In brief

Over the past decade, the humanitarian system has increasingly taken on board the importance of ‘upholding the dignity’ of people in crisis.576 Donors began to recognise the importance of accountability to affected populations (AAP), and agencies established more feedback or consultation mechanisms, and there have been improvements in safeguarding and protecting people from sexual exploitation and abuse

Overall, however, there has not been a system-wide shift in how humanitarians engage with crisis-affected people or support their dignity. Aid recipients reported little improvement in communication, consultation or feedback. COVID-19 and conflict-related restrictions necessitated more remote forms of communication and engagement, instead of the face-to-face contact that most aid recipients prefer. There was little sign of agencies using feedback to adapt projects or providing meaningful opportunities for community decision-making. Many humanitarian practitioners are aware, and critical of, the limited opportunities they can offer for including affected communities in design and decision-making, and increasingly recognise that changes in mindset are required. But wholesale changes to practice lag behind. The ‘participation revolution’ is still in waiting.


Respecting crisis-affected people implies seeing them as dignified individuals and self-determined communities rather than mere statistics of need. Over 2018–2021, as the humanitarian system continued to implement policies and good practices related to aid recipient engagement, it also faced renewed pressure to address the power dynamics between aid agencies and communities, with calls to ‘decolonise’ the aid sector. Simultaneously, the operational restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and greater efforts to document ‘survivor/community-led response’ offered an opportunity for humanitarian agencies to rethink what community participation looks like. 

Previous editions of the SOHS have focused on how the system performed on AAP, reflecting its own understanding of its obligations to affected people. Clearly, these are important considerations; how ‘the system’ chooses to interact with affected people – engage, consult and listen to them, and hold themselves accountable when things go wrong – is a vital part of a holistic, effective and sympathetic response. But this is also part of a bigger question about relationships between aid organisations and the people they seek to support, and the outcomes as well as the mechanisms of these relationships. This chapter therefore takes dignity and respect as its framing concepts and explores how the actions and inactions of the humanitarian system can support or undermine them. It focuses on three areas: communication and consultation, opportunities for feedback to influence in decision-making, and the ability to hold agencies to account.

Box G: The ladder of engagement/participation

Shared definitions are important for the system to be able to track its collective performance. The IASC defines accountability to affected populations (AAP) as an active commitment to use power responsibly by taking account of, giving account to, and being held to account by the people humanitarian organisations seek to assist.577 Engagement includes multiple different approaches to creating relationships between humanitarian agencies and crisis affected populations, including providing information, two-way communication, direct involvement in programme activities, consultations, accountability and participatory processes.578 The depth and quality of participatory opportunities for crisis-affected people can vary, ranging from highly structured needs assessments to more substantive involvement in programme design and decision-making. The following table summarises these different processes.

Type of engagement What is it?
One-way information sharing Effective communication and information sharing with affected populations on several issues, including plans for services and activities; information on how to provide feedback and complaints; programmatic messaging to shift behaviours; and information on aid recipients’ status and rights (particularly for refugees).
Consultation Consultation aims to incorporate the needs and opinions of crisis-affected populations at key points in the project cycle, most often during the needs assessment and design phase.
Feedback mechanisms Feedback mechanisms are designed to give crisis- affected communities the opportunity to provide their opinions to humanitarian agencies on the performance of projects or their changing needs throughout the response. These may take multiple forms, including in-person meetings, phone hotlines or feedback boxes.
Complaints and accountability Accountability mechanisms enable crisis-affected people to hold humanitarian actors to account through redress or sanction. Some of these complaints may be sensitive or criminal in nature. For these processes to be effective, there must be a meaningful response to the complaints or charges against humanitarian actors.
Participatory decision-making Participatory decision-making requires crisis-affected populations to have the power to meaningfully influence decision-making. This goes beyond choosing options provided by agencies to having community priorities and ideas as the main steer of the project.


How do affected people rate dignity?

