Quality Principle 2. Participation, Empowerment & Local Ownership

Development and humanitarian responses enable sustainable change through the empowerment of local actors and systems.

Rationale

Quality Principle 2 is focused on participation, empowerment and local ownership, and recognises the importance of communities and individuals being fully empowered actors in their own development process. As primary stakeholders, those who are directly affected shall be an integral part of decisions and activities that impact them. The voice of primary stakeholders is integral to the development process and their involvement helps ensure that development activities meet their needs. It is just and fair that local participants have a say in activities that affect their lives.

Feedback on early drafts of this Code emphasised the importance of addressing the principles of empowerment and local ownership explicitly. As such, Commitment 2.2 has been included in the Code that addresses empowerment generally, and Compliance Indicators relating to gender and people with disabilities explicitly promote empowerment as well as participation. The Indicators and Verifiers for the Commitment to gender equity and equality place a strong focus on women and girls, whilst at the same time acknowledging and where appropriate addressing discrimination and exclusion due to gender identity.

The inclusion of a Commitment requiring Members whose primary stakeholders include children to demonstrate a commitment to the participation of children (2.5), was a direct response to feedback from the ACFID Child Rights Community of Practice and the ACFID Board. In this case participation is taken to mean inclusion, participation and giving voice to children. “Participation” is used rather than “empowerment” in order to distinguish the way member’s work with children from the way they work with adults which in turn reflects that children’s agency is different from that of adults. 

Taken together, this approach accommodates the diversity of approaches taken by ACFID Members while still making explicit Commitments to participation, empowerment and local ownership.

Quality Principle 2 is implemented through five Commitments by ACFID Members.

Commitments

Commitment 2.1 We promote the participation of primary stakeholders.

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. 

2.1.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to advancing the participation of primary stakeholders.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to advancing the participation and contribution of primary stakeholders.

Guidance

An example statement on participation from an ACFID Member that would satisfy this indicator can be downloaded in the Resources Section below. 

2.1.2 Members’ planning process includes the participation of primary stakeholders.

Verifier

Design or planning framework, tools, templates that require or approaches which consistently show evidence of the participation of primary stakeholders.

Guidance

To demonstrate evidence in this area, members could include prompts in design or planning tools such as:

  • In what ways have primary stakeholders participated in planning this initiative?
  • Who was consulted in the planning of this initiative?
  • What strategies were used to ensure the participation of primary stakeholders in planning this initiative?
  • What are the views of primary stakeholders?  

Approaches could ensure that adequate time is dedicated to design processes to enable the authentic involvement of primary stakeholders, seeking their views on the context, barriers and enablers, that staff involved have appropriate language skills, and that strategies such as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), focus groups, community meetings, or individual discussions allow for input by primary stakeholders to the planning process. 

2.1.3 Members monitor and evaluate their progress in the participation of primary stakeholders.

Verifier

Monitoring and evaluation framework, tools, templates that require or approaches which consistently show evidence of the assessment of the participation of primary stakeholders.

Guidance

To demonstrate evidence in this area, members could include prompts in monitoring tools such as:

  • In what ways have primary stakeholders participated in this initiative?
  • What strategies have been used to promote participation of primary stakeholders?

Indicators for participation might also be included in monitoring and evaluation frameworks such as:

  • number of focus group discussions organized with affected girls, women, boys and men that have been used to influence decisions made on design of assessments, programs, standards, selection criteria, etc.
  • percentage of those who participated directly in decision making.

Evaluation TORs could include the consideration of the participation of primary stakeholders as an explicit aspect of analysis and the influence this had on the initiative and its outcomes.  

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.

  • Members translate program and organisational information into relevant local languages and in appropriate forms.
  • Members provide training for their staff, volunteers and partners on the importance of primary stakeholder participation in the development process and in the techniques and skills required to authentically enable this participation for e.g. participatory consultation and contextual analysis processes and power analysis.
  • Members periodically evaluate and reflect on their approaches and mechanisms designed to promote the participation of primary stakeholders e.g. in design appraisal tools or in terms of reference in evaluations.
  • Members promote the voice of primary stakeholders in their communications with the public and external stakeholders.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Reflect your commitment to participation of primary stakeholders and accountability to them through tools used throughout the project cycle such as for design, appraisal and monitoring.
  • Explicitly outline the importance of identifying the needs and expectations of all key primary stakeholders, including potential differences in interests and points of view, in the program’s design guidelines.
  • Use project design tools, such as a stakeholder priority matrix, for in-depth analysis and to prioritise primary stakeholders.
  • 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.
  • Develop appropriate tools to assist staff and partners to carry out the suggestions listed above.
  • Train staff in relevant issues such as participatory processes and increasing the voice and engagement of primary stakeholders.
  • Train staff in how to carry out power analyses as a basic step in the preparation of any development activity.
  • Be aware that an important avenue for authentic participation and sharing of views comes from developing trusting and genuine relationships between project staff and communities.

