Following an initial stakeholder workshop in November 2016, a decision was made to move forward with a pilot project to test a harmonized donor narrative reporting framework. The harmonized reporting framework that has been tested is known as the “8+3 template”, which was developed with the support of GPPi through a consultative/participatory process with donors and humanitarian agencies. When using the template, donors should not ask more than the eight core questions and only up to three of the six additional ones, hence the name ‘8+3 template’.
The harmonizing reporting pilot to test the new 8+3 template began on June 1, 2017 in Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia and ended on May 31, 2019. At the beginning of the pilot, 7 bilateral donors, 4 United Nations agencies, and 24 partners declared their willingness to test the 8+3 template and join the pilot. Two more donors joined the pilot at a later stage.
Based on the feedback collected through interviews and questionnaires, the Final Report of the pilot shows that partners particularly value three aspects of the harmonized reporting template: its ease of use, its focus on impact, and how harmonized reporting advances good practices in project implementation. The template simplifies the reporting process by using simple language in the questions and giving clear instructions on the information and level of detail users should provide for each question.
Piloting the harmonized reporting template showed that most users view the new template as a significant improvement over existing donor templates since it simplifies and standardizes the reporting process considerably. As such, the new harmonized reporting template is an important building block in achieving the Grand Bargain commitment to “simplify and harmonize reporting requirements.” All interviewed partners valued the simplification and predictability the 8+3 template introduces in the reporting process.
At the Annual Meeting of the Grand Bargain, the 8+3 harmonized narrative template was highlighted by the Eminent Person as a success of the Grand Bargain that can now be scaled up. Adopting the finalized template represents a crucial opportunity for Signatories to implement their own individual GB commitments to harmonize and simplify reporting requirements, but also offers an opportunity to achieve collective progress regarding system-wide harmonization. The more donors adopt the 8+3 template as a standard, the greater the benefit of harmonization of the 8+3 template, reducing the reporting burden across the humanitarian system. Some donors and UN agencies have committed to do so already, but more Signatories need to adopt the template in order to achieve the collective progress that the Grand Bargain intends to achieve.
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