Board elections 2018

To help you make an informed choice at next Board Elections (3-7 December 2018), candidates have accepted to respond to two questions. Please see what they have to say about the Alliance’s future and their contribution to its success. Don’t forget to cast your vote – voting instructions will be sent in the following days to the voting representatives.


Mark Adams, SCIAF, UK

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

The CHS Alliance has achieved a great deal in developing and promoting the CHS, supporting compliance through self-assessment and accreditation, and in the last year assisting agencies to address PSEA and safeguarding issues. 

I believe these three areas should continue to be priorities for the coming three years. Consolidating progress to date by supporting members to implement the Standard and meet assessment and accreditation requirements is as important as gaining new members and increasing awareness and support across the sector.

Promoting the standard will be achieved through a mixture of members demonstrating high levels of accountability, with participants and beneficiaries at the centre of their work, and continued marketing of the Standard.

Safeguarding will remain a priority for years to come. The CHS has played a valuable role in making PSEA standards and documentation available to members, and this will continue to be an important task.

In addition, in the context of localisation, the CHS Alliance needs to consider what the roll out of the Standard means for organisations in the global south, and how to encourage a dialogue with them about the implications of membership for our Southern partners, and how they can be supported to meet the requirements.

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

Over the next 12 months I will be involved in the self-assessment of my own organisation for the CHS standard. I am also working with a range of partners in Asia, Latin America and Africa to develop their own accountability and safeguarding systems. This gives me an insight into the reality of implementing the Standard and accountability and safeguarding mechanisms as an INGO and as a national NGO.

Combined with my experience of 25 years working with INGOs in the UK and overseas, I feel I can bring valuable experience and insights to the governance of the CHS alliance over the next three years. My experience of strategic management of INGOs gives me a good basis for contributing at the governance level. I will play an active role in the Board, contributing to its governance and strategic choices, and promoting the CHS standard publicly. I will listen and learn, and bring to the discussion the insights and comments that I gather from experience with self-assessment and the experience of Southern Partners, as well as a commitment to putting participants and beneficiaries at the centre of our work


Tigist Alebachew, New Millenium Hope Development Organization, Ethiopia

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

For the next three years, while I stand with CHS alliances experience in quality, accountability and people management, it was set up in response to requests from humanitarian actors for support on quality, accountability and people management initiatives, Will scope winning more and more.

I strongly believe that for next three years CHS ALLIANCES will continue achieving the objective of the organization with different enhancements and adding value. With the aim of CHS Alliance will enhance the effectiveness and impact of assistance for people and communities vulnerable to risk and affected by disaster, conflict or poverty, by strengthening the capacity of inpiduals and organizations and systems to deliver quality and responsible assistance.

There by also Achieving and Managing the development, promotion and maintenance of the Core Humanitarian Standard monitoring, reporting and verification scheme, Leading improvements in people management and engagement, Collecting and using evidence to influence policy and practice at local, national, regional and international level, Stimulating and facilitating learning, continuous improvement and innovation to contribute to organizational and operational effectiveness. So I expect more mission accomplishment on the next three years in the plat form of adding values.

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

If I get the chance one thing is clear, with consideration of the goal and objective of CHS Alliances .I Will contribute my own involvement in providing inputs for continuity and govern the organization by broad policy and organizations, well understanding and adding some standards bearing in mind of my past experience trough determine varies approaches, diplomacies related the mission of CHS Alliances with those to be pursued, and decide the means to implement.

It’s know that CHS alliances is working with the focus of the alliance’s work will be the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS). I want to ensure in handling different burdens which aims to improve how humanitarian work is delivered and held accountable this will continue strongly with this next three years and also accomplishing with visions and mission of CHS alliance.

Well understanding and acquire knowledges the company's organizational structure and competency are appropriate for implementing the chosen strategies, ensure for a proper purpose that is in maintenance, doing in good faith in what I honestly believe to be the best interests of the company, and not for any collateral purpose and with due skill and care, clarifying board and management responsibilities, Planning and managing board and board committee meetings, review and evaluate present and future opportunities, develop the effectiveness of the board, analyzing review meetings.


