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Making the case and making the difference: strategies to promote client-responsive humanitarian aid

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In 2015, the International Rescue Committee launched a bold new strategy that is making the organization more responsive to the people we serve. Becoming responsive means more than the establishment of feedback mechanisms; it requires being more effective at listening and being better at both interpreting and understanding our clients’ perspectives and making decisions that give those perspectives due weight and consideration. Becoming responsive means that our staff have to have the ability and the will do so. Becoming responsive requires wholesale change in the way that our staff think and act.

The IRC considers a program to be client responsive when:

  • Design: The program team integrates a client-responsive approach to programming into program design
  • Capture: The program team selects and implements a combination of channels to effectively capture the perspectives of its clients
  • Analysis & Interpretation: The program team analyses and interprets the implications of its clients’ perspectives
  • Decision-Making: The program team systematically uses clients’ perspectives in program decision-making
  • Action: The program team acts upon the decisions that it has taken about how to respond to its clients’ perspectives
  • Accountability & Improvement: The IRC team is accountable to its clients for its decisions and actions in response to heir perspectives and seeks continuous improvement to its responsiveness

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