Commitment 4.2 We analyse and understand the contexts in which we work.

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code. Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided. 

4.2.1 Members’ planning and practice are informed by analysis of context, evidence and research, and inclusion of the perspectives and knowledge of primary stakeholders.


  • Design or planning framework, tools, templates which require or approaches which consistently show context and stakeholder analysis, including the consideration of the perspectives and knowledge of primary stakeholders.
  • Appraisal/selection process that requires designs to include systematic consideration of context and stakeholder analysis, evidence and research, and the perspectives and knowledge of primary stakeholders.                


Your approaches could include: an investment of time and resources into good contextual analysis prior to designing an initiative; seeking out existing data or experiences of other organisations; seeking the perspectives and experiences of primary stakeholders through focus groups, surveys or PRA exercises.

Your design or planning framework, tools and templates could include: explicit sub sections or prompts in the design document template requiring contextual analysis, reference to research or other evidence and how primary stakeholder’s perspectives were sought.

Your appraisal/selection process could include sub sections or criteria covering: an assessment of the adequacy of: contextual analysis; the research or evidence used; and how the perspectives of primary stakeholders were sought. 

Download and read ACFID's PMEL Guidance tool from the resources section below for further guidance on developing design and planning frameworks that meet this requirement. 

4.2.2 Members assess and manage risk in their development and humanitarian initiatives.


A risk framework, risk management plan or approaches which assess and address risks for initiatives.


Your design template could include a requirement to compete a risk management matrix or analysis. Your appraisal/selection process could include sub sections or criteria covering an assessment of the risk analysis and management strategies.

There will be variation in the detail and complexity of risk analysis and risk management tools depending on the size and scope of your organisations and the initiatives but there are accepted standard approaches. You can download an example of a risk analysis and management tool in the Resources Section below.

4.2.3 Members undertake research and establish their own ethical guidelines for research.


Ethical guidelines for research.   

Noting that this indicator and its verifier is relevant only to Members which undertake research.          


If your organisation undertakes research, you will have documented guidelines to inform these processes. Guidelines should reflect the four principles of:

  • respect for human beings;
  • beneficence;
  • research merit and integrity; and
  • justice.

You can download ACFID's Principles for Ethical Research and Evaluation in Development in the Resources Section below

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators. While Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code, they will self-assess against these indicators once every three years. This provides a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • The Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network Principles for Ethical Research and Evaluation in Development are used to inform approaches to research.
  • Training is provided to key personnel and partners on undertaking contextual, stakeholder and risk analysis
  • Structured processes to periodically re-assess contextual and stakeholder analysis and risk on an ongoing basis are in place.
  • Research plans and results are shared with those who are involved in or impacted by the findings.
  • The results of research are shared with local partners and primary stakeholders. 


Good Practice Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time. 

Context and Stakeholder Analysis

  • Develop a full understanding of the program’s context including the impact of national and community-level political, social, economic, cultural and environmental factors, as well as the enablers and the barriers to social change
  • Seek the perspectives and experiences of primary stakeholders directly impacted by poverty or inequality
  • Carry out an analysis of the key relationships that will impact the project, how that impact will occur, and how those groups or people can be positively engaged
  • Train staff in how to carry out power analyses as a basic step in the preparation of any development activity
  • Periodically review the context as it changes over time as part of regular monitoring activities and reflect any changes by adapting project plans and approaches.
  • Ensure program guidelines explicitly outline the importance of identifying the needs and expectations of all key stakeholders, including potential differences in interests and points of view.
  • Use stakeholder analysis tools in project design so that you can identify the key local organisations and stakeholders and the relationships between them that contribute to or can break down poverty and inequality; vulnerability, risk and capacity for each stakeholder group.
  • Identify key groups marginalised through vulnerability.
  • Conduct research to identify the enabling factors and barriers for participation of local people.
  • Invest resources in and create opportunities for local organisations and/or primary stakeholders to discuss and agree on their own priorities for development and to fully contribute to the design and planning of initiatives that affect them.
  • Assess the level to which primary stakeholders have been involved in the initial planning of the program and the level of consultation and engagement with various community groups and the local government.

Approaches to risk analysis

  • Consider both organisational and initiative based risk analysis.
  • Establish protocols for the conduct of regular risk reviews.
  • Share risk assessment, analysis and management strategies with the governing body and periodically review these.
  • Appoint a staff person or committee to be responsible for ensuring regular risk assessments are carried out.
  • Use ISO standards to guide your risk assessment processes.
  • Undertake targeted risk analysis for particular initiatives, for example risks related to child protection, risks related to vulnerable groups, risks related to gender or gender identification.
  • Communicate your commitment to risk analysis and management amongst your staff, governing body, and partners.
  • Work with partners to develop their risk management capacity and procedures. 

Approaches to research

  • Use ACFID’s Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network Principles for Ethical Research and Evaluation in Development to inform your approach to research.
  • Ensure that local stakeholders have a meaningful input into the design of research initiatives and in undertaking the research.
  • Provide appropriate training to local staff and primary stakeholders who may be involved in research activities
  • Include local stakeholders in research teams and hold meetings at the completion of the research with local stakeholders to share the findings and receive feedback on them.
  • Translate research findings into local language and conduct forums where this information can be shared.