Dignity and respect are broad concepts influenced by many cultural and social factors, and as such are hard to define.579 While humanitarian policies and norms reflect the centrality of dignity to a good humanitarian response, it can be hard to pin this down into operational standards and practices which take contextual differences into account. In surveys, aid recipients580 were largely positive about their sense of dignity: on average, aid recipients across the six countries surveyed for the Grand Bargain and an average of 73% of aid recipients in the SOHS survey reported that they felt that aid workers treated them with dignity. But in focus group discussions and long-form interviews, where people are able to expand on a topic in more detail, responses were more mixed, rreflecting differences in how crisis-affected people define and experience dignity and respect.

Accountability and participation are not the only determinants of a dignified response, but they play a role in enhancing feelings of dignity in some contexts. In the SOHS survey, aid recipients who had been consulted were 2.4 times more likely to say they were treated with dignity, while those who had provided feedback were 2.9 times more likely. Those who said they had been given only partial opportunities to respond rated dignified treatment lower than those who had reported having no feedback opportunity at all. This could indicate that consultation and feedback practices only lead to increased dignity if they are done well; poor consultation or feedback mechanisms may be worse than having nothing at all – creating unmet expectations was a widespread challenge581. The 2021 aid recipient survey data also confirms the link between AAP and engagement practices and improved quality and effectiveness of humanitarian response, first reported in the 2018 SOHS. When people were consulted before distribution about what kind of aid they required, and when they had the opportunity to provide feedback, they were significantly more likely to say that the amount of aid they received was sufficient, relevant and of good quality. 

Affected communities who were consulted about the aid they receive (only 33% of the 4,000+ surveyed for this SOHS) were 2.2 times more likely to say that aid addressed their priority needs, 2.7 times more likely to say that the aid they received was of good quality and 2.5 times more likely to say that the amount of aid was sufficient.

Demographic factors also play a role in people’s feelings of dignity, sometimes in unexpected ways. Women and people under the age of 24 were more likely to report being treated with dignity in the SOHS survey. Elsewhere, focus group discussions in Bangladesh and Lebanon revealed that men and women can have different perceptions of how aid relates to dignity. For example, women were more likely to see the delivery of dignified aid as an important form of support to meet their basic needs, while men were more likely to view aid as an inherently demeaning reminder of their inability to provide food and shelter for their family. Age also had an influence on perceptions of dignity, with younger or older people less likely to feel treated with respect if aid did not meet their specific priority needs of, for example, education or healthcare.582 For some, needing assistance is in itself undignified.583

Affected communities surveyed who said they were able to provide feedback or complain were 1.8 times more likely to find the aid they received relevant to their most important needs, 2.5 times more likely to say that the aid they received was of good quality and 2 times more likely to say that the amount of aid was sufficient.

Consistent with other research,584 we found no major difference between local and international humanitarian actors in their success at treating people with dignity according to aid recipients. Aid recipients in some focus group discussions were more negative about local and national NGO (L/NNGO) actors when it came to dignity, though others critiqued international organisations. These reflections are caveated by the fact it can be difficult for aid recipients to distinguish between international and local actors or to know for which aspects of aid delivery they are each responsible. 

The most dignified form of support agencies can offer is simply giving people what they say they most need. However, as discussed in Chapter 5, this is far from straightforward and remains an area for improvement. Programme modalities that support self-reliance and recipients’ agency in their own recovery, such as cash, education and livelihoods support, are commonly preferred and linked by aid recipients to their sense of dignity.585 But it matters how this aid is given: for example, cash be a more dignified response than in-kind, but this depends largely on effective distribution. When it is not timely or predictable, when agencies use poor communication or distribution methods, or when they do not consider safety and access for women, older people or those with disabilities, cash-based assistance can harm the dignity of aid recipients and increase the protection risks faced by women and girls in particular.586

How aid workers treat affected populations in needs assessment and distribution are important to ensuring dignity in all forms of humanitarian action. In several responses over 2018–2021, distribution sites ended up being places where aid recipients felt deeply disrespected. Aid recipients in Lebanon, Yemen and Venezuela expressed anger at being photographed or videoed at aid distribution points for use in donor reporting and fundraising. The global discussions on decolonising aid prompted Western humanitarian practitioners to reconsider their own agencies’ approaches to imagery and fundraising, as one senior UK humanitarian described:

Part of it is around our lexicon, our fundraising, our marketing, our imagery. Do we in our marketing, communications, fundraising, portray communities affected by crises as dignified, resilient human beings who are agents of their own destiny, who’ve been dealt a bad hand by fate but are skilful, capacitated people who are actually trying to recover, or do we portray them as hapless victims who need English people to come and save them. 

