Case Study: Using the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) for Development Programme Interventions

9 December 2016

This case study illustrates how Women Support Association (WSA) applies the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) in development interventions targeting vulnerable communities, especially women, in Ethiopia. It demonstrates how WSA has contextualised the Nine Commitments of the CHS in its accountability framework.

Some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the development sector perceive the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) applies only to humanitarian response interventions for crisis-affected communities – perhaps because of the prominence of the word “humanitarian” in its title. However, the essence of transparency, accountability and people management can also be applied and demonstrated in development interventions by local, national and international NGOs. The Nine Commitments of the CHS reference the need for humanitarian responses to put communities and people affected by crises at the centre.

What about development interventions that likewise target vulnerable people or communities affected by crisis? The recipients of development interventions also need projects to be implemented in a timely manner. They equally deserve to get information about the objectives of the intervention, and to have the possibility to raise complaints if they consider that these objectives have not been achieved. When it comes to development programmes and projects, it is equally important to coordinate interventions, to keep learning and improving, to deploy well-managed and competent staff, and to manage resources effectively, efficiently and ethically. Thus we can see that the commitments of the CHS are as relevant in the development sector as they are in the humanitarian sector. Based on this realisation, Women Support Association (WSA) has been striving to address these issues within the framework of the CHS in its development programmes.

Established in 1995, WSA works to improve the social, economic, and physical wellbeing of vulnerable communities, especially women, in Ethiopia. In over 20 years WSA has demonstrated significant achievements on enhancing women’s social and economic capacity in rural and urban settings. Through working with communities, especially women and girls, WSA recognises the importance of being transparent and accountable to targeted communities. The ultimate goal of WSA is to narrow the gap between men and women, thereby bringing both genders on board for active participation and decision making in the fight against poverty. In the course of its interventions WSA found out that the CHS could play a substantial role in facilitating its development programmes.

To find out how WSA has contextualised the Nine Commitments of the CHS in its accountability framework, please read the full case study.