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 4 and a video providing insight into how Medical Teams incorporates CHS Commitment 4 into our global operations.

Commitment 4: Communities and people affected by crisis know their rights and entitlements, have access to information, and participate in decisions that affect them

Communities and people affected by crisis may be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse if they do not receive clear information on what project activities are being implemented, what they can expect from aid organizations, and how to raise concerns. Sharing clear, accurate, timely, and accessible information strengthens trust, understanding, and participation, as well as allows people to make informed decisions. Good communication with communities early on in the project cycle can reduce misunderstandings and delays, ensure projects are appropriately designed to meet needs, and prevent negative perceptions of organizations or activities from forming. When delivering assistance, aid organizations should strive to communicate effectively by:

  • Providing information to communities about the organization, its principles, how it expects its staff to behave, the program, and what they intend to deliver
  • Communicating in languages, formats, and media that are easily understood, respectful, and culturally appropriate
  • Ensuring representation is inclusive
  • Encouraging and facilitating communities and individuals to provide feedback on their level of satisfaction with assistance received

By communicating clearly with communities, we invite them to hold us accountable; however, CHS Commitment 4 is not just about what we communicate but also about how we communicate. Understanding of key messages will be enhanced by using preferred communication channels and formats tailored to the local audience. For example, a rural population with low literacy rates will require more in person reporting options and will more easily understand visuals that communicate key messages without text. An urban population with mobile data connections may prefer to use social media or messaging apps to receive information and provide feedback. Organizations must assess if there are any vulnerable groups within the wider context, such as elderly people or people with disabilities, to ensure that they will also be able to access needed information as their trusted information sources and communication channels may differ.

In the following video, we discuss how Medical Teams integrates CHS Commitment 4 into our programs in Guatemala and Colombia.


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 4 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.