Daily Management Review

Rate My Aid could smarten the process of providing Aid by UN Agencies


04/12/2015


A crowd sourced feedback mechanism in the lines TripAdvisor could very well streamline and revolutionize the working of aid agencies,



TripAdvisor could potentially be act as a model for quick crowdsourced feedback which highlights the performance, ambiance and eco-friendliness of restaurants and hotels and pressures them to either evolve and become more ecologically conscious or remain in the dumps of business and ultimately close shop.

The scope for improvement in the development and aid sector is huge, and the feedbacks limited to mainly quick corridor conversations and the occasional mail. If aid and developmental agencies adopt the TripAdvisor model, it could be a game changer for the sector.

This begs the questions how would ‘Rate My Aid’ affect the working of aid agencies in a humanitarian crisis? Typically in such a scenario, the affected population have little choice as to who services their needs. Since, the affected population is surveyed, previous feedbacks could potentially be cross-referenced against data of previous donors and a leaderboard created for UN Aid Agencies. This can naturally have further subcategories such as leaderboards for INGOs, local NGOs. This way the beneficiaries can select the service providers instead of the service providers boasting about the quality of aid they provide.

Further, even Aid Agencies could rate each other. A system can be built wherein the beneficiaries could anonymously provide feedback on their donors. Questions such as, did the donors take the pains to actually listen to their problems and then provide aid? Did the beneficiaries have unfeasible demands? Did any aid money or materials go missing? What was the quantum of the cost overruns?

Wouldn’t it be an eye opener if one could just click on any given feedback, for any given company, and find a listing of companies which are in fact serious about providing aid and those which are just the UN’s public disaster in the making.

You could take this a step further and include the individuals in Aid Agencies as well. Why should beneficiaries put up with rude aid workers? Just as police officers have a unique identifier number, aid workers could have one as well. When this is combined with the benefits of crowd sourcing Aid Agencies may realise that many of its workers could probably do with some training and people can finally be treated with dignity and respect.

If the TripAdvisor model can be applied to Aid Agencies, with Rate My Aid, why stop at just that? The same model can be applied to Consultants, Journalists, Research proposals, civil servants, advocates, campaigners, to name a few.

Sure, there still may be issues with this system that needs ironing out, such as distinguishing actual feedback from beneficiaries and from peers. Perhaps, TripAdvisor can chip on and clarify how exactly they solve these kinds of issues.

This system has an inherent risk of blacklists. When designing the nitty-gritty of the system, one has to naturally make a provision for an appeal process that evens out unfair or biased reviews. Sure it could be termed as bureaucratic, but nevertheless, if this sort of a system is put in place, it could definitely be a game changer.

References:
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/10/rate-my-aid-and-other-ways-that-tripadvisor-could-revolutionise-development-work







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