Ground Truth

Improving humanitarian action by making people the focus of program design and performance.

Powerful new data on aid agencies' performance

A groundbreaking new report, launched on January 12th 2010 by Keystone, provides powerful new data on the performance of international aid agencies. It summarises feedback from over 1,000 local partners in developing countries and has the potential to create a new reporting standard. An executive summary is also available for download.

The report has two major findings. 

First, local organisations send a clear message. They do not want to be treated as sub-contractors, carrying out international agencies’ projects and priorities. They want agencies’ help to become independent and influential organisations in their own right, responding flexibly to local people’s needs.

Second, feedback is a reliable way of measuring performance. Benchmarks have been calculated and direct comparisons can be made between aid agencies – which is a first for the sector. The report calls for a new reporting standard for agencies that fund local partners. It would create a new level of transparency and accountability, so funds can be directed towards the best performing agencies.

Some international agencies have already chosen to publish their confidential reports on line, including Progressio, AbleChildAfrica, Peace Direct and Practical Action.

Matthew Frost, Tearfund’s CEO, said “I hope that this approach will gain widespread adoption across the sector as a fresh, robust and insightful approach to learning and accountability."

Carolyn Hayman, PeaceDirect’s CEO, said "It's invaluable to have direct and honest feedback from our partners, in a form that is specific enough that we can improve in the future."

BBC News coverage of the report

Find out more about the Keystone NGO Partner survey

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