Partners

  • Seek to work with partners that have a commitment to the participation of local people and communities.
  • Ask partners how local people will be involved in the design of the program.
  • Encourage and support partners to have good relationships with local government and officials where this is possible and appropriate.
  • Train partners in participatory processes, empowerment and democratic ownership.
  • Encourage and support partners to prioritise the recruitment of local people.

Programs

  • Do a comprehensive analysis of the program’s context, including barriers and constraints to social change as expressed by primary stakeholders, on which to base project design
  • Conduct research to identify the enabling factors and barriers for participation of local people
  • Use participatory processes for strategy and program design, implementation, evaluation, and accountability
  • Design mechanisms for ensuring participation of, and accountability to, marginalised people such as women, girls, children, indigenous peoples, workers, people with disabilities, refugees and displaced populations, religious and ethnic minorities, people with different sexual identity and migrants.
  • Ensure in-country staff are able to interact and communicate with in-country stakeholders in local language and are able to prepare key documents in local languages
  • Regularly monitor – using feedback forms, focus groups and surveys – the satisfaction level of local people and partners with the program
  • Create safe opportunities and spaces to hear from a diversity of stakeholders including primary stakeholders
  • Establish local committee structures for the local governance of programs or activities
  • Encourage and create opportunities for women to take leadership roles
  • Recruit, where appropriate, project staff from among stakeholders.
  • Hold public meetings to share project information, and seek feedback when appropriate
  • Document program information and make it easily accessible to stakeholders
  • Communicate program progress regularly to stakeholders
  • Structure feedback mechanisms into programs and activities
  • Undertake project monitoring and evaluation in collaboration with stakeholders.

Resources

Commitment 2.2 We promote the empowerment of primary stakeholders.

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. 

2.2.1 Members have formal mechanisms for primary stakeholders to contribute their ideas, feedback and complaints so that they have a voice in and ownership of their own development and humanitarian initiatives.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of the contribution and influence of primary stakeholders.

Guidance

Mechanisms that organisations might have in place include:

  • participatory workshops that include primary stakeholders
  • survey tools such as household questionnaires
  • community meetings
  • local management committee structures
  • suggestion boxes
  • SMS messaging

There is some excellent guidance on effective feedback in humanitarian contexts in Closing the Loop which can be found in the Resources Section below.

2.2.2 Members promote opportunities for primary stakeholders to participate in decision-making about the initiatives that affect them.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of strategies for primary stakeholders to participate in decision-making about the initiatives that affect them.          

Guidance

Strategies that enable primary stakeholders to participate in decision making include:

  • Capacity building activities for primary stakeholders that build confidence and foster leadership skills.
  • Creation of opportunities for active inclusion during context analysis and project design stages
  • Creation of accessible and culturally appropriate project decision making or management structures
  • Supported representation at community meetings
  • Supported representation in management committees

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.

  • Members allocate resources (time, funds and people) to build the capacities of primary stakeholders to enable them implement and lead their own development initiatives.
  • Members promote and support the representation of primary stakeholders in local leadership roles.
  • Members periodically evaluate and reflect on their approaches and mechanisms designed to empower primary stakeholders e.g. in design appraisal tools or in terms of reference in evaluations.
  • Members promote the value of empowerment of primary stakeholders to the public and external stakeholders.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Use project design tools, such as a stakeholder priority matrix, for in-depth analysis and to prioritise primary stakeholders
  • 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
  • Train staff in relevant issues such as participatory processes, accountability and empowerment and increasing the voice and engagement of primary stakeholders
  • Train staff in how to carry out power analyses as a basic step in the preparation of any development activity

Partners

  • Seek to work with partners that have a commitment to the empowerment of local people and communities, and to accountability
  • Ask partners how local people will be involved in the design of the program
  • Encourage and support partners to have good relationships with local government and officials where this is possible and appropriate
  • Train partners in participatory processes, empowerment and democratic ownership
  • Encourage and support partners to prioritise the recruitment of local people.

