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New recognition for Medair’s humanitarian work: an independently audited CHS certification confirms that the organisation treats women, men, and children who are affected by crisis with respect for their human dignity and that those affected are involved from start to finish in planning, implementing, and judging the collaboration.    

Medair is delighted to announce full Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) certification for its principled, accountable, and high-quality humanitarian action.

Large-scale, protracted crises are the new normal with a devastating impact on communities and infrastructure that can last for generations. As needs increase and effective humanitarian response becomes both more demanding and pressurised, the call for humanitarian actors to demonstrate greater quality, accountability, and effectiveness of humanitarian intervention has become more urgent.

Medair has thirty years of experience working in highly complex crises across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and has been at the forefront of the application of new technologies in humanitarian response. In Lebanon, for example, Medair’s pioneering work in mapping and data management among Syrian refugee communities has been widely rolled out by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Speaking on the certification, Raffaella Infanti, Medair Accountability Adviser, said: “The Core Humanitarian Standard provides a plumb line for aid agencies who seek to apply best practice and verify the quality and accountability of their humanitarian interventions. The CHS approach places crises-affected people and communities at the heart of humanitarian action, with full participation in decision-making and quality control. This mirrors Medair’s objective and capability to work as principled staff with crisis-affected communities. We work simply, as ‘people to people’, with a deep-set conviction that every life matters.”

The CHS sets out nine commitments for humanitarian and development actors to measure and improve the quality and effectiveness of their assistance, ranging from appropriateness of response and participation to dealing with complaints and responsible resource use.

As Medair sought CHS certification, HQAI auditors cross-checked whether the CHS Commitments of Medair were correctly and consistently being applied in our Global Support Office and country programmes. The audit implied a thorough process of document checks, practice reviews, as well as interviews with staff, vulnerable communities, and other local stakeholders. A detailed audit report summarises the findings and will help us improve. The entire process was an excellent opportunity to put the CHS at the forefront in the entire organisation and to realign our activities and procedures accordingly.

Medair is responding to the humanitarian crisis in DR Congo, and the CHS-certified modus operandi for how teams should work with devastated communities strongly resonates with the Congolese communities Medair collaborates with. When Medair introduced its feedback and complaint submission mechanisms to leaders of a community in Nord Kivu Province, they said, “We really appreciate this; it’s the first time that an NGO has taken the time to speak with us about such a thing.”

In Mozambique, Medair’s Emergency Response Team is providing relief to communities affected by Cyclone Idai and the related flooding. During Medair’s distribution of emergency shelter and cholera prevention kits in Haruma village, Maria Anita, a recipient of the relief items, said: “Yesterday, when I saw you coming and talking to our people, I was sure you were not going to come back here. This morning, when I saw you coming with help, I could not believe my eyes. I was so happy that I started crying.”

We would like to express our thanks to all those involved for their contribution to the process, as well as the auditors and staff of HQAI for their professionalism.