07/04/2015The humanitarian system is polymorphous, is made up of multiple organisations and is constantly evolving. Due to its high level of diversity, generic concepts like ‘quality’ resonate differently for different aid organizations. The issues at stake for this definition are also different depending on the organisation: is it a question of improving impact, effectiveness, efficiency…? In this complex context, there is a temptation to approach the concept of quality in a normative way. Standards are written, formalized, supposedly known by all and are sometimes even legally enforceable. Current discussions about certification are in keeping with the current trend towards the simplification and standardization of how aid quality is understood.