In Lebanon, women were humiliated by staff when they went to collect their aid and doors were closed in their faces; in South Sudan, women were embarrassed when given personal hygiene kits while queuing alongside men for food.587 In Yemen and Bangladesh, more serious abuses were reported, with aid recipients saying they had been beaten with sticks or whips by volunteers and aid workers in distribution lines.588 In some cases, treatment by aid workers is so egregious that individuals reported opting out of receiving assistance to avoid interacting with aid agencies.589

How well do humanitarians communicate and consult with affected people?

One-way information sharing is the easier aspect of AAP practice for humanitarians to implement. Yet still only just a third of aid recipients in the SOHS survey (36%) reported that agencies did well in communicating information about plans and activities, a slight decline from the previous period.590 As one national NGO staff member in DRC told us, communication sometimes lacked transparency ‘limited to the presentation of the project, to the project activities, but we cannot tell the population that this is what funds were allocated to this activity, or that this is what was planned and what was achieved… the population should know that it is our money, and how it came to be used.’

Misinformation and a lack of transparency on decision-making generated deep dissatisfaction and even active resistance to aid programmes. As discussed in previous chapters, poor communication of targeting criteria and decisions was an active concern for aid recipients and a threat to social cohesion. In the early phase of the 10th Ebola response in eastern DRC, communication was ‘too vague or technical’ and was not harmonised or translated accurately into local languages.591 This, combined with a militarised, top-down public health response, led to increased hostility between communities and aid workers and even violent protests and attacks against aid agencies.592

The COVID-19 pandemic offered opportunities to apply lessons from recent Ebola health responses in terms of communicating with crisis-affected people – but it presented new challenges, too. The majority of crisis-affected populations prefer to communicate in person, whether in their own home or at community meetings,593 but COVID-19 restrictions made face-to-face contact challenging, even for local NGO staff who were subject to stay-at-home orders. In refugee settings, the shift to online platforms and mobile-based communications was not tailored appropriately, leading to gaps in who was able to receive information and engage with agencies. Engagement with women and women’s organisations was particularly affected, owing to lower mobile phone ownership.594 There were clear negative impacts, as demonstrated in Ground Truth Solutions’ longitudinal data in Somalia and Cox’s Bazar, where rates of communication and engagement fell and aid recipients reported feeling ‘abandoned’ by the humanitarian community.595

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, agencies also struggled to tailor approaches to community communication preferences. While large-scale responses, such as the Syrian refugee response, may necessitate some use of remote communication, it can be distressing for aid recipients to receive certain types of information – such as news of impending cuts to cash transfers – in this way.596 Agencies also struggled with two-way communication, both during consultation and throughout project implementation (as we later discuss in reference to feedback). Making this more challenging is that the expectations and desires of affected people to be consulted appeared to vary in ways that defied easy solutions. In some contexts, aid recipients seem to tie the lack of meaningful consultation to an overall feeling of lack of influence. For example, aid recipients in DRC described their sense that projects had already ‘been decided’ before they were consulted about their needs, while evaluations noted that communities described projects being ‘announced’ to them. In other contexts, however, aid recipients said that needs assessments made them feel undignified, with intrusive or insensitive questioning. Aid recipients in Yemen and Lebanon reported that others in their community felt ashamed to answer questions used for targeting purposes and were subsequently left out of a distribution.

Can crisis affected people influence decision-making?

Aid organisations and donors invested in efforts to improve opportunities for recipients to have their views heard in programmes, partly in response to the Grand Bargain’s ‘participation revolution’. Agencies developed a wide range of policy guidance or tools and sought to implement multiple commitments, including improving leadership and coordination mechanisms for using feedback, strengthening links between feedback and corrective programming, and increasing flexible donor funding to enable those corrections. More agencies committed to using the Core Humanitarian Standard, which outlines best practices in engaging with affected populations. There were notable efforts by the IASC Results Group 2597 to engage with Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs) to use feedback at the response level. Meanwhile, agency-led initiatives from Plan International, IRC and the Start Network sought to make AAP mechanisms more inclusive for children, refugees, older people and people with disabilities.598 There were also some efforts to use tailored feedback mechanisms with communities, despite COVID-19 pushing most of this communication into remote formats. World Vision, for example, found effective ways to support in-person feedback by working with community health workers.599

Agencies developed a wide range of policy guidance and tools and sought to implement multiple commitments to improving the voice and participation of crisis-affected people.

Donors kept attention on the issue of feedback, with several strengthening their requirements for agencies to demonstrate that feedback is being collected and acted upon. More donors asked agencies to include details of their AAP600 processes in proposals and some, including USAID, are improving their AAP reporting processes to better understand feedback from recipients and how it is informing project adjustments. However, the Grand Bargain reporting process revealed that donors are not adequately incentivising these practices and continue to expect fast and cost-effective responses, which aid agencies perceive as a priority that competes with AAP. Allowing agencies greater budget flexibility to respond to evolving needs and use the most suitable modality still tends to be the exception rather than the rule. For example, Germany has a relatively flexible agreement with the German Red Cross based on years of collaboration, and Ireland provides multi-year flexible humanitarian funding for partners that enables adaptations based on community feedback.601

Some agencies piloted new approaches to go beyond feedback towards deeper participation and allowed communities more choice over the aid they receive. For example, IRC is increasing its use of multi-purpose cash grants and experimenting with bundled services for refugees, whereby individuals can choose from a range of services to access those most useful for their needs.602 Other organisations experimented with this as part of their humanitarian-development nexus pilots, and WFP increasingly used an approach to its resilience programming that integrates community-based participatory planning.603 WFP has also been increasingly using an approach to its resilience projects that integrates community-based participatory planning.

Despite these high levels of effort and activity, on the whole, agencies still struggle to provide meaningful opportunities for community feedback and participatory decision-making. Agencies have continued to mainstream AAP practices, making complaints and feedback mechanisms now commonplace in humanitarian response in various formats – including complaints boxes, ‘rumour’ boxes, SMS, social media, hotlines and linking with community leaders.604 Yet the lack of awareness among crisis-affected people of how to engage with aid agencies is a consistent problem.605 In some cases, the number of operating organisations and their different accountability mechanisms can be confusing, with people being unsure of what type of aid they receive from which organisation and how to feed back to those responsible.606 There was also a failure to fully implement lessons learned on the importance of taking local languages and communication preferences into account when designing feedback mechanisms.607

Only one in three aid recipients say they are able to provide feedback or complain, approximately the same as in 2018.608However, feedback opportunities varied significantly across responses, with half of aid recipients in DRC saying they had been able to provide feedback or make complaints, while only fewer than one in five did so in Tigray, where there was active conflict and limited access for agencies. Indeed, a majority of aid recipients do not feel that their opinion is taken into account by humanitarians in decision-making.609 As one aid recipient in Yemen summarised: ‘I don’t think that we can influence decisions about aid because we are only beneficiaries and the international organisations are the ones that decide this matter.’610

Similar to the issues with consultation described above, over the study period, a growing gap emerged between what aid recipients expect and what aid agencies offer when it comes to feedback and influence over programming. Aid recipients in Yemen, DRC, Venezuela and Lebanon described responses to their feedback in despairing terms and refugees in Lebanon renamed a joint UN hotline as a ‘coldline’.611 Failures to consistently ‘close the feedback loop’ by providing a response to aid recipients is widening the trust deficit. This is threatening the uptake of consultation and feedback mechanisms and undermining the relationship between aid recipients and humanitarian agencies. Aid recipients we spoke with were frustrated with the sense of 'powerlessness' generated by the lack of follow-up and transparency on how feedback or complaints were actioned.612 In Bangladesh, some aid recipients explained that lack of responsiveness to their complaints over the long term has led them to give up trying to use the accountability mechanisms that are in place. According to one interviewee: ‘Some site management volunteers visit the camp to collect complaints and feedback, but when we complain to them about something, it takes up to six months to receive the response, people get tired of waiting, so they just don’t give any complaint and feedback. We have complained about this drain at least 300 times in the last three years, but there is no response yet.’

The challenges with closing feedback loops and making substantive adaptations based on aid recipient input are, by now, well-known,613 but they continue to come up in multiple evaluations. Generally, feedback data goes to the wrong people in the organisation – typically more junior staff who lack the power to do anything with it – and is not analysed or integrated properly with decision-making structures that are typically opaque or top-down or both.614 When changes are made based on feedback, these tend to be small in scale and largely fit within the original project design – such as alterations to borehole locations, extending target groups to other individuals within a community, tailoring non-food item kits to better take the needs of women and girls into account, or changing the materials used for shelter flooring.615

When changes are made based on feedback, these tend to be small in scale and largely fit within the original project design.

Making more significant shifts in response to feedback is often hard for humanitarian agencies, for the same reasons that limit adaptive approaches to programming more widely. Project outputs are typically agreed at the outset of receiving grant funding and require time and effort to change; as discussed in Chapter 5, even when donors are more supportive of adjustments, humanitarian staff may not feel they have the bandwidth or time to request them. Constraints at the international level are also passed on to local and national organisations who work more directly with crisis-affected populations, placing a strain on their relationships with communities. As a Syrian national NGO representative described: ‘When it comes to local people who are beneficiaries of our projects, it’s hard. They get to participate in complaint and feedback mechanisms, yes, but that’s related to the projects. That’s related to specific activities … Otherwise it’s hard and local people do not have that much of a say.’

Is the system becoming more accountable to affected people?

In their work, humanitarian practitioners aim to express solidarity with crisis-affected people and a desire to support humanity and dignity in the most difficult circumstances. Even when these aims are realised, there remains an inherent power imbalance in the relationship between humanitarian actors and the people they serve; the relationship is one of choice for humanitarians, while it is almost always one of necessity or circumstance for crisis-affected people. Trying to offer meaningful accountability opportunities in the context of this relationship has always been a challenge. 

The wider political and cultural context for humanitarian action – which affects how people relate to authority and have faith in accountability mechanisms – continued to be a challenge. Aid recipients and humanitarians shared examples of recipients being excluded by governments from aid distribution for complaining (Yemen), governments shutting projects down after complaints (Bangladesh) or experiencing or fearing targeted abuse (Bangladesh and DRC). Cultural norms along with longer-term aid dependency can also erode people’s sense of agency to hold aid organisations to account. In DRC and Venezuela, recipients were accustomed to being viewed only as passive ‘beneficiaries’. One aid worker in Venezuela described the difficulties in understanding the true concerns of aid recipients: ‘Each letter is prettier than the previous one, so in each letter people say thanks, hugs, kisses, blessings. I tell them every month, whenever I can, that’s very good, it’s very nice, but this doesn’t help us to grow up because we cannot measure that and I know there should be weaknesses but we cannot see them.’

These power dynamics are the same reason why meaningful accountability mechanisms for crisis-affected people – those which allow communities to hold agencies to account through sanction or redress – continue to elude the system. A prominent exception to this over the study period was the effort made to strengthen mechanisms PSEAH, which included improving support to survivors for seeking legal redress against perpetrators although as Chapter 7 shows, this still had a long way to go. Bearing this in mind, there were positive signals for future improvements in meaningful accountability to affected populations616 at the top of the system, with increasing efforts to strengthen collective accountability and more recognition by humanitarian leaders that the system needs to make efforts beyond programmatic AAP mechanisms to change the balance of power.

Collective accountability comes in many forms, but most centres on feedback rather than redress. At the country coordination level, more HCTs now have AAP frameworks and working groups and are increasingly integrating AAP questions into needs assessments. HCTs have also created tools to better track their collective efforts, which were ready to pilot in 2022. How these high-level initiatives will affect practice, however, remains to be seen. Among NGOs, there have been several initiatives to improve collective accountability, including the creation of a shared mechanism for Start Network members in Bangladesh, and several organisations have signed up to use the Loop platform to gather and respond to community feedback in the Philippines, Somalia and Zambia. But difficulties in coordination between UN agencies on community engagement posed significant challenges to response-wide accountability to affected populations. UN-created collective accountability mechanisms are not yet well-established, and practical implementation of collective accountability in this period was blocked by a lack of shared understanding of key concepts, practical models, limited leadership buy-in and a lack of dedicated funding to support consistent services.617

In terms of wider, system-level accountability to affected populations, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded an exploration into reviving the humanitarian ombudsman project, which would establish an independent mechanism to hold agencies to account. Meanwhile the departing Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock decried the system’s persistent lack of accountability to affected populations.618 Noting that ‘one of the biggest failings of the humanitarian system is that agencies do not pay enough attention to what people caught up in crises say they want, and then trying to give that to them’, Lowcock called for the creation of a new independent body, staffed by representatives of crisis-affected populations, to hold the system to account by publicly grading humanitarian responses on how well they met people’s priority needs.619 

One of the biggest failings of the humanitarian system is that agencies do not pay enough attention to what people caught up in crises say they want, and then trying to give that to them.

This high-level attention was welcomed by many and the former Emergency Relief Coordinator’s proposal in particular seemed to have immediate traction, with inter-agency meetings held to discuss its potential implementation. At the same time, the proposal raised a number of concerns, including the need to build on existing accountability practices and structures620 and the practical difficulties of having crisis-affected people’s concerns meaningfully conveyed in a global mechanism,621 as well as questions about whether a global approach is preferable to more locally based accountability systems that shift power closer to affected populations.622 A task force, led by IFRC and WFP, was subsequently set up to investigate the suggestion and to determine more broadly what the system’s priorities should be for creating meaningful and effective collective accountability to affected populations.

While overall progress on the system's accountability to affected populations remains slow, practitioners noted the continued need for a deeper shift in mindsets and values for meaningful improvements in the power dynamics between humanitarian agencies and communities:

The shift in power is a huge thing … there needs to be a huge shift in the narrative from victim and beneficiary to also responder … And that shifts the narrative away from charity to actually being one of solidarity.


 I Mosel and K. Holloway, ‘Dignity and Humanitarian Action in Displacement’ (London: HPG/ODI, 2019).


 IASC, ‘The Essential Linkages between Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) and Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)’ (Geneva: IASC, 2015).


D. Brown and A. Donini, ‘Rhetoric or Reality? Putting Affected People at the Centre of Humanitarian Action.’, ALNAP Study (London: ANLAP/ODI, 2014).


Mosel and Holloway, ‘Dignity and Humanitarian Action in Displacement’


Affected populations responded with a mean score of 3.8 to a 2018 survey question asking if they felt treated with respect by aid providers. The maximum score possible was 5, with 3 being neutral. As such, scores above 3 are treated as positive. Ground Truth Solutions, ‘Grand Bargain: Field Perspectives 2018’, Briefing Note (Ground Truth Solutions and OECD, 2019).


The question in the survey asked aid recipients ‘Were you consulted by the aid group on what you needed prior to distribution?’ with the possible responses of ‘Yes; Partially; No’. As such, the type and quality of consultation experienced by aid recipients cannot be clearly determined from the responses.


Mosel and Holloway, ‘Dignity and Humanitarian Action in Displacement’.


Focus group discussion in Yemen


 Mosel and Holloway, ‘Dignity and Humanitarian Action in Displacement’.


Mosel and Holloway (Ibid); WFP, ‘WFP Evidence Summary Cash-Based Transfers Lessons from Evaluations’ (Rome: WFP, 2021); Taylor, Kreidler and Harvey, Global Cash Evaluation.


Focus group Lebanon; Mosel and Holloway, ‘Dignity and Humanitarian Action in Displacement’.


Focus group Yemen; K. Holloway and L. Fan, ‘Dignity and the Displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh “Ijjot Is a Huge Thing in This World”’ (London: HPG/ODI, 2018).


Focus group Lebanon; O. Lough et al., ‘Participation and Inclusion in the Rohingya Refugee Response in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. “We Never Speak First”’ (London: HPG/ODI, 2021).


The more negative responses on the SOHS aid recipient survey may be influenced by the high proportion of survey participants living in areas of active conflict.


M. Ascuntar, ‘Community First: The Key to Stopping the Ebola Epidemic’, Responding to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (London: HPN/ODI, 2020).


