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How can we put people at the centre of the World Humanitarian Summit?


By Judith F. Greenwood 16/05/2016
Judith, an Irish national, joined the CHS Alliance as Executive Director in August 2015. She has over three decades experience in the humanitarian sector.

Many of us who have the opportunity to attend the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul maybe be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available: key messages, core commitments, key reports, side events, Special Sessions, High Level Roundtables etc. Like you, I want to be prepared for the WHS and make the most of this unique opportunity that we all have to make a positive difference to the lives and dignity of people affected by crisis.


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Less paper, more (better) aid


By David Loquercio 10/05/2016
Head of Policy, Advocacy & Learning at the CHS Alliance

The World Humanitarian Summit takes place in less than two weeks. The so-called “grand bargain” that aims to transform the humanitarian system through harmonised reporting, has been presented by some stakeholders as the most concrete set of actions due to come out of Istanbul. David Loquercio argues that we need to ensure that these efforts to harmonise reporting do not end at Istanbul and that the CHS can be used as a tool for harmonisation.


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What can we do to really improve staff care of aid workers?


By Alessandra Pigni 09/05/2016

Alessandra Pigni is a licensed psychologist and researcher. She has served with MSF, done extensive work on staff care in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey and has been a visiting research fellow at Oxford University. She shares tips and reflections on burnout prevention in her blog www.mindfulnext.org and on Twitter @mindfulnext.


Now that Steve Dennis’ case against the Norwegian Refugee Council no longer makes headlines, we can begin to address what caring for staff really means, beyond “duty of care” policies and guidelines. Because the truth is, the vast majority of humanitarian agencies have improved.


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Haiti’s champions of the CHS: Keeping people at the centre with communication, participation and feedback


By Genevieve Cyvoct 27/04/2016
Genevieve is the Senior Capacity Development Officer at the CHS Alliance.

One of the most pressing questions from participants at a recent training workshop on the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) in Haiti was, how do we to explain the CHS to the communities we work with? Communities and people affected by crisis are at the centre of the CHS and should always be central to any decisions we make on humanitarian or development action.


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Human Resources (HR) in the developing market – are we doing enough to educate our staff?


By Bianca Valencia 12/04/2016
Bianca Valencia is the Training Programme Services Manager at Birches Group. She has extensive experience working with INGOs and development organisations through Birches Group salary surveys and training workshop programme.

Bianca Valencia, Training Programme Services Manager at Birches Group, regularly works with HR managers all over the world. In this blog she discusses the issues they face in their work, and the importance of ensuring HR staff are well trained.


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Learn how to conduct an investigation into allegations of misconduct by aid workers


By Emily Tullock 06/04/2016
Emily Tullock is the Communications Officer at the CHS Alliance.

What would you do if you were called on to conduct an investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) made about staff or volunteers at your organisation? Unfortunately, we know that incidences of SEA, fraud and corruption by aid workers occur and, consequently, must be investigated.


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Now live - transforming surge capacity online platform


By Justine Tordoff 29/03/2016
Justine has worked in the humanitarian and development sector for over 18 years, including 11 years with Oxfam GB and six years with RedR UK. She has a HR specialist background and has also worked as a country director in the UK, Africa and Asia. She is now an independent consultant for the sector, and is working with the CHS Alliance on the Transforming Surge Capacity Project.

The CHS Alliance is pleased to be part of an exciting project as part of the Start Network, looking to transform ways in which the humanitarian sector undertakes surge responses. As part of this project, a new online interactive HR platform has been launched, which is intended to help HR and other humanitarian staff share good practices and learn from each other when undertaking surge responses.


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How do you manage staff misconduct overseas?


By Verity Stiff 18/03/2016
Verity is the Head of People & Organisational Development at the CHS Alliance. She has worked in several countries, primarily in Africa and the Middle East, including those going through conflict and high-risk situations.

I recently joined a group of professionals working with staff deployed internationally at the fourth conference on duty of care: protecting workers and students overseas. How would you manage a staff member overseas who refused to attend daily compulsory security briefings? This was the scenario I put to the two sessions I chaired on managing misconduct overseas.


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Revising the core humanitarian competencies framework - your feedback needed


By Uma Narayanan 29/02/2016
Uma Narayanan, a Kuala Lumpur based consultant works with clients to help sharpen their organisational effectiveness in aspects of human resources (HR), organisational development (OD) and accountability.

Uma Narayanan is the project consultant working on revising the core humanitarian competencies framework. In this blog she talks about the revision process and how you can get involved.


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Ten psychological tactics for avoiding accountability and how to address them


By Kelly O'Donnell 24/02/2016
Kelly O’Donnell (PsyD) is a consulting psychologist and CEO of Member Care Associates.

