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Aid Watch Palestine's project on complaints mechanisms

In humanitarian practice, accountability is defined as “… a process of taking into account the views of, and being held accountable by, different stakeholders, primarily the people affected by authority or power.”

If you or your community receive donor aid (or if you are a taxpayer in a country that provides aid) you have a right to know what aid is being provided, how it is being used, how decisions are being made, and what the results are. You have a right to participate in the process and voice your concerns, suggestions and complaints.

Most donor countries and aid agencies have explicitly endorsed these obligations by agreeing to various international declarations and standards such as the 2010 HAP Standard in Accountability and Quality Management, the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Non-Governmental Organizations in Disaster Relief, the Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship, and the International NGO Accountability Charter, among others.

It is the duty of humanitarian actors to respond to your feedback. Responding to citizens’ feedback is also considered essential to good practice of democratic government. In fact, all the global standards recognize the importance of complaints and response mechanisms. The complaints and response process for any agency should be publicized, user-friendly, safe and confidential. You have the right to understand the entire complaint process and be informed about the results of the investigation of your concerns. Well-functioning complaints processes not only improve satisfaction of the people who complain, but can identify opportunities to improve systems.

Unfortunately, Aid Watch Palestine has found it difficult to determine the complaints and responses mechanisms of most agencies working in Gaza, nor do we know what the common complaints are, how they are handled, and what changes in policy and procedure are made as a result of people’s complaints. We will keep working to bring clarity to this important area of aid practice, and in the meantime, we invite aid actors, people who need or benefit from aid, and the general community to email information about your experience with complaints processes.

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