In contexts where humanitarian actors and communities face high insecurity, it becomes much harder to assess the reach and effectiveness of assistance. Together with 18 learning partners in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and South Sudan, we identified different strategies for monitoring aid.


We found that:

  1. Current monitoring systems prioritise accountability to donors rather than to the people receiving aid. Crisis-affected communities rightfully demand more direct communication and participation in programming. Read our paper (PDF) on listening to communities in insecure settings.
  2. Monitoring needs to be better targeted and more strategic, to avoid creating unnecessary layers at agency, cluster, consortium, donor and country levels. Strengthening systems and personnel at the ground level should be the first priority for further investments. The Common Humanitarian Fund in South Sudan offers a good example for combining verification with capacity development.
  3. Third-party monitoring can provide a valuable layer of verification where access for own staff is limited, but it should not replace implementing organisations’ own monitoring. See the report on the use of Third-Party Monitoring (PDF) in Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.
  4. Technology can improve monitoring, but brings extra risks in insecure settings. This toolkit (PDF) summarises the benefits, costs and challenges of different applications.


Main Research Outputs:

Eyes and Ears on the Ground: Monitoring aid in insecure environments

Listening to communities in insecure environments

The use of Third-Party Monitoring in insecure contexts

Technologies for monitoring in insecure environments



For more information about this part of the SAVE programme, contact GPPi: