While obtaining CHS certification was not an easy feat but involved a comprehensive process, the Core Humanitarian Standards Audit is conducted through independent verification and certification against the CHS by an accredited, third-party auditor – currently this service is offered by Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI) and authorized by CHS Alliance. HQAI’s support was tremendous, including the grant we received, we worked closely with the HQAI Team and Auditors, who were very helpful and accessible and explained the whole process and the stages. The audit itself motivated the team, who saw it as a challenge to see the scores, and they were proud of their achievements so far; they also set themselves the task of working on any comments or areas for improvement as set by the auditors.
The depth of the audit, ranging from documents and desk review to staff, stakeholders and beneficiaries’ interviews, brought new aspects and dimensions, enabling us to see what we do from different angles and understand the commitments in depth as the latter are somehow interrelated and have some level of complexity in differentiating what exactly each commitment cover. The Verification Framework that was utilized through the audit is designed to ensure a consistent, systematic approach to assessing and verifying how the CHS is applied. It sets out indicators for the requirements (Key Actions and Organizational Responsibilities) under each CHS Commitment and Quality Criterion and contains guiding questions to inform each of those indicators. “CHS is about supporting local communities and local actors; working with local auditors made our job easier, given the level of awareness of the context and working environment.” quoted Mr. Essam Abdely -The HiHFAD Program Development & Grants Manager-.