are there specific issues at stake in implementing accountability with specific groups (e.g. children)? As part of a consortium? Via remote management ?
  • What issues and initiatives need to be analysed in more detail?

Quantitative data will be collected from participating organisations’ MEAL field staff and semi-directed interviews will complement the literature review.

This first study is being carried out in collaboration with Action contre la faim, Humanité et Inclusion, Terres des hommes and SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, with funding from the French Development Agency, the Fondation de France, the Principality of Monaco and Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Regional Council.

More information: contact Lisa Daoud