Oxfam defines an accountable humanitarian programme as one in which the people affected by it are the most influential decision-makers throughout the lifetime of the project and the most important judges of its impact.
To ensure accountability in WASH activities in all humanitarian responses (including first-phase emergency relief), WASH staff should put in place mechanisms for:
- Community participation: Ensure that affected communities are enabled and supported to participate as much as possible.
- Information sharing: Share information about the project, Oxfam, its principles and how it expects staff to behave in forms that are easily understood, respectful and culturally appropriate for different members of the affected community, Communicate what services can be provided by whom, how, and when. If there are delays in procurement or delivery tell the community.
- Feedback and Complaints: consult with communities to design a range of simple, safe and appropriate feedback and complaints mechanisms. WASH staff should respond to feedback and complaints in a systematic and timely manner, taking account of the gender and age of those providing feedback.
- Positive staff attitudes and behaviour: Encourage staff to be open and transparent and to analyse the situation from the point of view of the affected community. Treat community members as partners and not as helpless victims.
Accountability mechanisms should be integrated with other programme teams; there is no need to duplicate structures/methods, particularly when working in the same communities.