Putting people first in humanitarian operations

Accountability is about leadership, not mechanisms. Why we need to stop ‘doing’ AAP

There is a lot of talk about accountability to affected people and a profusion of mechanisms supposed to make it happen, yet there is little evidence of meaningful improvement. After more than a decade of effort, whhave we failed to make accountability happen?

People at the centre? A reality check on post-quake accountability to affected people in Haiti

Ground Truth Solutions, in partnership with the H2H Network and The New Humanitarian, sought the perceptions of communities affected by the earthquake on 14 August 2021 in Haiti.

Amplifying aid recipients’ views in Burkina Faso

We survey both those who have been displaced and non-displaced communities receiving aid to ensure their voices are heard by the humanitarian country team and advocate for humanitarian plans to be centred on these people’s opinions.

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Where we work

Our mission is to ensure that people affected by crisis have a say in humanitarian action, from individual projects to global humanitarian reform.

We have a broad geographic focus working across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific ensuring we are listening to, and working with, people in locations where there is greatest need. We regularly review our geographic focus, considering evolving circumstances including new health, natural disaster, and human-made complex emergencies.

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Our approach

Ground Truth Solutions works with people affected by humanitarian crises to understand how they experience the quality and effectiveness of aid provision, and to help them influence the efforts undertaken on their behalf. Our main research methodology is rooted in two traditions of inquiry: participatory development thinking, combined with the business world’s emphasis on customer satisfaction. We examine how affected people see the relevance and fairness of the support they receive, whether they know what to expect, how to seek recourse and if they feel safe. We also want to know if people feel able to take control of their lives and whether they trust and respect those providing aid.

To learn more, we discuss these issues with people in focus groups and interviews. We triangulate what people tell us with factual information collected by aid agencies as part of their regular programme monitoring. We engage with affected people regularly and systematically, to understand important trends in their views. Then we feed back findings from our work to aid providers and policymakers, aiming to increase accountability and improve programme quality. Our surveys of humanitarian workers provide additional insight for managers and donors trying to make sense of and respond to the way things look on the ground.