REACH, ‘Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) Findings’ (REACH/USAID, 2021).


Ground Truth Solutions, ‘Perception Survey of Aid Recipients in Somalia’ (Ground Truth Solutions, 2020).


The IASC Results Group 2 was tasked with improving collective accountability and inclusion across IASC members. It operated for three years and was replaced by a new IASC Task Force on AAP from April 2022.


Plan International, ‘Child-Friendly Feedback Mechanisms: Guide and Toolkit’ (United Kingdom: Plan International, 2018); C. Khan, ‘Accountability, Feedback & Complaints Mechanisms in Humanitarian Responses to Migration’ (Start Network, 2020); IRC, ‘Inclusive Client Responsiveness. Focus on People with Disabilities and Older People’, Toolbox (New York: International Rescue Committee (IRC), 2021).


Global key informant interview


OECD, ‘OECD Development Co-Operation Peer Reviews: Ireland 2020’ (Paris: OECD, 2020).


IRC, ‘Economic Recovery and Development at the International Rescue Committee’ (New York: International Rescue Committee (IRC), 2016).


T. Alcayna, ‘Ready to Change? Building Flexibility into the Triple Nexus’, Spotlight Study (London: ODI/ALNAP, 2019). See also footnote 182


For example, DRC. ‘Global COVID-19 Response. Final Report May-December 2020’. Copenhagen: Danish Refugee Council (DRC), 2021.; HAG and CARE. ‘Tropical Cyclone Gita Response Program Evaluation’. Humanitarian Advisory Group and Care, 2019.; Hanley, T, and et al. ‘Evaluation of WFP’s Capacity to Respond to Emergencies. Evaluation Report Vol I.’ Rome: WFP, 2019.; Mutsaka, B., A. Dlugosz, B. Gift Kanike, T. Harris-Sapp, and h. Juillard. ‘Real-Time Review of DEC’s Response to Cyclone Idai’. London: DEC, 2019.; Danida and UNHCR. ‘Joint Evaluation of the Integrated Solutions Model in and Arround Kalobeyei, Turkana, Kenya’. Copenhagen/Geneva: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark (Danida) and UNHCR, 2019.; Hanley, T., K. Ogwang, and C. Procter. ‘Evaluation of UNHCR Prevention and Response to SGBV in the Refugee Population in Lebanon (2016 - 2018)’. Geneva: UNHCR, 2018.


Global key informant interview; Christian Aid, ‘Accountability Assessment Rohingya Response Bangladesh’ (London: Christian Aid, 2018)


In 2018 this was 36%, in 2022 it is 33%


Only 41% of aid recipients across 6 countries said they thought humanitarian agencies took their opinions into account (Ground Truth Solutions, 2019).


Focus group discussion in Yemen


Focus groups in Bangladesh and Yemen; WFP, ‘WFP Evidence Summary Cash-based transfers Lessons from evaluations’, WFP, 2021.


Participation Revolution


 Danida and UNHCR, Integrated Solutions Model, 102–3; Global Key informant interviews.


Global key informant interviews


M. Lowcock, ‘What’s Wrong with the Humanitarian Aid System and How to Fix It - Remarks by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, at the Center for Global Development on Proposal for an Independent Commission for Voices in Crisis’, Press Release (online: OCHA, 22 April 2021).


OCHA, ‘Proposal: Piloting the Independent Commission for Voices in Crises (ICVIC)’ (Geneva: OCHA, 2021).


CHS Alliance, ‘CHS Alliance Response to Emergency Relief Coordinator’s Proposal on Independent Commission for Voices in Crisis (ICVIC)’, CHS Alliance, 2021.


 D. Hilhorst, ‘Aid Agencies Can’t Police Themselves. It’s Time for a Change’, The New Humanitarian, 2018.


M. Zarnegar Deloffre, ‘An Independent Commission for Voices in Crisis: Changing the Referee Instead of Changing the Game’ (London: HPN/ODI, 2021); CHS Alliance, ‘CHS Alliance Response to Emergency Relief Coordinator’s Proposal on Independent Commission for Voices in Crisis (ICVIC)’.