Programs

  • Do a comprehensive analysis of the program’s context, including barriers and constraints to social change as expressed by primary stakeholders, on which to base project design
  • Conduct research to identify the enabling factors and barriers for participation and empowerment of local people
  • Use participatory processes for strategy and program design, implementation, evaluation, and accountability
  • Design mechanisms for ensuring participation of, and accountability to, marginalised people such as women, girls, children, indigenous peoples, workers, people with disabilities, refugees and displaced populations, religious and ethnic minorities, people with different sexual identity and migrants.
  • Ensure in-country staff are able to interact and communicate with in-country stakeholders in local languages and are able to prepare key documents in local languages
  • Regularly monitor – using feedback forms, focus groups and surveys – the satisfaction level of local people and partners with the program
  • Create safe opportunities and spaces to hear from a diversity of stakeholders including primary stakeholders
  • Establish local committee structures for the local governance of programs or activities
  • Encourage and create opportunities for women to take leadership roles
  • Recruit, where appropriate, project staff from among stakeholders.
  • Hold public meetings to share project information, and seek feedback when appropriate
  • Document program information and make it easily accessible to stakeholders
  • Communicate program progress regularly to stakeholders
  • Structure feedback mechanisms into programs and activities
  • Clearly establish and publicise a complaints process to be used by stakeholders
  • Undertake project monitoring and evaluation in collaboration with stakeholders.

Resources

Commitment 2.3 We promote gender equality and equity.

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. 

2.3.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to gender equality and equity.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guidance document that commits the Member to promoting gender equality and equity and to non-discrimination in regard to gender identity.

Guidance

For an example of a gender policy refer to the Resources Section below. If you use this policy to inform your own, remember to adapt it to your organisations circumstances.

2.3.2 Members’ planning process includes consultation with those marginalised due to their gender, in particular women and girls, contextual analysis of barriers to their inclusion and identification of opportunities for their participation.

Verifier

Design or planning framework, tools, templates which require, or approaches which consistently show evidence of, consultation with those marginalised due to gender identity, in particular women and girls, contextual analysis of barriers to their inclusion and identification of opportunities for their participation.

Guidance

Design or planning framework, tools or templates could include: activity design template; activity appraisal/assessment template; gender analysis checklist. Each of these should require gender and power analyses with prompts to ensure the analysis includes the perspectives of those marginalised due to gender identity, and consideration of barriers to their inclusion. The planning process should also include explicit strategies to actively promote gender equality and address power inequalities. 

2.3.3 Members promote opportunities for those marginalised due to their gender, in particular women and girls, to participate in decision-making.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of strategies for those marginalised due to gender identity, in particular women and girls, to participate in decision-making.

Guidance

There are persisting obstacles to female participation in decision-making due to power imbalances, stereotypes, traditions or discrimination. Strategies that seek to overcome these obstacles might include:

  • capacity building activities for women and girls that foster leadership skills and build confidence
  • training activities for young people, women, and men on women’s right to participation and roles in decision-making
  • revising the rules and procedures of committee structures so that they require female representation
  • supporting women’s leadership in the workplace through greater inclusion in senior positions
  • ensuring that meetings are scheduled at times that suit the other responsibilities of women
  • ensuring that there is safe transport for women to attend decision making forums

2.3.4 Members monitor and evaluate their progress in promoting gender equality and equity.

Verifier

Monitoring and evaluation framework, tools, or templates which require, or approaches which consistently show evidence of, the assessment of progress in promoting gender equality and equity.  

Guidance

Examples of the way an organisation might demonstrate this commitment include:

  • reporting data is disaggregated by gender
  • progress reporting templates include a sub section on gender ensuring dedicated reflection and analysis
  • a gender checklist is used for monitoring visits
  • output or outcome indicators explicitly relate to progress in promoting gender equality and equity
  • gender equality and equity is included as a dedicated inquiry area in evaluation terms of reference.

Refer to the resource kit on selecting and using gender indicators 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.

  • Members have a gender focal person.
  • Members support initiatives where the primary or explicit focus is the promotion of women’s rights and/or gender equality and equity.

  • Members provide gender training for their governing body, staff, volunteers and partners covering topics such as gender analysis, gender programming, gender equality and equity, gender identity and gender-related rights.

  • Members support initiatives that seek to build the capacities of those marginalised due to gender identity, in particular women and girls to determine their own priorities and advocate for their own equality and equity. 
  • Members promote women’s rights, gender equality and equity, and gender issues more broadly, in communications with the public and external stakeholders. 

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Recruitment and employment

  • Ensure that the governing body of your organisation has a balanced representation of men and women
  • Ensure that job advertisements, interview styles and the composition of interview panels are gender-sensitive
  • Actively improve gender balance by seeking and recognising the skills and potential in women candidates
  • Provide additional and tailored support for women to facilitate their career advancement
  • Provide gender training for all staff, including support staff
  • Create enabling work environments for women and men, including family-friendly working hours, the opportunity to work from home or even the provision of child care
  • Recognise the equal value and importance of both women and men in parenting children, and provide reasonable and fair parental leave that supports both parents
  • Establish and support mechanisms to address harassment and discrimination that occurs on the basis of gender
  • Pay women and men an equal salary for equal work.

Gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is a strategy to ensure that the issue of gender is not treated in isolation or as a separate issue, but is recognised as a consideration in all policies, programs and projects, whether in design, analysis, implementation, monitoring or evaluation. Gender mainstreaming promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in all aid and development activities. Some practical examples include:

  • Develop an organisation-wide policy on gender equity
  • Provide staff with relevant training and other capacity-building to build gender awareness and gender analysis skills
  • Support staff to recognise that traditional gender roles in program countries are often different from those in Australia and work with staff and partners to sensitively and respectfully challenge culture norms where appropriate 
  • Ensure gender analysis is part of all aid and development activities, at each stage of the program or project cycle
  • Develop gender guidelines and gender-sensitive checklists for use in the project cycle
  • Analyse the expected impact of projects by gender, and incorporate analysis into project design guidelines
  • Identify gender indicators within monitoring and evaluation plans.
  • Collect and analyse gender-disaggregated data in monitoring and evaluation activities and use it to inform learning and future project design
  • Specifically address gender in human resources materials
  • Ensure that specific gender-related projects have staff that are appropriate and who will be able to build positive and constructive relationships with both men and women

Gender-specific initiatives

A gender-specific initiative addresses gender as its prime focus. Examples include programs to increase women’s literacy or increase women’s income. These initiatives can be used to reduce identified gender disparities that may have been revealed in the gender analysis that is recommended to precede program design and development. Here are some practical suggestions to improve the effectiveness of gender-specific initiatives:

  • Involve local women in program-related decision-making, ensure that women choose their own priorities and ensure women are not excluded when final program decisions are made
  • Engage with or support the establishment of women’s organisations in the field
  • Support initiatives owned by women’s groups
  • Recognise the needs and challenges of women involved in your program. For example, for meetings, agree on arrangements that are acceptable to women relating to appropriate facilitators, scheduling, duration, timing, location, safety and transportation needs.
  • Implement gender-responsive budgeting, where funds are specifically allocated to gender-related activities and women are involved in decision-making to allocate financial resources
  • Ensure that staff involved in programs have a firm grounding in understanding gender, through activities such as training, workshops, independent study or formal gender studies courses
  • Plan the involvement of local women in programs respecting their desires and challenges, such as a traditional work load or schedule, and ensure programs do not require more work or involvement than they are able to provide
  • Appoint a focal person within your organisation with accountability for monitoring the gendered impact of your aid and development activities
  • Work with men to help them understand the importance of women’s activities and women’s rights and the benefit that this will bring to the whole community.

Partners

Organisations should engage in active dialogue with partner organisations on the importance of gender equality and provide support for them to build gender awareness. Here are some practical examples:

  • Include a commitment to gender equity in partnership agreements
  • Support workplace practices that promote the equal employment of women
  • Work with partners to ensure that both women and men are represented at a governance level
  • Promote dialogue and reflection on how projects improve the position of women and what more can be done
  • Assist partners to mainstream gender into their policies and strategies
  • Conduct gender training 
  • Implement gender-responsive budgeting
  • Share gender checklists and guidelines
  • Work in partnership on initiatives related to gender
  • Consider how to support government agencies to become more gender sensitive
  • Jointly advocate for the improvement of the position of women.

