Accountability and Feedback Loops
CDA is widely recognized as a thought leader on effective listening and feedback processes, with evidence-informed recommendations on improving community engagement and accountability practices. Lessons from Time to Listen: Hearing People in the Receiving End of International Aid have been extended to the development of practical tools, and CDA leads in a number of interagency forums that promote improving community engagement and accountability practices.
CDA’s work on aid effectiveness, accountability and feedback loops began in 2005 with the launch of the Listening Project. The Listening Project used CDA’s listening methodology in 20 collaborative listening exercises around the world with 130 local and international aid organizations. We engaged 6,000 people in listening conversations about cumulative impact of aid efforts in their societies and communities. The resulting lessons are presented in Time to Listen: Hearing People on the Receiving End of International Aid.
CDA continues to facilitate learning regarding aid agencies’ efforts to listen to, engage with, and be accountable to those affected by their policies and programs.
- In what ways does the aid system, widely regarded as “externally-driven”, need to reform to meaningfully engage local actors and communities?
- How can aid providers be more accountable to the people they aim to support?
- How can international and local organizations actively seek feedback from the people affected by their programs—and then act on that information?
Yo Winder, Partnerships and Accountability Advisor / Oxfam GB
“CDA are, pretty much, the world experts in how feedback loops can work and the benefits to be gained in terms of programme quality”
Ask the Experts
Thought Leaders in Learning Speaker Series: Time to Listen / CDA presented its research which aggregated the input of nearly 6,000 people in 20 aid receiving countries, as well as the reflections of aid workers themselves, on the effectiveness of international aid efforts as captured through CDA’s Listening Project at the USAID Learning Lab‘s Thought Leaders in Learning Speaking Seminar.
Frontiers for Development Cooperation / August 2014. Keynote speech by Prof. Robert Chambers at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2014 Development Cooperation Forum.
Are We Asking the Right Questions? / 2013. CDA discussed engaging local communities in collecting, analyzing and using evidence for needs assessment and impact evaluation. The talk was part of ALNAP’s “Local Knowledge and Evidence of Impact Meeting.”
Local Communities Say Aid is ‘Too Much, Too Fast’ / 2013. Mary B. Anderson, founder of CDA Collaborative Learning Projects and author of ‘Do No Harm’ and ‘Time to Listen’ speaks frankly about what aid recipients and local communities told her about humanitarian aid and asks “whose evidence counts?”
Seven-Minute Expert Talk on Humanitarian Affairs / 2014. Interview with Mary B. Anderson, CDA’s founder, author of “Do No Harm,” and co-author of “Time to Listen.” What beneficiaries really think of international aid; The “proceduralisation” of the aid system; The drawbacks of funding mechanisms and the responsibility of donors; Some proposals to disentangle the threads; and the role of quality and accountability initiatives. Part of The Sphere Project “Seven-minute Expert Talks on Humanitarian Affairs” series.
Thursday Talk, Closing the Loop: On-Going Research into Effective Feedback Practices / November 2014. Isabella Jean discussed her research into effective feedback practices. Including guidance on how to integrate listening and feedback mechanisms into existing organizational systems and how to use the feedback to steer program adaptation and implementation; and, evidence and guidance on lessons and practices around feedback for program and context monitoring in fragile and conflict affected states. Hosted by DM&E for Peace.
‘Rhetoric or Reality? Putting Affected People at the Centre of Humanitarian Action’ / October 2014. A publication launch and discussion of findings at Overseas Development Institute (ODI) London, UK.