In this blog Kelly O'Donnell explores psychological perspectives on what helps and hinders good practice for accountability. Cognitive dissonance is one of the most relevant concepts from social psychology that can help us “do accountability well” and hopefully minimise our propensity to prevarication when it comes to accountability.


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Eleven ways to transform surge capacity in the humanitarian sector


By Maduri Moutou 22/02/2016

The CHS Alliance is part of an exciting project with one ambition – improving the capacity of humanitarian agencies to scale up resources in emergency response. Two seminal reports on transforming surge capacity and the state of surge highlighted 11 key findings which CHS Alliance's Maduri Moutou shared in Bangkok in January 2016.


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Do you need to throw out your performance management system?


By Emily Tullock 18/02/2016
Emily Tullock is the Communications Officer at the CHS Alliance.

How do you measure performance management in your organisation? Does your performance management system take into account the modern workplace realities of part-timers, those working from home, checking email in the evenings, and juggling family commitments?


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How has the humanitarian sector’s awareness of staff care evolved?


By Maduri Moutou 08/02/2016
Senior People Capacity and Development Manager

Over 20 years ago, the research report “Room for Improvement: The Management and Support of Relief Workers” started a change in the way organisations and staff work together in the humanitarian and development sector. The question today is, are the initial findings of the paper still relevant?


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Mindfulness and Wellbeing: A Shift of Emphasis from Treatment to Prevention


By Hitendra Solanki 09/12/2015
Mindfulness and Wellbeing Adviser for Action Against Hunger UK and the Start Network.

In recent years, there has been an awareness of mindfulness-based approaches to stress reduction, along with evidence on its benefits towards supporting personal and organisational wellbeing. In the paper, Mindfulness and Wellbeing, released today, Hitendra Solanki, explores the current wellbeing support available to aid workers and examines the concept of mindfulness, and in particular, mindfulness-based approaches. He discusses the paper in this blog post.


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Staff care: why we should all care about mental health


By Emmanuelle Lacroix 08/12/2015
People, Capacity and Development Manager

Organisational duty of care and the need to support aid workers’ mental health has hit the news recently, helping to bring attention to these key issues. Moving past the headlines, our People, Capacity and Development Manager, Em Lacroix, explores what it means for the sector, its agencies and its workforce.


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How aid workers can become champions of accountability


By Nick Van Praag 03/12/2015
Nick van Praag directs Ground Truth Solutions, a programme of Keystone Accountability that focuses on accountability to affected people. His career spans humanitarian and development work at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Aga Khan Development Network, and the World Bank.

One has to sympathise with humanitarian staff. The majority are keen to do their best to help people in need. The places they work are often difficult and increasingly dangerous, and there is little stability or job security. Expectations and demands on them are high.


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Evidence on corruption and humanitarian aid


By Paul Harvey 02/12/2015
Paul Harvey is a partner with Humanitarian Outcomes, a consulting firm providing research evidence and policy advice to inform better humanitarian aid. Prior to that he was with the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI and an aid worker for different NGOs in places including Sierra Leone, Somalia and Kosovo.

Corruption in humanitarian action remains an under-researched issue. Humanitarian aid agencies devote significant time, energy and resources to internal efforts to combat corruption but remain reluctant to openly discuss and share learning due to fears that talking about corruption could undermine public support for aid in donor countries.


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The challenge for Syria and beyond - can we investigate sexual exploitation and abuse in remotely managed programmes?


By Lucy Heaven Taylor 23/11/2015
Lucy Heaven Taylor is an accountability and PSEA specialist with 17 experience in the sector. She advises and supports a range of NGO and UN clients such as Oxfam, World Vision and the CHS Alliance at Head Office and field level. Her PSEA experience includes advising on strategy, conducting investigations, and training on prevention and investigations. She leads the CHS Alliance’s Investigating Complaints of SEA training in a range of global locations.

CHS Alliance workshops on Investigating Complaints of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse always provide an opportunity to discuss current issues affecting participants. At one in Istanbul recently, one question kept coming up – how can we respond to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) in remotely managed programmes?


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Making pay fair in the humanitarian and development sector


By Dr Ishbel McWha-Hermann 20/11/2015
Ishbel McWha-Hermann is an Early Career Fellow in International Human Resource Management at the University of Edinburgh Business School. Her research focuses on fairness within the international aid sector, and builds on her previous experience working with NGOs while living in India and Cambodia.

Fairness is something all of us working in this sector think about and deal with on an everyday basis. We work to help our communities confront the inherent inequities they face. What we sometimes don’t think about are the inequities that can exist within our own organisations.


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