Introducing the Revised CHCF in Dhaka and Getting Valuable Feedback

4 May 2017
Gemma Prescott

by Gemma Prescott

Former CHCF Project Manager at the CHS Alliance

The CHCF project team attended the DEPP National Learning Conference in Dhaka where the revised CHCF was shared for inputs. Gemma gives an overview of the visit.

We have now completed our visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh where we attended the ‘DEPP National Learning Conference, Bangladesh’ on 18-19 April @DEPPLearning run at the main BRAC Centre.

The successful day had 60 participants representing nearly 30 organisations. The aim of the conference was to share learnings from DEPP projects and hear from other groups on what they had learnt from disaster response activity in the Bangladesh including the Department of Disaster Management, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and local organisations. We were keen to hear what challenges the groups were facing and see what role the CHCF could play in this current landscape. Throughout the day many representatives spoke about the need to provide appropriate capacity building opportunities for their staff in line with what skills needing enhancing. We, therefore, started a conversation on using the CHCF to conduct skills gap analysis which generated interest.

A dedicated afternoon session was run on the following day for participants to be introduced further to the CHCF and understand how it can benefit their organisations and methods of people management. Draft Bangla versions of the framework were shared, feedback is being taken to make sure meanings are not lost in translation, for instance, there is no word in Bangla for competency. Reflecting on this, we need to view the translation of the framework as a longer process involving native speakers from both the sector and the HR profession to ensure the quality and successful use of the framework.

We were made aware of ongoing recruitment issues in Dhaka, with a booming telecoms and banking industry. It was highlighted that finding talent is becoming increasingly difficult with attractive salaries on offer in these industries. Using competency based recruitment practices could help with this issue. Highlighting competencies required for the post in the job profile and questioning on these areas at interview will give the manager a realistic idea of the candidate’s capability regardless of qualifications. It will also inform of their ability to perform overall in the sector against globally agreed competency domains, whilst at the same time indicating areas to be developed.

On reflection we found the use of HR competencies in Bangladesh is low. However, the issues facing the NGOs we spoke with suggest that the competencies could be a very useful tool to assist in better people management.

We realised we need to better showcase where the CHCF have been successfully used in other organisations to help with buy-in from HR staff and managers. We are asking for a time commitment from them and for this to happen they need to be convinced of its returns.

We found some of the most enthusiastic supporters and champions of the CHCF were the ‘graduated’ Talent Development Trainees who have been well accustomed to the framework through their traineeships and feel it has a place in all humanitarian operations. We will look to involve these contacts further when we start to promote the framework in the next countries (Philippines, Jordan, DRC and Kenya).

One thing that came out clearly during the trip were common themes that link the projects together including capacity building of national and local staff and increasing operational effectiveness. From ‘shifting the power’, Shongjog, Talent Development Trainees in BRAC to Suman Islam and his new Humanitarian Leadership Academy team there are many crossovers in the work taking place. It highlighted to us the importance of understanding each other’s activity and looking for synergies and opportunities for example jointly run capacity building schemes and using the CHCF as a basis for this and other staff development.

Following on from this training, we think it very likely a further visit to Bangladesh will take place in July to offer advanced technical support to those organisations that have stated interest in developing their HR practices in line with the CHCF. We take this opportunity to invite other local organisations to contact us if they want extra support during our trip in July.

Thanks to everyone we met in Dhaka, the level of hospitality and enthusiasm for the CHCF was amazing. Special thanks to Shahida Arif @ACF and Shahana Shayat @SavetheChildren, Bangladesh for both their enthusiasm and practical support during our trip. Please email myself, Gemma Prescott, on if you would like to get in touch with us for more information about the CHCF

Download the Core Humanitarian Competency Framework here