Responding to discrimination and abuse

In all Australian states and territories, sex discrimination is a crime (as per the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act (1984) that addresses discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, potential pregnancy or family responsibilities or involving sexual harassment). To respond to discrimination and abuse on the basis of gender:

  • Report violence or gender discrimination incidents to the CEO or another nominated person in an organisation
  • In Australia, report allegations of sex discrimination by a staff member or volunteer in the organisation to the state police
  • Treat all concerns raised seriously
  • Ensure that all parties will be treated fairly with prime consideration of the principles of natural justice
  • Handle all reports professionally, confidentially and expediently

Resources

Commitment 2.4 We promote the empowerment of people with disabilities.

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. 

2.4.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guideline document that commits the Member to the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Guidance

An example statement on inclusion of people with disabilities from an ACFID Member that would satisfy this indicator is provided below:

"In everything we do, CBM strives to work for and with people with disability, to promote their human rights and empowerment. Both in Australia and overseas we’re working with many government bodies and development agencies, to promote the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities and to ensure a political commitment to disability in aid and development activities."

2.4.2 Members’ planning process includes consultation with people with disabilities and contextual analysis of the barriers to social inclusion and participation.

Verifier

Design or planning framework, tools, templates which require or approaches which consistently show evidence of consultation with people with disabilities and contextual analysis of the barriers to social inclusion and participation.          

Guidance

Design or planning framework, tools or templates could include the use of an activity design template and activity appraisal/assessment template which require the explicit analysis of needs of people with disabilities in the community or organisation. These tools should include prompts to ensure the analysis includes the perspectives of those marginalised due to disability, and consideration of barriers to their inclusion. Planning approaches should involve direct consultation with people with disabilities and disabled person’s organisations (DPOs) and contextual analysis of the barriers to inclusion and participation.

2.4.3 Members promote opportunities for people with disabilities and/or their representative organisations to participate in decision-making.

Verifier

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of people with disabilities and/or their representative organisations participating in decision-making about the initiatives that affect them.

Guidance

Approaches which promote opportunities for people with disabilities to be included in policy and program related decision-making could be incorporated throughout design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.  Strategies that seek to promote these opportunities include: consulting local disabled people's organisations; tailoring approaches to include people with physical impairments, unseen or undisclosed impairments, psychosocial or intellectual impairments; including people with disabilities or a DPO on the design or monitoring and evaluation teams; and employing people with disabilities. 

2.4.4 Members monitor and evaluate their progress in promoting the empowerment of people with disabilities.

Verifier

Monitoring and evaluation framework, tools, templates which require or approaches which consistently show evidence of the assessment of progress in promoting empowerment of people with disabilities.

Guidance

Monitoring and evaluation approaches could include consultation with DPOs, the collection of data that disaggregates for people with disabilities, and dedicated analysis on how the initiative has promoted the empowerment of people with disabilities.

Monitoring and evaluation frameworks may have a set of output or outcome indicators that explicitly relate to progress in promoting empowerment of people with disabilities. Monitoring tools, or templates could include explicit sub-sections that prompt analysis of the extent to which the initiative has worked with people with disabilities, employed strategies to promote the participation of people with disabilities, and provided opportunities to empower people with disabilities. The analysis of the empowerment of people with disabilities could be included as a dedicated inquiry area in evaluation terms of reference. 

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.

  • Members have a disability inclusion focal person. 
  • Members support activities where the primary focus is the promotion of rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.
  • Members provide training for their governing body, staff, volunteers and partners which covers disability inclusion issues and the rights articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
  • Members support activities that seek to build the capacities of disabled people’s organisations (and other groups of people with disabilities) to determine their own priorities and advocate for the fulfilment of the rights articulated in the CRPD.
  • Members promote the principles of disability inclusivity in communications with the public/external stakeholders. 

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational and policy

  • Include disability as a priority issue in organisational development, policy dialogue, communications, negotiations and partnerships
  • Identify and address barriers to ensure persons with disabilities have equal access to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications systems, and to other public facilities and services in both urban and in rural areas
  • Prepare and implement an affirmative action plan to include people with disabilities as staff members
  • Advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities such as to local and national governments on institutional or policy barriers that prevent full inclusion of persons with disabilities
  • Mainstream disability in all sectors (including education, health, livelihoods, water and sanitation and disaster management), and include people with disabilities in line with the human-rights based approach and the rights articulated in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Recognise the central role that people with a disability play in representing their own interests and priorities; and accordingly develop and support partnerships with Disabled People’s Organisations in developing countries which play a vital role in giving people with disability a voice
  • Support initiatives to reduce the stigma that surrounds disability, which can be one of the largest barriers to full participation in community and economic life
  • Promote initiatives for economic empowerment and access to economic opportunities for people with a disability
  • Recognise that the lived experiences and perspectives of people with disabilities are diverse and will vary according to age, gender, class, caste, impairment type and other factors. Better understanding of this will contribute to effective approaches, which will differ in different contexts. 

