The Grand Bargain in Practice: Embedding the commitments in Somalia

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OCHA Giles Clarke

OCHA/Giles Clarke

International and national humanitarian actors in Somalia have sought to embed many of the commitments under the Grand Bargain into their work, including through the Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan, the Somalia NGO Consortium and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund.

Planning and response strategies

Several commitments under improving joint and impartial needs assessments and analysis (workstream 5), multi-year planning (workstream 7&8) and humanitarian-development nexus (mainstreamed workstream 10) have been embedded in planning the humanitarian response in Somalia.

As in the previous year, the 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overview in Somalia is based on a joint multi-sectoral needs assessment conducted by REACH and a joint intersectoral analysis conducted by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) members/clusters. Development and resilience actors, including donors, were involved in the 2020 Humanitarian Programme Cycle process from the outset, and the 2019 and 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan’s (HRP) objectives and projects were explicitly linked with the four Collective Outcomes developed jointly by the development and humanitarian community in 2017: all humanitarian projects in the 2019 and 2020 HRP are expected to contribute to these Collective Outcomes. In 2020, the HCT will begin discussions on transitioning the current annual HRP to a multi-year planning framework.

Localising the response

Since 2017, the Somalia NGO Consortium has proactively and consistently engaged its international aid counterparts in Somalia (donors and UN) to promote application of the Grand Bargain’s commitments on localisation (workstream 2). It held a series of workshops with stakeholders, building the evidence base for localisation, and sought to increase collaboration with the HCT through the formulation of a localisation framework intended to ensure that local and national humanitarian actors are increasingly empowered to take a greater role in the leadership, coordination and delivery of effective humanitarian preparedness and response in Somalia. The HRP states that the Consortium will support NGO coordination mechanisms and ‘continue to strengthen the capacity of national NGOs to improve frontline response.

Participation and tracking of beneficiaries’ perceptions

The Grand Bargain commitments seek to include people receiving aid in making the decisions which affect their lives (workstream 6). Since 2017, the HCT in Somalia has been supported by GTS/OECD as part of the latter’s Saving Lives in Crisis project. This has involved annual surveys of beneficiaries’ perceptions of the aid they receive. The HRP 2020 includes perceptions of aid recipients – and targets based on those indicators – as a metric for tracking implementation of the HRP. These indicators include people’s views on all the strategic objectives in the HRP.

Enhancing the quality of funding

The Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) – a Country-based Pooled Fund (CBPF) managed by OCHA – has embedded key Grand Bargain commitments in its strategic approach to promoting and incentivising change for partners.

Almost half (47%) of the funding available in 2019 was allocated to local and national responders, who account for 57.8% of all recipients. Real-time data on the CBPF Business Intelligence portal was published to the IATI Standard, alongside public outreach via social media and the internet. Allocations to cash programming were prioritised based on cluster recommendations, with cash accounting for 11% of grants in 2018, and tracking of cash was enhanced through the addition of a cash marker in the Grant Management System. Priority was also given to direct implementation of grants by first-level recipients, reducing management costs and increasing efficiencies, with sub-contracting only permitted in exceptional cases. The fund supports and promotes joint needs assessment and intersectoral analysis through facilitating cluster coordinators’ engagement in the decision-making process, and the alignment of grants with HRP priorities, which are themselves based on the collective HNO process. All SHF-funded projects are required to embed community consultation and feedback processes throughout the project cycle. The SHF was one of the three pilots for the 8+3 harmonised reporting template and, as is now the case for all OCHA-managed CBPFs, uses the finalised 8+3 template for reporting by recipient organisations. The 2019 revision of the SHF operational manual has enabled the fund to formally issue grants of more than 12-month duration in accordance with strict criteria, and all applicants are encouraged to explain how they plan to enhance the sustainability of their project.

This piece was adapted from the Grand Bargain Annual Independent Report 2020. To read a more detailed overview linking to core commitments, see page 43 of the report.


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