Module 5: ‘Cost implications and donor requirements’ is in section (A) ‘Policy and Planning’ of our three-part series ‘Keeping up with COVID-19: Essential guidance for NGO security risk management’.
In the first quarter of 2020, aid agencies found themselves beginning work on projects that were designed before the onset of the pandemic. Flexibility in spending and approvals became key for most institutional donors who were keen to support their partners to adapt their programmes in a safe and effective manner in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many donors quickly adopted and communicated the stance that as long as the original objectives of the project were being met, the detailed project plans and individual budget lines could be changed.
By June 2020, the IASC Results Group 5 on Humanitarian Financing produced a proposal for a harmonised approach to funding flexibility in the context of COVID-19. This document outlined a series of recommendations to ensure donors took similar approaches to reduce the complexities involved in spending, reporting and approving changes. Currently, the impact of COVID-19 is still unfolding, and there is a steep learning curve around how we as a sector need to keep up with the evolving changes.
The following is an outline of the additional risk management costs that may be incurred by aid agencies as a result of the pandemic, and how organisations and donors can better cooperate to accommodate those costs.
This module was written by Elizabeth Detwiler, Independent Consultant, based on a literature review and series of interviews conducted with Tom Bendall, WaterAid; Sabina Brimson, Danish Red Cross; Will Carter, Norwegian Refugee Council; Bidzina Karchava, Norwegian Refugee Council; Christopher Nyamandi, Save the Children; Fredrik Palsson, Danish Refugee Council; Christian Pibitz, Norwegian Refugee Council; Ben Whelan, Access Now; Najwa Whistler, Independent Consultant; and Hye Jin Zumkehr, Independent Consultant. In addition, thank you to the donor representatives who interviewed for this module.