HNPW 2023 - Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP): Every contact counts: Intentional accountability through the programme cycle

Despite being a cross-cutting issue, accountability to affected people (AAP) often ends up being unintentionally siloed. As a result, humanitarian actors often miss valuable opportunities to make every contact with affected populations count. This event, organized together with the World Food Program (WFP) and Trinity College Dublin, aims to show how AAP can be better leveraged across the programme cycle and highlight areas where we still struggle to move AAP out of the silo.

Every contact counts when humanitarian actors engage with affected populations, and each point in the cycle represents an opportunity to build trust and accountability. AAP can inform better programming – from targeting to registration processes, information sharing, and community feedback mechanisms.

Using examples from WFP, the panel will discuss use cases from multiple countries and across contexts of displacement, emergency, and response scale-up. The examples draw on multi-level partnerships from academic to local partners and less formal partnerships, informal with community committees.

Read more about the other events in the HNPW 2023 series on AAP at

Q&A responses

During the event, participants posed many interesting questions, and the panelists responded in writing to many of the ones we did not have time to discuss during the event. You will find their responses below.

Could you elaborate on the challenges regarding administering the Washington Group Questions? What worked and what didn't? [Milica Trpevska]

  • Caroline Jagoe: Here is a link to a blog hosted on the Washington Group website. I will also share a longer document that explains these findings. Here is the longer document outlining the findings with a summary of the methodology.

Are there any trends for how an effective CFM enables reporting of safeguarding concerns? [Subhalaxmi Mohanty]

  • Negar Ghobadi: Absolutely – inspired by the inter agency analytical framework for  analyzing CFM data, WFP has developed a framework to ensure the data would be analysed with these in mind. Specifically, tagging data as relevant to protection, access barriers, SEA/ GBV and environmental issues allows us to look at these along various dimensions.

In my small experience, some programmes take a step back in sharing information about records or access criteria to minimize the risk of fraud. This is most common in fairly vulnerable contexts. What can you say about this?

  • Negar Ghobadi: We rarely share the actual formula for calculating eligibility, but we do need to be transparent about drivers of vulnerability, mostly because we need to ensure these are validated by communities for their context. There are other measures that can be put in place to address fraud, including encouraging transparency and contacting CFMs in case of exclusion or perception of wrongful inclusion of a group, etc.

How do you manage governments’ interference?

  • Stuart Kent: Coordination with such actors will always be highly challenging, and remains so. However, key checks and balances in the programme design and delivery, including the separation between CFACs (whose members must be resident in the area, and cannot therefore include non-community stakeholders), partners and TPMs who conduct multiple levels of verification and WFP maintaining sole validation and approval of results are vital. Also vital is a strong ground level humanitarian access and negotiation capacity - with no single negotiation approach or strategy being the most likely to be successful in all circumstances.

How does WFP see opportunities to transfer learnings from Mozambique, Moldova and Afghanistan to other program contexts? What considerations do program teams need to make when adapting findings to new contexts?

  • Negar Ghobadi: We’re planning an active community of practice where we share learning among COs. Also, we do annual surveys on CFMs and set up workshops to share learning. Those workshops present a good opportunity to highlight successes and identify learning opportunities for all. We’re also thinking about learning briefs, but still have to see if that’s feasible or would be useful

Do you conduct Community validation as part of the targeting processes? [Abdulaziz Kikanga]

  • Stuart Kent: This option was looked at and considered in depth during review and redesign of the targeting process. Ultimately, we decided against a public validation step on the basis of conflict sensitivity and protection concerns that have the potential to become relatively severe in the Afghanistan context - including targeting and reprisals of vulnerable persons and households. In order to mitigate the risks of exclusion, or wrongful inclusion, given the inability to conduct a public community verification step (such as posting lists in a common area), we have focused a lot on the partner verification, as well as the Third-Party spot-checking, steps and the link to the CFM (particularly the hotline) and having the operational capacity to act concretely on issues raised through the hotline in relation to the targeting process.

Is there an administrator that receives the complaints and farms the complaints to the relevant organizations? [Tita]

  • Nicholas Weeks: We have a WFP CFM in AFG - we register about 13,000 cases every month. 99.9% of these cases are for WFP, and they go to the relevant area office/cooperating partner. For cases that are meant for other agencies, we try to get the CFM user the correct information/contact information while at the point of intake.

As an Afghan organization in Turkey, we have received many reports of lack of transparency in the distribution of aid by WFP. There were also reports of employment discrimination within WFP and its staff. As you know, Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic country. Can you say that the ethnic balance is considered among your Afghan employees? Another question is how accessible you are to the central and inaccessible parts of Afghanistan. Do you have access to the most vulnerable people in that area? [Murtaza Sarem]

  • Stuart Kent: WFP, and our partners, do have access throughout the country, including the central regions where winter and seasonal challenges to access are also a concern that requires a large degree of pre-positioning to address. At a geographical level, we are quite guided by the IPC process and related analysis of food insecurity at an area level, and at a community level, both conflict sensitivity and protection are key concerns for who we partner with, how, where and why.

