Photo: EU/ECHO/Pierre Prakash
I quite like this ALNAP project – every three years we get a reality check on how the humanitarian system performs. This year, again, the report noted that monitoring in humanitarian action remains a weakness, and often just counts the number of people reached. This is important as we need to get better at monitoring quality and also impact (good/bad – intended/unintended) more systematically to be accountable to those we serve – not just to those that provide the funding.
Dashboards are a great thing, especially global dashboards that can drill down to more detail. I like this one for being a good and easy way to access HNO/HRP information. Unfortunately, it is inevitably building on the mostly reach-focused needs assessments with little or no quality-focused indicators. This underlines the concern raised in the State of the Humanitarian System report, and is a timely illustration of the point it made.
“Doing no Harm in the Digital Era” is a just released report about the issue of humanitarian metadata. Cash transfer programs, feedback mechanisms, and survey collectors, amongst others, all gather metadata that can reveal a lot more about beneficiaries than they may want to share. This in some situations may put them at risk, an issue that needs to be well understood and managed by organizations. In a way, we are in a conundrum where we struggle to gather more quality data about our programs (my two examples above) but at the same time in many instances collect a lot more data about our beneficiaries than we need or are able to manage safely.