Friday, 22 November 2013


Over the last few months, we have come to realise that there are still many questions and misunderstandings about what the Certification Project set out to try and achieve. Below, we aim to clarify the project objectives and scope. Please get in touch with us if you still have unanswered questions.


1. Explore the relevance and feasibility of a widely-endorsed certification system for humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) aimed at improving the quality, effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian action

2. Identify the conditions that would make certification sustainable and successful 

3. Gain recognition by donors, governments and UN agencies, and alignment of their different requirements to any proposed model

Expected outcomes  

1. Proposal for a common verification framework to report on how principles, results and accountability are being applied by organisations  

2. Proposal for an effective and appropriate certification model which promotes learning, quality assurance and accountability of humanitarian organisations, including criteria to assess and measure capacity, performance and accountability 

3. If such a model is not deemed feasible, clear rationale and articulation of why certification is not recommended.


The project will make specific proposals on assessment criteria around an organisation’s capacity, performance and accountability; on a verification and reporting framework;  and  a on certification model.

This project intends to benefit all interested humanitarian NGOs. Any proposals or recommendations from this project will be based on the outcomes of research, consultation, pilot testing and as wide a consensus as possible.

Outcomes will attempt to determine what approaches might best serve affected populations today and in the future; they are not driven by or determined by SCHR members or donors. 

The project is led by a Steering Group and supported by a Technical Advisory Group with representatives from the humanitarian sector.

SCHR position and role

SCHR collective members’ position is that the project is exploring the role of certification in efforts to promote more principled, effective and accountable humanitarian action. SCHR is sponsoring the project because it believes a sustainable certification model could benefit affected populations and the humanitarian sector.  SCHR will use its network to build support for project outcomes, particularly in promoting recognition and support from governments and donors

Consultation process                                                      

Wide consultations are being conducted to include views and perspectives of national and international NGOs donors, crisis-affected governments, UN agencies and affected populations on what they expect from humanitarian organisations. 

The consultation process is on-going, with opportunities to input at various stages of the project research and on the project findings and recommendations

Field pilot testing and validation is an important component of the project, as it will allow us to see how the model integrates with existing approaches, identify gaps, and gain perspectives from affected communities and stakeholders at the programme level on the value of the approach.

Relationship with other initiatives

The project is working closely with HAP, ICVA, VOICE, Interaction and other key stakeholders to ensure compatibility and harmonisation of any proposed model with existing standards, quality assurance and certification mechanisms.

An essential component of the project is to review and consolidate learning from other approaches to define the most effective and appropriate way of achieving widespread recognition and use of agreed standards and verification mechanisms. 

Core standards and certification

The project worked closely with the Joint Standards Initiative (JSI) and is contributing to the Core Humanitarian Standard process to ensure that any verification or certification assessment criteria are based on the core standard. The certification project is contributing to the development of the Core Humanitarian Standard through its field pilot testing of the model by assessing  and reporting back on the relevance and verifiability of some of the components of the draft version of the core standard.