Fostering NGO's and frontline responders' engagement


The 10 Grand Bargain workstreams

Greater Transparency
More support and funding tools to local and national responders
Increase the use and coordination of cash-based programming
Reduce Duplication and Management costs with periodic functional reviews
Improve Joint and Impartial Needs Assessments
A Participation Revolution: include people receiving aid in making the decisions which affect their lives
Enhanced quality funding through reduced earmarking and multi-year planning and funding
Enhanced quality funding through reduced earmarking and multi-year planning and funding
Harmonize and simplify reporting requirements
Enhance engagement between humanitarian and development actors

Reduce Duplication and Management costs with periodic functional reviews


Aid organisations and donors commit to:

  1. Reduce the costs and measure the gained efficiencies of delivering assistance with technology (including green) and innovation. Aid organisations will provide the detailed steps to be taken by the end of 2017.
Examples where use of technology can be expanded:
  • Mobile technology for needs assessments/post-distribution monitoring;
  • Digital platforms and mobile devices for financial transactions;
  • Communication with affected people via call centres and other feedback mechanisms such as SMS text messaging;
  • Biometrics;
  • Sustainable energy.
  1. Harmonise partnership agreements and share partner assessment information as well as data about affected     people, after data protection safeguards have been met by the end of 2017, in order to save time and avoid duplication in operations.
  2. (Aid organizations commit to:) Provide transparency and comparable cost structures.
  3. (Aid organizations commit to:) Reduce duplication of management and other costs through maximising efficiencies in procurement and logistics for commonly required goods and services. Shared procurement should leverage the comparative advantage of the aid organisations and promote innovation.
  4. (Donors commit to:) Make joint regular functional monitoring and performance reviews and reduce individual donor assessments, evaluations, verifications, risk management and oversight processes.

The co-conveners: UNHCR and Japan
NGOs co-champion: Norwegian Refugee Council
Helpful contacts: Luca Peciarolo
 Official IASC page on this workstream available here

Main progress in the last 3 years:

Reduce duplication and management costs with periodic functional reviews has had promising steps, especially due to NGO-led initiatives, on the harmonization of partnership agreements, joint logistics and procurement procedures and transparent and comparable cost structures. According to the annual independent report (2019), however, the progress remains uneven. On the donors’ front, there has been reluctance to move to reduce individual donor assessments. The co-conveners continued to focus primarily on instituting measures to reduce costs within the UN group, capitalising on UN reform efforts to gain traction on certain commitments.

From the (I)NGO side, signatory reports indicate that they are making progress to provide transparent and comparable cost structures. NRC is working in collaboration with nine NGO partners and Humentum to design tools to implement the recommendations of its 2017 study on harmonising cost classifications and financial reporting among NGOs. This is done through the Money Where it Counts initiative. The actions and tools developed will now go into the testing phase, namely the plan to establish a two-year long pilot project with a group of donors and agencies. Beside testing the protocol in terms of transparency, budget performance, and timeliness gains, the pilot would also function as a platform to support interested agencies in the path from the initial analysis to the endorsement and finally compliance with the protocol. A solid governance structure and monitoring and evaluation framework are planned to ensure the pilot is able to measure its effectiveness and modify the protocol as necessary based on evidence.

IRC is working with Mercy Corps and Save the Children to roll out a sector-wide pilot of its SCAN (Systematic Cost Analysis) tool in 2019. The tool, which aims to improve the transparency and comparability of cost data across INGOs, was used in 2018 by IRC, Mercy Corps, NRC, DRC and Oxfam in Iraq to assess the comparative costs of cash delivery programmes.

Why should you engage?

Having a common system in place in the humanitarian sector for cost classification and financial reporting template allows for a greater efficiency and reduce management costs for commonly required goods and services. It has the potential to reduce the time spent on meeting numerous individual financial budgeting and reporting requirements.

How can you engage?

  • Develop concrete suggestions for a harmonised system for cost classification and financial reporting and ensure the buy-in from donors, UN, and NGOs;
  • Engage with the commitments of workstream 9 on harmonization  of  reporting  and  with  workstream 1  on transparency;
  • Find functional connections with other existing processes such as the UN Procurement Network, UN Data Cube, MOPAN and GHD;
  • Pilot the methodology and share lessons learned and good practices;
  • Take part in NGO working groups to further refine the tools and is proactively engaging interested stakeholders on the possibility of launching a pilot


[1] The Grand Bargain Annual Report 2019, ODI June 2019




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