Programs

  • In the design phase of any initiative, analyse the experiences of those with and without disability for that particular context
  • Take into account the interaction of gender and disability which means that discrimination, access and inequalities may be different between men and women, girls and boys, family members and carers
  • Use a strengths-based approach, focusing on the abilities, strengths and priorities of people and organisations, and their efforts to achieve self-reliance
  • Promote and enable the active participation, inclusion and contributions of people with a disability through the whole project cycle including:
    • Inclusion of people with a disability into programming guidelines
    • Developing program document templates for inclusion
    • Specific budget allocation to disability inclusion
  • Complement programs or initiatives with targeted, additional support and services to empower people with disabilities (such as programs that focus on children with a disability) and provide them with equal access and opportunities to empower them. Working in partnerships or through referral networks may be useful to do this.

Resources

Commitment 2.5 We promote the participation of children.

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. 

2.5.1 Members whose initiatives prioritise children demonstrate an organisational commitment to their participation.

Verifier

Policy, statement or guideline document that commits the Member to the participation of children in development and humanitarian initiatives which target them.

Guidance

A policy, statement or guideline document could include an outline of the principles underpinning an organisation's commitment to the participation of children; and how these principles will be implemented to ensure that children are active participants in initiatives that affect or target them.  It may outline strategies to involve children in initiatives, such as working with girls and boys to help them develop leadership, networking and influencing skills; including young people in decision making committees; and promoting positive cultural attitudes towards the participation and inclusion of children.

UNICEF has developed a fact sheet on children's right to participation, which may help inform the development of an organisation's policy, statement or guidance document. This can be found in the Resources Section below.

2.5.2 Members whose initiatives prioritise children enable children’s views to influence initiative designs.

Verifier

Design or planning framework, tools, templates which require or approaches which consistently show evidence consultation with children, contextual analysis of their needs and rights, and identification of opportunities for their participation.

Guidance

Approaches which show evidence in this area might include allocation of resources to analysing the needs and rights of children; engaging staff with specific skills and methods to facilitate consultation with children; referring to research undertaken by other child focused organisations; and developing strategies that promote the participation of children.

Design or planning framework, tools, and templates might provide guidance on how to consult with children and include dedicated sub-sections that prompt analysis of their needs, rights and opportunities for participation. 

2.5.3 Members whose initiatives prioritise children have complaints handling processes that are child friendly.

Verifier

Complaints handling processes are child friendly.

Guidance

There are some great guidelines available on developing child friendly complaints handling processes. The Commissioner for Young People in Western Australia resource, which can be tailored to your organisation's operating context, can be found 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.

  • Members whose initiatives prioritise children have a staff person with specialised expertise in child-centred development. 

  • Members whose initiatives prioritise children support activities that seek to build the capacities and confidence of children to participate and influence issues that affect them. 
  • Members whose initiatives prioritise children provide child-centred development and/or child rights training for their governing body, staff, volunteers and partners. Members provide child-centred development and/or child rights training for their governing body, staff, volunteers and partners.

GUIDANCE AND RESOURCES 

Good Practice Guidance

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

Organisational

  • Establish child participation, child empowerment and/or child rights-based performance indicators in strategic, organisational and other plans and periodically evaluate and reflect on progress against these targets. 

  • Report periodically to your governing body, broader constituency and relevant primary stakeholders on your achievements relating to the participation and empowerment of children and child right issues more broadly.
  • Promote the value of child-centred development in communications with the public and external stakeholders.
  • Support activities that seek to build the capacities and confidence of children to participate and influence issues that affect them. 
  • Undertake targeted research to understand the perspectives of children.
  • Ensure the perspectives of children inform project designs of initiatives that affect them.
  • Conduct periodic reviews of the nature of your complaints handling processes and the usage, involving children in seeking their perspectives.
  • Test the design of your initiatives against the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure they are in alignment. For example, is the activity in the best interests of the child? Is any form of discrimination present? Do the most disadvantaged and marginalized children have opportunities to participate and are their voices heard? Are children genuinely participating? Can children make a difference in decision-making processes? 

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