William Anderson, Medair, Switzerland

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

The CHS Alliance must remain resolutely focused on its mission to work on behalf of people and communities vulnerable to risk and affected by disaster, conflict or poverty.  Enhancing quality assistance by aid agencies and promoting the ability of these same organisations to be held to account for their actions is central to the CHS Alliance sustainability in the coming three years.  Competing, powerful agendas could threaten the CHS Alliance to veer off-course and become overly concerned about other actors in the sector rather than the crisis-affected communities themselves as primary stakeholder.  Numerous organisations and groups including NGOs not in the CHS Alliance, local actors, UN agencies, private sector are, to an extent, threatened by a strong CHS Alliance if, for example, they are excluded or judged in any way inferior.  Funding is at the core of these issues.  Lessons learned from the refugee camps of Goma, the remote coastal villages of Sri Lanka and the urban neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince, all demanded aid agencies to be increasingly professional and never self-serving.  Come what may, if the CHS Alliances’ four Strategic Objectives continue to be focused and driven by these lessons, then it will be increasingly relevant to crisis-affected communities and progressively more influential in this sector during the next three years. 

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

In January next year I will be appointed Medair’s Quality and Innovation Director.  My role will be to oversee a global portfolio of nearly USD90mn. of humanitarian programming with a focus on high quality and accountability and will be Medair’s representative to the CHS Alliance.  With my passion for appropriate, effective and safe humanitarian operations in fragile States combined with my twenty years of experience in the sector, if selected to the Board I would be an advocate for the CHS Alliance primary stakeholders, as well as the growing membership of the CHS Alliance. I have gained significant knowledge and expertise in the design and implementation of robust structures, systems, processes and policies and would engagingly bring this to bear as a Board member if selected, and as appropriate also on a Board Committee.  I have worked for five different aid agencies, four of which are CHS Alliance members, have been a Board member of a national NGO in Africa and with this knowledge of different member’s needs would seek to ensure fair representation and equal voice when participating at Board meetings and representing the CHS Alliance as a whole.


Fabian Böckler, Plan International, Nigeria

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

  • Ensuring that the specific needs of girls and in particular adolescent girls are being taken into account at all stages of the response, including their specific protection needs as well as their capacities, skills and knowledge. This includes that they are aware of their specific rights and entitlements, access to relevant information including information on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and opportunities to influence the response as laid out in the Compact on Young People in Humanitarian Action.
  • Putting the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse at the centre of each humanitarian response. This requires appropriate and safe inter-agency accountability frameworks to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by staff upholding the Do No Harm principle. In addition, a main focus should lie on Child Protection mainstreaming across all sectors and the promotion of the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies.

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

  • Plan International has built a specific expertise to work with adolescent girls in crisis and has designed its global strategy 2017-2022 to advance gender equality and girls’ rights. My experience in leading the regional response to the crisis in the Lake Chad Basin, which is primarily a protection crisis, can support the CHS Alliance and its community of practise to increase the visibility of the specific needs of girls, in particular adolescent girls. Humanitarian programming can play a key role in tackling root causes that negatively affect gender equality by removing the barriers that keep girls from achieving their full potential and exercising their rights.
  • Plan International will be co-leading the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action from January 2019 and is therefore well-positioned to influence the global child protection agenda. As a key member of the Keeping Children Safe Coalition we are one of the leading international agencies in terms of child safeguarding. The CHS Alliance would benefit from Plan International’s leadership in the development of standards and guidelines on child protection, child safeguarding and its dissemination including capacity-building of local actors and community protection structures. Additionally, in my role as Co-chair of the Advocacy Working Group of the Nigeria INGO Forum and my involvement in advocacy work on the Lake Chad Crisis at national, regional and global level, I would be well-placed to ensure that the voices and realities of adolescent girls in the Lake Chad Basin are integrated into global discussions and informing global policies.

Allan, A. Calma, Lutheran World Federation, Switzerland

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

The evaluation report released in October provides solid recommendations on what could be main areas of focus for the Alliance and should be reflected upon and discussed in detail. Based on that report and my long engagement with HAP and CHS, the following are what I propose as key focus areas in the next three years:

  • Strengthened Membership. We need to look internally at strengthening our membership base. In discussion with members, a key concern has always been the value addition of membership and the Alliance need to be able to clearly identify and share this both to existing members and to encourage non-members to join. Identifying services and support members need and finding ways to provide this within our resources could be a step forward. The evaluation provided statistics and we need to know why 66 members left and address them accordingly.
  • Improved accessibility of the Standard. Linked to the first point, there is a need to uphold our commitment in ensuring that we don’t just promote services but in fact, work on ensuring it benefits the affected population. Working on further simplifying processes and tools for greater uptake not just amongst NGOs but also within the communities we serve and other stakeholders we deal with.
  • CHSA as a catalyst and enabler. We have made advances in our domain of influence since its creation (e.g. Sphere Revision, IASC AAP/PSEA). The new leadership has so far shown that we can go further and expand our sphere of influence by ensuring we are at the table whenever needed and we need to support that. The recent efforts to revise the PSEA Index is a good move to ensure relevance of the standard but the CHS is more than just PSEA and we need to make sure equal attention is given to the other aspects of the Standard.
  • Strengthened linkage with HQAI. As holders and promoters of the Standard, I would like to see more coordinated and collaborative efforts between the CHS Alliance and HQAI. Working more closely together can only be beneficial in ensuring wider appreciation and internalization of the CHS. 

