The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) is a globally recognized voluntary standard setting out nine commitments that organizations and individuals involved in humanitarian response use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide. Because accountability is one of Medical Teams’ core organizational values, we strive to integrate each of the nine commitments into our delivery of humanitarian assistance. Here is a brief overview of Core Humanitarian Standard Commitment 2 and a video providing insight into how Medical Teams incorporates CHS Commitment 2 into our global operations.

Commitment 2: Communities and people affected by crisis have access to the humanitarian assistance they need at the right time

Organizations must ensure that humanitarian response is effective and timely. Timeliness refers not only to a rapid response that avoids delays but also to the provision of the right services at the right time. For example, affected people may have different needs in summer and winter. Decision-making needs to be flexible and respond to new information from ongoing assessments. In practice, this means that humanitarian organizations must commit to the following key actions, including supporting any necessary policies and procedures for implementation:

  • Design programs that address constraints so that the proposed action is realistic and safe for communities
  • Deliver humanitarian response in a timely manner, making decisions and acting without unnecessary delay
  • Refer any unmet needs to those organizations with the relevant technical expertise and mandate, or advocate for those needs to be addressed
  • Use relevant technical standards and good practice employed across the humanitarian sector
  • Monitor the activities, outputs, and outcomes of humanitarian responses in order to adapt

Insecurity or logistical problems may limit access to populations, or we may not have sufficient funding to do everything we want to do. Also, some needs cannot be met by an individual organization or without government intervention, so collaborative work is often required to develop strategies for advocating for access, set up referral systems, and support contingency planning to overcome those challenges. To guide project design and ensure adherence to best practice, organizations must use national guidelines, cluster guidelines, and other international quality standards from sources like the CHS, Sphere, and World Health Organization (WHO). The findings from monitoring against these technical standards must be used to correct mistakes, address feedback from different groups, and identify emerging weaknesses to continuously improve programming.

In the following video, we discuss how Medical Teams integrates CHS Commitment 2 into our programs in Colombia and Guatemala.


Learn more from the Core Humanitarian Standard and CHS Alliance websites as well as our other posts on CHS commitments. The information on Core Humanitarian Standard Commitment 2 and its key actions in this post are summarized from the Core Humanitarian Standard and CHS guidance notes.

Headshot of Jenny PerryJenny Perry
Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Advisor

Jenny contributes to the calling of Medical Teams International through the development and implementation of a global strategy, systems and tools for evidence-based monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning programs and supports country office teams to integrate these activities throughout all phases of the project life cycle. Connect with her on LinkedIn.