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ReliefWatch: designing a new accountability service for people affected by humanitarian crises

Research reports

Written by John Bryant

This report details a design project for a new independent service for the users of humanitarian assistance. ReliefWatch allows aid recipients to provide qualitative feedback on the assistance and services they receive, and collates their responses to provide useful and actionable feedback to humanitarian staff and donors. In doing so, it works to facilitate a more direct relationship between humanitarian organisations and the communities with which they work.

ReliefWatch was designed to address key gaps in the humanitarian sector by facilitating greater participation and providing accountability to affected people. The concept borrows from the global trend towards online rating platforms, which allow users to send feedback directly to companies and provide incentives for businesses that rely more upon maintaining reputation than the threat of punitive measures. 

The ReliefWatch project team – comprising designers, humanitarian practitioners and researchers – used an iterative design process to create and refine the concept with affected communities and humanitarian staff, using northern Iraq as the test context. This report summarises the experiences and lessons learned through the design and development process. The video gives an overview to the project.

ReliefWatch: designing a new accountability service for people affected by humanitarian crises

Key elements of this concept have been integrated into and taken forward by Loop, a new initiative that will develop and deliver an independent digital feedback monitoring system to encourage and enable greater engagement with people affected by humanitarian crises. To find out more visit www.OurLoop.io.

Note: some of the names of those interviewed in this film have been changed.