Accountability is key
ZOA is CHS certified since February 2020 and uses the CHS as standard on quality and accountability to put people in the center of ZOA’s projects. The Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) is a standard that is used in the humanitarian sector to assess and improve the quality and accountability, to reduce the risk of mistakes, abuse and corruption, and continuously improve our work – for the benefit the people we work for.
The CHS certification is an important recognition of the quality and accountability of our work – and a critical tool to assess our daily work. The certificate gives independent assurance of the quality and accountability of our work in responding to the needs of people in crisis areas.
Accountability is a general term for being accountable to different stakeholders such as donors, our constituency, our partners. Beneficiary accountability is more specifically the xcommitment to be accountable to beneficiaries and communities in our projects. It requires that organisations in their management, quality assurance and whole way of working take into account the views and priorities those who are affected by their work. This is very important in the humanitarian sector as there is a power imbalance between aid organisations and the people they work with. They often find themselves in vulnerable situations with limited means. For ZOA, being accountable to beneficiaries means structurally giving them the information they need to hold us to account. It also requires that our beneficiaries are able to participate in the projects as well as being able to give feedback and report a complaint in case something is not right. The CHS certification cycle will keep us on this process of continual learning and improving on quality and accountability.
ZOA is member of the CHS Alliance which is a global alliance of 150+ organisations that aims to strengthen accountability and to put people affected by crisis at the centre by implementing the CHS. Quality and accountability have always been at the heart of ZOA’s activities. In 2019, the independent auditors from HQAI – the certification body – assessed the quality and accountability of ZOA’s policies and processes and their implementation in practice against the CHS-standard. The audit involved document reviews, interviews with staff, partners, input of communities and beneficiaries, other stakeholders and direct observation at selected country project sites. In 2020, ZOA received CHS certification. The CHS certification is valid for four years provided that annual periodic checks confirm the continuing conformity with the requirements of the standard. The current CHS certificate is awarded for a four-year period and runs till February 2024.