A feedback mechanism provides benefits for both the beneficiaries and the humanitarian organizations that assist them.  It’s used to collect feedback from those benefiting from projects, analyses the feedback and then respond to that feedback

Why Do We Need a Feedback Mechanism?

Not only does it empower beneficiaries who may feel as though they have no power over their own lives, but it also builds trust and facilitates communication between beneficiaries and the organizations that assist them.

For members of the humanitarian organization staff, a feedback mechanism provides opportunities to learn from the people they’re assisting and to identify problems early. It also helps them determine how to implement or modify programs in the future and deter fraud and corruption among humanitarian organization staff members and partners.

Planning: Define Your Purpose, and Get Organizational Support

Your purpose should include: The benefits a beneficiary feedback mechanism brings to your organization; any donor or partner requirements; any specific problems you expect the beneficiary feedback mechanism to help solve and Strategies for getting organizational support should include:

How you get your organizational support: Sensitize staff to the benefits of greater impact, greater community involvement and ownership, and greater job satisfaction from a beneficiary feedback mechanism; begin setting up a mechanism in the program planning stage and set aside time and resources to train staff to handle and respond to complaints effectively.

Design and Implementation:

An effective beneficiary feedback mechanism should follow these principles.

Safe and dignified: The mechanism must ensure that beneficiaries are protected and able to provide feedback or make and resolve complaints in a safe and dignified manner.

Accessible: The mechanism must be accessible to as many beneficiaries as possible, particularly the most vulnerable, and use different forms of media where possible.

Confidential: The mechanism must protect the confidentiality of the people making the complaint or affected by a complaint, to avoid risks of reprisal or retaliation.

Clear and Easy to understand: The feedback procedures should be communicated in appropriate languages and in a clear and simple format.

Appropriate: The mechanism must be appropriate within the local context and build on local governance structures.

Transparent: All beneficiaries must know how to access and use the feedback mechanism and understand the procedures the organization will follow when responding.

Participatory : Involve beneficiaries in all stages of developing, using, and reviewing the feedback mechanism. In particular, it is crucial that you get beneficiary input on the most appropriate feedback channels.

Some common methods for gathering feedback: Suggestion / complain box, Open – door hours, Logbooks, Telephone, Help desk, social media, WhatsApp and Community meetings

Investigate and respond to feedback

  • Gather background information, and check appropriate records. Remember, confidentiality is very important.
  • Collect relevant documents, including photos, maps, diagrams, etc.
  • Take statements from witnesses or others who may have relevant information.
  • Create a written report outlining the minor, major, or abuse complaint; the information gathered; the sources of information; and the proposed response and actions needed. Share this within your organization according to your procedures so that all staff members can agree on the action to be taken.
  • Be sensitive when communicating the results of the investigation to the person who complained. Explain the actions your organization will take, inform that person once your organization has taken action, and explain the appeal process if relevant. In depth investigation is mandatory for major complaints, or complaints of verbal, physical or sexual abuse or exploitation.