May 11, 2016

Blog

Alex Jacobs at Plan International is working hard to make the World Humanitarian Summit a great leap forward in terms of accountability to affected people and community engagement. In this piece he outlines the challenges in landing this agenda as well as drawing attention to what is already showing promise on the ground, including Ground Truth Solutions‘ work in Nepal and Sierra Leone.  Read More
Something worth pushing in preparations for next year’s World Humanitarian Summit is a shift from the current ad hoc approach to designing accountability systems in emergencies to a standard whole-of-program model that spells out what needs to be done and provides a robust delivery vehicle. Providing this kind of support at the overarching program level complements the work of individual agencies and sectoral clusters as they get their act together on accountability to affected people,Read More
Coventry has a history of listening to people. During the Second World War, the people of Coventry wanted to voice their support for the Soviet Army during the Battle of Stalingrad, and their voice was heard. Coventry and Stalingrad were twinned, to promote mutual understandings and improve relationships. The practice of twinning has continued to this day, as has Coventry’s tradition of listening. In the 2015 Guardian University League Table, Coventry University sat at 27,Read More
This lead article was first published in Alliance magazine, as part of the June special feature – Beyond Accountability: Feedback as Transformation – co-edited by Keystone’s David Bonbright. A huge shift is happening in the social sector. Dennis Whittle traces it all the way back to the birth of democracy in Greece circa 594 BCE. The people are sovereign! In titling our special theme ‘Beyond accountability: feedback as transformation’ we are signalling that the longRead More
As 2013 comes to a close, I write to thank you for your interest in our work to advance Constituent Voice as a tool to solve important societal problems. Topics like performance management, real time data, continuous improvement and downward accountability may make most people’s eyes glaze over — but not yours! Thank you! 2013 was a break through year for Keystone. We are blessed with a geographically and thematically diverse group of clients andRead More
It is inconceivable today that a disaster like Typhoon Haiyan could hit without a rush to deploy specialist accountability staff and the issuance of guidance about how to include beneficiaries in the way the relief program is designed. This is  progress but it is premature to claim victory. Rather, we need to make sure the humanitarian horse actually drinks the water of beneficiary accountability. Rigorous standards and smart methodologies are not enough on their own.Read More
There is a growing understanding that constituent feedback is crucial to development work. The terms “feedback” and “listening” now permeate our collective discussions, so much so that Lucy Bernholz has made “Constituent Feedback” one of the top buzzwords in her recently published Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2014. As Lucy notes, however, feedback is not always simple. Well, let me refine that point. Some aspects of feedback are relatively easy; some commonly require someRead More
There are few people who cast as long a shadow over humanitarian relief as Fred Cuny, a larger than life Texan who served in practically every humanitarian operation from Biafra in 1967 until his kidnapping and murder in Chechnya in 1995 when he was just 51. A couple of weeks ago I took part in an event at American University in Washington DC that looked at the legacy and relevance of this erstwhile master ofRead More
Yesterday saw the the launch of Lucy Bernholz’s Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2014. The Blueprint is an annual industry forecast written by leading philanthropy scholar Lucy Bernholz about the social economy — private capital used for public good. In her fifth annual industry forecast, Lucy uses both the American and European landscapes to discuss the new “digital civil society” and the challenges and opportunities that arise from it. Keystone’s work is cited underRead More
World Bank presidents are a lucky lot. I am always impressed how their diligent staff pick-up their half-formed ideas and work them up into something really robust. I hope they know that heads of other international bureaucracies are not so fortunate. In any event, the Bank is in the grip of just such a convulsion of creative energy after the new president Jim Kim announced that citizen engagement was the name of his game. InRead More