Adding Value

Adding Value

Cluster coordination often has to be ‘sold’ those more sceptical of humanitarian reform in general and of the Cluster Approach in particular. It therefore requires explaining:

That Clusters add value through:

  • Transfer of knowledge
  • Legitimacy through wider engagement and inclusivity
  • Coherence of standards
  • Leverage at national, local authority, and community level
  • Sharing of values
  • Joint strategic planning
  • Advocacy, with the Cluster speaking with one voice
  • Enhanced predictability
  • Increased transparency and accountability

    To Donors that coordination

  • ensures appropriate programmatic responses against a commonly agreed strategy, that you helped define
  • provides a free monitoring service of your projects
  • helps select the best actors as you can meet agencies and see who engages with the Cluster at plenary meetings
  • reduces confusion between proposals
  • gets all of their potential implementers in the same room on the same page
  • ensures their programs fit with government strategy
  • allows their ideas to be heard and incorporated

    To International NGO’s that coordination

  • reduces threat of overlapping
  • reduces conflict based on differing levels of provision
  • ensures local implementing partners are kept on the same page and have external support
  • gets their name up in lights
  • helps them meet donors
  • makes them look good to donors
  • makes them look good to government
  • makes them more powerful as a collective than an individual

    To programme managers in International NGO’s that coordination

  • provides free technical support as well as easy technical solutions for them to adopt or adapt
  • means they are part of a team
  • allows them to meet like-minded colleagues
  • increases their networking and future job opportunities
  • helps ensure they’re not seen to be screwing up — not more than anyone else anyway
  • helps them iron out problems with the government
  • helps them meet local implementing partners and donors

    To National NGO’s it

  • helps them understand the wild circus that has come to town
  • helps them get a slice of the action
  • helps them understand why everything is taking so long
  • ensures their voice gets heard in the bigger picture
  • lets them meet potential donors or INGO partners
  • provides free training and technical advice
  • eases access to government
  • lets them represent the voice of the people better

    To Local Authorities

  • helps them understand the circus that has come to town
  • helps them appear under control
  • helps them get it all under control
  • helps them mobilize more money for their community
  • helps them meet whoever is doing all this stuff
  • helps ensure their plans and regulations are seen and listened to
  • introduces them to international standards and ensures adherence to them
  • provides quality control and a complaints forum for publicly shaming bad players without running the risk of appearing anti-humanitarian
  • provides a pre-designed format for coordination which they can effectively own
  • brings a huge amount of international expertise to bear
  • makes them look efficient in the Capital
  • may even leave a few assets when the circus moves on

    For National Government

  • makes departments and line ministries look good in front of ministers
  • makes them look really good to donors
  • helps produce a united viewpoint that widens the funding pool
  • provides an easy solution for controlling the aid mayhem
  • provides international ‘best practice’ experience and technical advice
  • provides real time numbers on what is happening where and by whom
  • shows up outstanding needs
  • reduces duplication of effort
  • increases the likelihood of good quality work
  • puts them back in control, but in a cooperative style
  • provides someone to blame when things go wrong
  • but which allows the taking of credit when things go right
  • provides sustainable coordination models and information management tools
  • If the coordination function adds value to each of these stakeholder groups in the ways described, the Cluster process will end up – often in ways that are not so clear at the outset – improving the efficiency of resource allocation and the effectiveness of programme delivery. This will positively affect outcomes and impact on the lives and livelihoods of the targeted affected populations over time.

    To be perceived to be ‘adding value’, coordination teams must, at a minimum, provide:

    1.     An outline strategic orientation

    2.     Maps, eventually with multiple overlays, showing

    • The affected area (with agreed boundaries and place-names)
    • Gaps i.e Who is doing What, Where (3W)
    • Population vulnerability (e.g damage density, disability, elderly)
    • Hazard and Risk (e.g arsenic contamination of ground water)
    • Coverage

    3.     Disaggregated spreadsheets of who is doing what, where, and when with distribution, access, and coverage details, to the lowest level possible

    4.     Guidelines on the appropriate technical practices to  employ (e.g content of hygiene parcels and rubble removal kits; pond water disinfection and sand filtration; vitaminisation requirements)

    5.     Facilitation of effective meetings in the local language, with notes outlining agreed action points available in all relevant languages within 48 hrs (Note: meeting minutes are more detailed and might take longer)

    6.     Website, updated daily

    7.     Generic e-mail addresses

    8.     Reports

    • Situation Reports
    • One page Fact Sheets
    • Advocacy Notes
    This is is a section from Clusterwise 2. Reproduction is encouraged. It would be nice if the author, James Shepherd-Barron, and were acknowledged when doing so.

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