How long does this process take until registration in your experience? For xx amount of people? [Amor Chandoul]

  • Stuart Kent: In our experience, the process takes up to 2 months from start to finish, particularly at the scale we are working (an average of 10-12 million people receiving emergency food assistance per month). The operational platform required is quite significant and part of why our initial scale up in 2021 had to prioritize speed and reach, to deliver life-saving aid in time, before we moved towards more significant shifts over the course of 2022.

As humanitarian practitioners, how can we minimize community leaders/ state holders manipulating our beneficiaries selection process? [Jordan Hope]

  • Stuart Kent: Our number one piece of advice would be to diversify who's voices are involved in the decision, balance these potential gate-keepers, look into who their constituencies might be, to whom are they accountable? And communicate as much as possible so that communities might be able, and armed with the necessary information to inform others when a process goes awry.

How do you ensure selection of women and children in the IDPs when we have seen powerful gatekeepers who are camp leeaders.gate kèepers wnats to control who should be on the list as beneficiaries hence they can register a beneficiary twice or thrice hence duplication? [Abdikadir Mohamed]

  • Stuart Kent: There are many strategies, one key one is to not accept a camp leaders as the single source of power and control over the process. A CFAC must contain several diverse members and stakeholders, with the aim being to balance power relations, and in the case you mention of a camp leader seeking to bias the process, the aim is to dilute the influence of this single stakeholder. Multiple verification steps by multiple, separate actors (partners, third-party monitoring, WFP responses spark by CFM communications) also optimise the chances of identifying if and when such exclusion in any population, including IDPs. WFP corporate systems such as SCOPE also use biometrics to reduce such duplication at the registration stage.

How to do good enough AAP for early rapid onset when speed is necessary and people are not settled yet (high mobility) during the early days of earthquake/tsunami/conflict? [Margie Siregar]

  • Charlotte Lancaster: Preparedness and anticipatory action efforts will support early engagement and partnerships with existing community-based networks and structures to facilitate engagement during an emergency and in areas with high mobility.

Do you also collect the preferred languages of the affected people to get a better understanding of which languages are needed? [Aga Macura]

  • Charlotte Lancaster: In WFP, we tap into existing knowledge (protection cluster) and augment knowledge gaps when required through data collection tools (context/protection analysis) that include questions on communications, language and information needs and preferences. Ensuring this data is used is imperative to meaningful engagement.

In our program in NCA Somalia, we have developed beneficiary selection criteria with the contribution of the village committee. But we had experienced a challenge regarding the disabled beneficiaries – how can you ensure to get the maximum disabled beneficiaries in your program?

  • Caroline Jagoe: One strategy is to work in consultation with a local Organisation of Persons with Disabilities (OPD). There is some good work happening in Somalia in mapping OPDs and the new National Disability Agency may also be a useful point of contact.

Do you have any documents where we can see how to information materials were tested with the communities and what changes communities suggested to the information or images to make them more understandable and inclusive? (of course in every context the suggestions may be different)? [Aga Macura]

Could WFP colleagues provide some insight on 'who' does the analysis of the captured information through feedback/response mechanisms? Is it through temporary consultancy? Or do you have dedicated staff for this role? This is important especially if we want to lead similar initiatives at IA level - often times we don't do a good job, due to capacity issues... [Innocent Sibomana]

  • Nicholas Weeks: This is different in different countries, but in AFG we have a dedicated CFM team which does this analysis within the broader AAP team.

What is the advice regarding harmonising local/country accountability framework with your guidelines? [Isatou Sarr]

  • Charlotte Lancaster: WFP's guidelines speak to international accountability frameworks set by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and can be tailored to local contexts and must be aligned with inter-agency effort in the country.




Event recording

Watch recording


Tiago Coucelo Tiago Coucelo Programme Policy Officer, WFP Mozambique Country Office
Negar Ghobadi Negar Ghobadi Team Lead CFM, Data and Analytics, WFP
Dr. Caroline Jagoe Dr. Caroline Jagoe Professor and Project Lead, Trinity College Dublin
Stuart Kent Stuart Kent Head of Emergencies, WFP Afghanistan Country Office
Emidio Maungane Emidio Maungane Programme Policy Officer, WFP Mozambique Country Office
Ahali Selemane Ahali Selemane Gender and Protection Officer, SEPPA Cooperating Partner Mozambique


Charlotte Lancaster Charlotte Lancaster Head AAP, WFP HQ
Manisha Thomas Manisha Thomas Senior Policy Advisor, PHAP