Bethany Spendlove Keeley, Accountable Now
Complementing the previous posts on Accountable Now members’ examples around practices related to the Global Standard for CSO Accountability cluster A and cluster B commitments, in this opportunity, we share examples from our members concerning practices associated with the cluster C commitments.
From understanding the underpinning principles and values that define dynamic accountability to identifying how CSOs seek sustainable and accountable change, Accountable Now members implement a wide range of practices to advance their own accountability. Thus, by implementing dynamic accountability, more organisations are prioritising equitable and fair approaches to their work so as to include the voices of diverse stakeholders in decision-making processes, while placing justice, inclusion, gender equality and climate-crisis mitigation on the top of their agendas. However, we believe that CSOs can only fully be accountable to others if they are also fully accountable to themselves. This is where Cluster C of the 12 commitments of the Global Standard for CSO Accountability comes into play.
In this regard, through the Accountable Now reporting framework, we aim to understand how our members are demonstrating accountability towards their staff and volunteers, how they are handling their resources effectively, how they are implementing responsive decision-making processes as well as how their leadership is responsible and held to account.
Commitment 10: Well-handled resources:
The tenth accountability commitment asks members to look into the acquisition and allocation of resources and to outline the policies put into place for ensuring transparency and accountability around resource management. To promote openness and maintain trust, the organisation Educo has adopted a policy which prevents mishandling of resources in line with its own values.
Educo’s Global Organisational Development Plan 2020-2023 sets out clear objectives around how we acquire, manage and allocate resources, to ensure that this process is aligned with our organisational values. We feel this is key to being accountable and gaining trust from those who support us and those we are raising funds for. Thus, we continue strengthening our accountability systems and practices regarding the origin and allocation of our resources. Over the past year, we have renewed our Transparency and Good Governance Seal of Approval from the Spanish NGO
Coordinator (CONGDE), which prompted the creation of a new transparency portal on our website. Through this portal, we have increased and improved the quality of the information we publish about where our funds come from and what they are spent on, including more accessible information relating to the public grants and private donations received.
We’re also working to consolidate the progress made on streamlining whistleblowing systems and practices to reduce the risk of misuse of funds. In 2020, we prioritized staff training and self-assessments on our Compliance Code of Conduct, as well as raising awareness and improving access to our whistleblowing channel. We are now in the process of updating our Anti-Fraud and Corruption Policy to align it with external quality standards and ensure that it provides the most robust framework for preventing and dealing with the mishandling of resources.
Laura Cantle, Accountability Coordinator, Educo
Commitment 9: Empowered & Effective Staff & Volunteers and Commitment 11: Responsive Decision Making:
It is often the case that the 12 commitments of the Global Standard for CSO Accountability overlap – showing the interwoven and holistic nature of CSO accountability. For example, organisations are expected to ensure responsive decision-making that takes into account the experience, expectations and knowledge of those they work for and with. For this, we expect all Accountable Now members to have a functioning feedback and complaints mechanism. An example of why feedback management is important can be observed with World YWCA, who collects feedback to then embed it into the design of its programmes, which enables them to promote accountability towards the people they work with. This approach also speaks to the ninth accountability commitment that encourages members to involve and support those working in their organisation and to fully ensure that accountability to internal stakeholders is prioritised.
In implementing World YWCA Goal 2035, our organisation directly responds to two of the core principles behind the 2030 Strategic Development Goal (SDG) Agenda: Universality, which recognizes that change on a large scale requires action from governments, the private sector, civil society organizations, and people everywhere; and the Commitment to Leave No One Behind, which affirms support to those with fewer opportunities, who are the most vulnerable and face multiple and intersecting forms of oppression and discrimination. To realize such critical changes, World YWCA recognizes the importance that global policy, advocacy, and programmatic priorities involve young women from the very beginning and are placed at the very center of these processes.
Together with the leadership of young women from different regions, in late 2018, World YWCA started to co-create a Feminist Consultation Methodology. This methodology seeks to capture evidence and allow for continued analysis and use of information by and with young women regarding their priorities, platforms, barriers, and how they collaborate with each other to organise for change. Developed in two phases, the process involved the young women’s co-creation and validation at every point, including by using technology and social media as tools to ensure an innovative, intersectional and feminist approach to reaching, engaging and consulting young women. With World YWCA playing the role of a mere facilitator of this platform, the global representation of young women helped ensure the methodology was truly by young women and for young women.
Thus, the methodology has helped in evidence-based documentation of the challenges of working with young women in different communities and with different backgrounds. It has also become a safe space for these young women to identify ideas, as well as serve as a truly open feedback mechanism.
Young women established the following key components of the Feminist Consultation Methodology:
- Participatory process involving young women
- Language as a powerful tool
- Following principles of safe spaces in creation and data collection
- Addressing needs of young people to be skilled in research bits
- Multi-method approach and non-linear process
World YWCA is using the consultation methodology in shaping programme designs including ideation, implementation and evaluation of initiatives.
Caterina Lemp Bitsacopoulos, Senior Specialist for Movement Building, World YWCA
In conclusion, the depth and breadth of practices implemented by CSOs for their own accountability goes way beyond these two examples, but they do show how the Global Standard for CSO Accountability’ 12 commitments and Accountable Now’s reporting framework have challenged organisations to rethink their own accountability.
Find out more about new approaches to internal accountability throughout our member accountability reports on the Accountable Now website!