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 3 and a video providing insight into how Medical Teams incorporates CHS Commitment 3 into our global operations.

Commitment 3: Communities and people affected by crisis are not negatively affected and are more prepared, resilient and less at-risk as a result of humanitarian action

Humanitarian response should strengthen local capacities and avoid negative effects. This means that any intervention we undertake should first seek to do no harm. According to the CHS, there are several key actions that humanitarian organizations can take early in the response that, if adhered to, support resiliency of communities and avoid potential harm:

  • Ensure programs build on local capacities and work towards improving the resilience of communities and people affected by crisis.
  • Use the results of any existing community hazard and risk assessments and preparedness plans to guide activities.
  • Enable the development of local leadership and organizations in their capacity as first-responders in the event of future crises, taking steps to ensure that marginalized and disadvantaged groups are appropriately represented.
  • Plan a transition or exit strategy in the early stages of the humanitarian program that ensures longer-term positive effects and reduces the risk of dependency.
  • Design and implement programs that promote early disaster recovery and benefit the local economy.
  • Identify and act upon potential or actual unintended negative effects in a timely and systematic manner.

For example, local agencies and communities are usually the first to respond in an emergency and have in-depth knowledge of the situation. Some local organizations will have a better knowledge of the needs of specific groups — such as those working with women, children, or people with disabilities. Therefore, it is essential to involve government agencies and local leaders in planning and monitoring, hire and train local staff, and partner with local organizations whenever possible.

Additionally, as a health focused organization, services provided should support the existing state and community health infrastructure, systems, and processes rather than create parallel structures that will not last beyond the duration of the emergency response. Lastly, organizations must assess potential risks to people’s safety and security as well as unintended impacts on the local economy and environment as a result of project activities. If risks are clearly identified early on, organizations can more effectively structure their response to mitigate negative effects.

In the following video, we discuss how Medical Teams integrates CHS Commitment 3 into our programs in Guatemala and Uganda.


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 3 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.