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

I will continue to share ideas and learning from my extensive experience both at the ground and headquarter level on the focus areas above. LWF, with its wide donor base and operational nature in most of the programs, can further amplify messaging and provide unique perspectives to discussions at hand.


Affan Cheema, Islamic Relief Worldwide, UK

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years? 

I am pleased to be able to highlight where I think CHS Alliance should focus in the coming years. I feel that the Alliance’s spirit which was built on consolidation of standards, and quality interventions by civil society which ultimately creates great accountability towards communities must be consolidated and further strengthened. In that context, if elected I think CHS should focus on the following:

  • The process of standards coming together under the ‘Humanitarian standards Partnership’ is important and must be further strengthened. The greater the alignment, the greater the voices, the greater potential impact.
  • Strengthening the guidance processes and learning around Core Humanitarian standards is important. It’s now been going for a number of years and we need to evaluate its benefit, roll out and the accompanying certification processes. It’s important it remains relevant for the continuing challenges that the sector faces for example safeguarding and the environment. In that context it’s critical that CHS talks to the whole sector, not just humanitarian, we need to break out of the humanitarian bubble and show its relevant for all. This must also transcend geographic boundaries north, south, east and west. In this context leadership is important and I feel CHS Alliance should identify key aspects that the Alliance will help lead going forward eg use of technology for accountability
  • Within all of the above we must remember that the entity must remain viable from a governance aspect, and the board must remain focused on asking robust questions around our finances, vision and persity.

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

I believe I can contribute to this as:

  • I am part of a family of agencies that works across 40+ countries with a £100+ million budget bringing with it a range of voices and strong element of persity
  • I have been part of the CHS Alliance journey from its inception and have led IRW through CHS certification. This has enabled me to get a very good understanding of the benefits and indeed challenges that CHS presents. Now is the time to use that experience and the experience of the IRW family to strengthen the Alliance. One of the key learnings I bring to the table is how IRW has integrated the standards into our core quality systems.
  • I sit on two external boards so have great experience of how to govern at a board level

Irfan Khan, Muslim Hands UK, UK

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

I believe the Alliance has come a long way in helping both the affected people and organizations to uphold CHS in their day to day interactions. That said, there is still much to do in streamlining developmental and emergency response interventions with the spirit of CHS at the time of disaster and for the benefit of those suffering from persistent poverty and conflict. To this end, I recommend the following:

  • Sensitise and introduce local NGOs in the global south with CHS and help them advocate for CHs objectives within local communities and governments. This can be done through peer to peer collaboration and led by those already CHS certified/assessed.  
  • Enhance collaboration with the UN agencies namely UNDP, UNHCR, UNFAO and UNEP to ensure their country level, multi-year programming e.g. Country Programme Documents (CPDs) and CPAPs reflect CHS objectives
  • Produce and disseminate a multi-year report to all partners and CHS affiliates. This report should reflect the contribution of CHS in effective programming, enhancement of programmatic objectives and most importantly, the resultant improvements in the day to day lives of the people affected by disaster, poverty and conflict 

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

I am confident that my work experience, knowledge of the sectoral and contextual considerations and professional network will allow me to contribute CHS vision and objective set forth.  Currently, I am the Director of Humanitarian and International Partnership at Muslim Hands. I begun my career by working at the grass root level organization and worked my way up to reach the senior executive level at national and global level. I directly managed and regularly interact with over 100 partners in over 44 countries. I also am an active member of Muslim Charity Forum in the UK, body responsible for coordination of the Muslim charity and philanthropic organizations. All these will enable me to be serve as catalyst in promoting CHS objectives, sensitising partners on the need and benefits of CHS

As a member of the CHS Board I envision that I can contribute in attaining the proposed lines of effort and the CHS objectives set forth by:

  • Contributing in the design and rolling out CHS objectives into programming framework of local NGOs in the global south
  • Provide policy advice on engaging with the UN specialised agencies and serve as member task force to negotiate CHS integration in the UN programming
  • Facilitate data collection through network of professionals with the faith based humanitarian actors specially the Muslim Charities based in and outside the UK 

Overall, I will contribute in promotion and promulgation of CHS vision and objectives by providing policy advice, engaging with partners and professional network and advocate for integration of CHS into programming at local, national and global level programming.


Bob Kitchen, International Rescue Committee, USA

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

We should challenge ourselves as an Alliance to amplify the voices of the crisis affected populations from the outset.  This must involve a major rethink of how self-assessments and third-party audits are conducted so that we build in real space for the ideas and expectations of affected people.  At the moment the requirement to consult with affected populations, and the underlying methodology, speaks to ticking boxes more than genuine accountability and engagement; where questions are posed that are technical and complex, where the format places communities in the uncomfortable position of ‘biting the hand that feeds them’, and where our inquiry leaves very little space for community inputs that fall outside CHS’ pre-defined rubric.  This effort is going to take in-depth thinking to move us past verifying our own institutional belief that we’re accountable, to having open conversations about community expectations and how we’re fulfilling them.  As organizations established to serve others, we have to change our outreach to affected communities from simply validating our findings, through to where community prioritization and feedback is our starting point for improvement and action.

At a time when our collective mission of providing aid to crisis affected populations is under fire around the world, the CHS Alliance must continue to mobilize more of the humanitarian community to invest in the CHS process; this applies particularly to US based NGOs and Donors.  The effort should apply both to breaking down barriers to entry through reducing complexity and cost; while at the same time building the profile of the Common Humanitarian Standards as the most important threshold against which quality and accountability is measured across the humanitarian community.  Building on the strong momentum within European actors, CHS Alliance leadership must work to support and encourage US based organizations and donors to join in and speak up, so as to cement CHS as the single standard against which the entire community delivers. 

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

If elected to the CHS Board I am excited to bring the IRC’s convening influence to bear in mobilizing US based organizations and donors to re-commit to the CHS agenda.  With extensive experience representing organizations, mobilizing NGO consortia and persuading US donors, I feel uniquely placed to partner with CHS leadership to continue efforts to socialize and showcase the importance of the CHS. 


Alexandra Levitis, World Vision International, Italy 

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

Humanitarian agencies will need to navigate a changing humanitarian context in the years ahead while also being open to increased scrutiny around the commitments outlined in the CHS standard.  The CHS Alliance has the opportunity to guide the humanitarian community by focusing on the following areas. 

Strengthening foundations: The merger of People in Aid and HAP brings together in the CHS Alliance two distinct areas critical to the quality of humanitarian programmes - people and quality systems/processes.  The CHS Alliance must strengthen its foundations in addressing the most fundamental issues outlined in the Standard and laying the foundation for improved practice. 

The most critical fundamental issues the CHS Alliance can work with others to lead are:

Safeguarding and PSEA including building on its strong foundations of investigations and addressing the important organisational change issues that will ensure policies are translated into practice.  The impact of the merger can be most profound in providing leadership on safeguarding as it brings together sectors and organisational units that have traditionally championed PSEA.

Re-building itself as a strong coordinator and organizational mentor of implementing agencies especially within humanitarian crises; this would include offering sector-wide and tailored training, mentoring and serving as a vehicle for sharing learning 

Building a verification scheme that will uphold the CHS Standard across the perse range of humanitarian actors

Leading in new areas: The Grand Bargain - specifically the growth of cash and voucher-based programming and localization - digital transformation, and the potential implications of humanitarian/development/peace building nexus discussions will change traditional approaches to humanitarian assistance.  How CHS commitments are implemented will therefore also need to address these new challenges.  

For example, the impact of digital transformation on beneficiaries can be profound with data privacy and protection becoming one of most critical humanitarian accountability issues of our day.  The CHS Alliance can play a leading role in bringing together the digital and MEAL communities to define agency obligations in this important area.  Discussions on digital identity and the nexus are opening up new ways and spaces on how we place the beneficiary at the center of our work and break down artificial silos.  The CHS can choose 2 or 3 'new' areas where it will explore new ways of working with implementing agencies, donors, beneficiaries and the private sector. 

Advocating for system-wide change: The whole humanitarian system must support the implementation of the CHS Standard. Agencies must commit to implementing the standard, donors to fund costs associated with its implementation and verification.  Sector-wide initiatives such as the Grand Bargain and the nexus should be founded on putting people at the center to deliver the best and most flexible assistance for and with them.  The CHS Alliance can play a key advocacy role with this perse range of humanitarian actors, addressing the role that each actor must play to ensure the CHS Standards is met across every humanitarian agency and in every crisis. 

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

If elected to the CHS board, I would bring both my professional experience in implementing quality and accountability and staff development programmes at field and global levels as well as the full range, persity and footprint of the organisation I represent, World Vision.  I would not only help to build and share resources for good practice but also seek to actively engage the CHS Alliance in new areas such as digital accountability which is part of my direct responsibility in World Vision.  As a board member, I would support my organization's engagement in sector wide advocacy to support the objectives of the Alliance.


Carol Morgan, Concern Worldwide, Ireland

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

As a sector we have faced a number of challenges in the last few years including greater scrutiny by an increasingly discerning public. A recent survey showed that international aid agencies are the least trusted in the charity sector. The CHS Alliance could be key to rebuild that trust and improve how the sector is understood and portrayed to the public.  First and foremost is greater accountability to the communities we work with and improved programme quality therefore strengthening the peer to peer mentoring system to increase the application of the standard on the ground should be a central priority.

Evidence of the application of the standard is critical and CHS Alliance can be a greater catalyst for showcasing good practice- that is the core of what the CHS Alliance must do, to ensure effective, impactful and accountable humanitarian response.

Maintaining the initial momentum that existed when the CHS was being developed is essential, and this energy needs to be applied to the most relevant issues of today. The CHS Alliance has the opportunity to play a leadership role in the current drive towards greater safeguarding and overall accountability in humanitarian response.

Ultimately one of the greatest challenges is for CHS to have increased relevance at local level and therefore there is a need to focus on increasing membership with representation from all regions. 

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

At an organisational level, I would draw on Concern’s deep commitment to the CHS, leveraging Concern’s wider network of influence through our engagement on international forums; BOND, DEC, IASC, Dochas, Interaction, VOICE, Sphere, county level HCTs and cluster coordination, as well as our engagement with high level working groups on safeguarding established by DFID, to promote the priorities of CHS going forward.

As a founding member of Alliance 2015, Concern would commit to promoting and strengthening the engagement of all members and their national partners across the 90 operation a countries. At the same time promoting CHS at the EU policy level through the Alliance office in Brussels.

 Taking the commitments from the World Humanitarian Summit, I would utilise our on the ground presence in 24 countries to link in to national NGOs forums to promote the CHS and expand membership and coverage.  At an inpidual level I would bring commitment and passion for the work we all do on the ground on a daily basis and would use my experience to influence how the sector is understood and portrayed and also influence key policy makers and stakeholders.


Makena Mwobobia, ActionAid International, Kenya

What do you think the CHS Alliance’s main areas of focus should be over the next 3 years?

CHS Alliance should focus on supporting localisation/Shifting the Power to achieve locally led humanitarian responses that will contribute to an improved global humanitarian system that delivers with effectiveness and increased accountability to people affected by crisis. CHS should also create innovative ways where more local organisations can be supported to be CHS verified. This presents CHS an opportunity to have local perspectives feed into their global processes, contributing to changes within the humanitarian system directly from the local organisations. 

CHS should also focus on promoting a stronger women’s leadership in humanitarian response; women pay the highest price of the impact of disasters and must play a key role as change agents and in decision making in order to shift unequal gender power relations. Women are faced with a world that faces the dangers of irreversible climate change and environmental destruction. CHS can help ensure they include the perspectives of women and support their active engagement and transformative leadership within the system.

Safeguarding is the over-arching principle in protecting the rights of people and more so in humanitarian response where vulnerabilities increase; CHS should  ensure organizations  build  a culture that detects and protects communities  from sexual exploitation and abuse; the key focus being  policies are developed and implemented and that comprehensive systems for escalating and managing concerns is active and in place and that organisations too should have in place complaints handling mechanisms that are resourced for response and linking to the law enforcement as needed and that effective governance and accountability standards, with the boards holding ultimate responsibility for safeguarding are in place.

How would you contribute to the CHS Alliance achieving these?

AA’s programming is rooted in local communities and I bring their voices and perspectives to CHS both in learning and in developing knowledge from these experiences

AA’s humanitarian signature anchored on Accountability, Shifting the Power and Women’s Leadership helps me to bring my experiences guided by our Human Rights Based Approach.  This approach has enriched my understanding of inequalities that promotes my knowledge of what is needed for change in humanitarian response.

Our perse and extensive experience in women’s leadership in humanitarian response has been a key resource in our work and I will bring these experiences to CHS to support ways for local organisations in supporting women leadership.