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Case studies for ICVA's 2019 Impact Report

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Short summary of the case study:

ICVA’s Humanitarian Financing work advocates to ensure funding can flow as effectively as possible to meet the needs of populations affected by crisis, as well as supporting better access to humanitarian financing for NGOs. Resourcing humanitarian action is one of the key issues for NGOs and all other actors involved in providing humanitarian assistance. As a network ICVA collectively promotes adequate, accessible, transparent, principled and sustainable resourcing for humanitarian action. ICVA understands that NGOs need flexibility to respond to humanitarian crises and to have access to timely, predictable, earmarked or unearmarked funding that has realistic conditions and reporting requirements.

Following the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the Grand Bargain, nine Workstreams and 51 commitments were developed. Workstream 9, “Harmonise and simplify reporting requirements”, contains three commitments:

  • Simplify and harmonise reporting requirements by the end of 2018 by reducing its volume, jointly deciding on common terminology, identifying core requirements and developing a common report structure.

  • Invest in technology and reporting systems to enable better access to information.

  • Enhance the quality of reporting to better capture results, enable learning and increase the efficiency of reporting.

One main outcome of this work is the development of the harmonised narrative reporting template known as the “8+3 template”. This mechanism has been accepted by and is in use in a number of organisations. The template is a menu of standardised report elements (eight “core” and three “additional”) that each donor can tailor to fit its individual information needs when they ask NGO partners to report on humanitarian activities. In order to further enhance further the positive impact of the reporting template, some recommendations are made below.

Timeline of the initiative:

ICVA is a signatory to the Grand Bargain and has been involved in its processes since it began in 2016. In 2016 ICVA and the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) were designated as the co-conveners for Workstream 9 and for harmonised narrative reporting, and thus assumed overall leadership on this initiative. One of the initial actions taken by Germany was to contract the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPI) to lead a review on harmonising donor reporting. In 2017 interested stakeholders from the group of Grand Bargain signatories met in Berlin to discuss the potential for piloting harmonised narrative reporting, and it was agreed to carry out a two-year pilot, in Myanmar, Iraq and Somalia. Germany and ICVA collaborated with the GPPI to develop and implement a pilot on the 8+3 template between June 2017 and June 2019. UNHCR, UN OCHA, UNICEF, and WFP committed to piloting the template initially, also joined by Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, UK, Norway, and Italy. Additional participants (such as France) were able to join during the pilot.

Once the pilot was underway, ICVA worked closely with its members, through ICVA’s Humanitarian Financing Working Group, to provide reports and analysis, and to seek feedback to prepare ICVA’s positions related to two of the Grand Bargain commitments: supporting local and national responders and reducing burdensome donor conditions. In 2019 several clear, concise and comprehensive information documents were produced, resulting in improved external dissemination and understanding, including:

  • The 8+3 template: A new way of standardizing, simplifying and harmonizing humanitarian reporting
  • Frequently asked questions
  • The 8+3 template: Essential guidance on using the new harmonized reporting template

ICVA’s role and influence:

A key element in the implementation of the 8+3 pilot was a clear division of labor between ICVA, Germany and GPPI. ICVA’s primary role was to engage with NGO partners and the UN system, while the GFFO engaged primarily with government donors and the EU. GPPI maintained primary technical responsibility to develop the 8+3 template, associated guidance, and conduct reviews of the pilot work. This division of responsibility helped to ensure effective engagement with different stakeholders and to capture constructive feedback through the semi-independent role of GPPI. As part of the engagement with NGO partners, ICVA also organised orientation sessions with colleagues in the field to ensure better understanding of the objectives of using the 8+3 template. Field missions were conducted in-person in both Myanmar and Somalia to discuss the 8+3 template and field implications for the broader Grand Bargain. Virtual engagements were also conducted for field colleagues in Iraq. These engagements also helped to facilitate improved feedback from ICVA members in the field as part of the GPPI-led reviews of the pilot work. Whether explicitly part of the pilot or not, all NGO members of ICVA receiving funds from a donor or agency using the 8+3 template have been involved to some extent, particularly where funding comes from multiple donors using the template.