HNPW 2022 - Accountability to Affected Populations: A standardized approach to complaints and feedback mechanisms

While there are still few examples of complaints and feedback mechanisms that systematically capture the views and feedback from affected people, ensure they inform decision-making, and close the “feedback loop,” progress is being made. Drawing from a few country examples, this session will be an opportunity to look at some of the existing good practices for collective and standardized complaints and feedback mechanisms, including data standardization initiatives, feedback logbooks, and hotlines, as well as initiatives to ensure mechanisms are designed so as to be participatory, inclusive, and accessible.

Event polls

During the event, we also asked participants to share their views and advice on the discussed topic. You can find the final results of these below.


What is needed to make collective CFMs more consistently set up and effective across operations?

  • Training
  • Common guidance
  • A single tool, owned nationally
  • CWC / AAP clusters / WGs set up in all responses
  • Have good channels for feedback. Close the learning cycle.
  • Investment in global enablers like CDAC and other H2H agencies
  • Agree on common templates/ toolbox
  • Political buy-in
  • Visibility of all agencies
  • Leadership from HCTs
  • Central information management (one lead)
  • Demonstrated value to the users group by making use of the collected data
  • Donors need to insist / needs to be mandatory and non-negotiable
  • Collective understanding of the benefit of feedback and roles of all involved. Joint contributions for sustainability and linkage to other existing cfm's to bridge gaps and make feedback mechanisms available for the most vulnerable.
  • Coordination at interagency level
  • Clarity on who takes the lead on this, reources for coordination of set-up and implementation, as well as clear roles, responsibilities and communication mechanisms
  • Enough technical tools, templates and conversations exist. Now we need to remove the political and structural barriers that prevent people from using CFMs and participating in designing CFMs that work for them.
  • Need to define what is/must be collective from what remains valuable only to individual agency. Difficult to understand and make the cutoff.
  • Developing lnoger-term strategies alongside funding and partnerships, agreeing on standardised data-sharing agreements (UN/NGOs), developing joint communication to affected people
  • It should/must be realistic and timely
  • Comprehensive guidelines, standardized logbook, decision tree, follow-up and feedback on complaints in timely manners; and learning and adapting accordingly.
  • Third party involvement for collective accountability
  • HR and funding
  • Leadership for application by all
  • Common Guidance document for better comparison
  • 1) a standard guidance and toolkit developed by many organisations might help to all use the same set up 2) The involvement of senior leadership is a key piece to get not only buy-in to the benefit of the CFMs but also collaboration
  • Trained protection staff and compliance measure
  • The community to be consulted well on the effectiveness of the CFM and let them choose the best way that fits them.
  • Space to report to sectors and commitment to use data
  • Sensiblize actors on the importance of having an efficient CFM for the quality of actions
  • Standardised and simple CFM and greater community participation
  • Better common response mechanism; otherwise why make it collective if response is not common?
  • Committing some funding and personnel to implement the one standardised approach
  • Joined up assessments of peoples information feedback and complaints channels preferences
  • Communities need to build trust in the mechanism - meaning there needs to be counter-feedback. In some communities it is absolutely not in their culture to report - meaning operations have to support some kind of behavioral change
  • Coordination, effective SOPs, mandated response times, referral mandates, get rid of suggestion/feedback boxes, train staff (not just some random person on the desk), IM, IM, IM. Collective approaches
  • Good tools for measuring the effectiveness of CFM tools
  • It shouldn't be done for the compliance requirement
  • Effective community sensitization needs to be conducted to ensure that the community understands the importance of CFM and the channels of reporting
  • Increase joint programming, with joint/collective CFM
  • Make it an active process not only passively receiving feedback but ask for it!
  • Reliable structure for complaint registration and timely actions/feedback
  • Roll out a minimum standard and tools, with many trainings at all levels of operations about the mechanism and the challenges it tackles
  • Communities should design (co-design) the CFMs
  • Commitment from country response management (HCT) and collective advocacy with agencies and donors. Planning for collective CFM in operations (human and financial resources)
  • A need for a dedicated webinar on the subject and scheduled regularly will allow such activity to be accomplished.
  • They must be user friendly
  • Ongoing measurement of effectiveness of CFMs tools rather than simply saying the tool is good.
  • Strong system complaints registration like using Kobo platform, database logbook, SoP/ Guidelines, capacity building materials and trainings. Dedicated team/ staff for collecting/ processing feedback properly, confidentially.
  • Using SMART Approach
  • Different ways and reporting channels on CFM that the community is aware of, while M&E and Protection mainstreaming teams conducting FGDs with the communities evaluating these different reporting channels.
  • An umbrella organization that each NGO can trust
  • Build trust among the communities and ensure that complaints and feedback are addressed
  • 1) A unified standard operating procedures unanimously agreed at the country level 2) Identifying a lead agency to manage day to day CFM system operations; 2) Funding pool for one Call Center for all;
  • People who are requested to give information need to be assured confidentiality. In this way, consent needs to be signed and a high level of honesty from the side of the information collector is recommended.
  • Adjust it to the local situation and agree with the communities and stakeholders on which is the best tool to be used and hot to use it.
  • Regular exchange, capacity building/ trainings for the implementing partners, then provided technical and similar support access
  • 1) Provide hotline number 2) Response the complaint ASAP so it would raise people trust on us 3) Deliver information by using native language
  • Agree on minimum information needed for HCT or cluster and identify pathways to collect this information
  • Use RapidPro
  • As in the following ALNAP resource:
  • SoP, trainings
  • Standardization of sharing data
  • Listening
  • Communities should be involved; more community/personal interaction; confidentiality assurance; a mix of info collection/feedback systems; communication/info desks at sites; women/children friendly depots (perhaps toilets) for dropbox

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Elda Pereira De Avelar Manager, Linha Verde, WFP, Mozambique
Eva Erlach CEA Delegate, IFRC
Charlotte Lancaster Programme & Policy Officer, WFP
James Macharia CCCM Cluster Coordinator, UNHCR, Somalia
Claire O'Reilly Research Fellow, Trinity College Dublin
FanMan Tsang Director of Capacity Bridging and Technology, CDAC Network


Manisha Thomas Senior Policy Advisor, PHAP