Shifting the power in the aid sector through accessible technology
Leading global affairs think-tank ODI has partnered with humanitarian technology charity Loop on a unique project to give recipients of development and humanitarian aid greater access to independent feedback tools.
The 18 month project, named Removing barriers to accountability, is supported by the digital philanthropy foundation McGovern.
The partnership will combine ODI’s research and network capabilities with Loop’s local-level implementation experience to expand the use and acceptance of Loop’s community-embedded feedback platform talktoloop.org. The platform launched in 2021 and currently supports affected populations in Zambia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Somalia, Poland and Ukraine.
Dr Stephanie Diepeveen, project co-lead for ODI commented:
“After many years of reporting on the barriers to progress from the Grand Bargain commitments and growing diverse calls for greater transparency and locally owned accountability, ODI sees a partnership with the Loop platform as providing a potentially vital opportunity to work together to surmount the obstacles to change.
“While there is increasing movement towards using technology for accountability by UN agencies and humanitarian donors, this is often not being done in ways that are community-led, collective, or fully independent. There remains relatively little commitment across projects, programmes and agencies to the implementation of independent mechanisms aimed at enabling recipients of aid to feedback on what they believe is important."
The partnership project, launching in March 2023, will specifically aim to strengthen the effectiveness of and engagement with the Loop platform, in order to support improved feedback loops between aid recipients, donors, and humanitarian agencies. Project learning and insights will be shared openly and with key humanitarian stakeholders to facilitate wider use and improved benefits.
Alex Ross, project co-lead and Loop CEO explained:
“Loop’s platform is not only independent but is also locally owned and run, giving it a uniquely community-based character. It is easily used by affected populations with access to only basic technology, and the platform manages feedback and sensitive reports safely. We’re delighted that ODI see this is a real-world opportunity to test, learn from, and improve uptake of a potentially highly significant approach to accountability and integrity in the humanitarian sector.
“We are very excited to be working with ODI. Loop has built and implemented a tool which is proving itself across six countries: working with ODI’s research capability will help us to make Loop even more effective, in more communities.”
The joint project combines evidence collection and analysis with implementation, aiming to support Loop and wider efforts to improve accountability in the humanitarian sector. ODI will lead on research and convening to identify opportunities to strengthen the Loop platform and build wider engagement/receptivity to user-centered accountability. Loop and ODI will work collaboratively to implement and test out different ways to strengthen the potential impact and use of the platform, building on successes in existing countries, as well as wider buy-in among humanitarian agencies and donors more broadly.