Development and launch of an approved learning strategy linking organizational risk management, reporting, evaluation, learning and training.
Expansion of training opportunities for field staff through new platforms and institutional arrangements with UN and academic partners.
- Launch of new mechanisms for aggregate reporting across field offices, improving accountability and performance-trend analysis.
Year In Review
To guarantee high-quality services and partner support, OCHA must be a learning organization, capable of assessing and applying lessons, transferring best practices to staff across the globe and ensuring accountability towards each of its commitments. In 2012, OCHA promoted this culture of learning by launching the OCHA Organizational Learning Strategy (OLS). The strategy lays out a multi-year plan to draw from lessons from evaluations, audits and performance reporting, and to develop the capacities of OCHA staff to perform their jobs better. It also introduces an improved learning architecture that uses many learning opportunities from within and outside the organization.
In line with the new strategy’s goals, steady progress was made to increase learning opportunities for OCHA staff in a strategic, demand-driven and cost-effective manner. Priority was given to enhance access for field colleagues, with a strong emphasis on national staff. The OCHA Field Learning Management System (FLMS) was launched in November 2012 with UNDP, providing over 750 national staff with access to a wide range of courses covering management, communication and information technology, as well as UN-specific courses. For international field staff and HQ staff, OCHA initiated a partnership with OHRM to pilot a global learning management system. The platform will guide staff towards a more tailored set of training options. It will also give management a better tracking system to ensure that priority learning is taking place while measuring OCHA’s return on investments. In 2012, strategic alliances with UN and academic partners provided a more efficient means of expanding the menu of learning services for staff. OCHA also adopted webinars as an innovative, cost-effective approach to delivering programmes to more staff globally.
OCHA is developing a core curriculum with defined learning platforms, setting out induction and in-service foundational learning for major job functions, providing a basis for more a systematic and strategic approach to staff development and learning across OCHA. A strategy and an action plan on national staff capacity development have been developed, using the findings of a needs assessment undertaken in the first half of 2012. Foundational learning programmes for information management officers, public information officers are being developed and the Humanitarian Field Coordination Programme (HFCP) is being enhanced with new learning methods and updated content.
During the year, OCHA staff took advantage of Communities of Practice (CoPs) to complement training and to share new and innovative ways to approach their work and solve problems. CoPs are now active platforms for many administrative officers, HAOs working on access monitoring and reporting, and dedicated staff in information management, ICT and reporting. CoPs encourage professional development and capacity-building in applying new tools, methods and procedures for working more effectively. Other staff members have reported significant support from colleagues, saving time and ensuring that they remain at the forefront of their practice areas.
In 2012, the establishment and alignment of OCHA’s corporate accountability system paid dividends. Through increased information flows between the diverse elements of a comprehensive reporting system and the standardized performance frameworks for country and regional offices, OCHA strengthened the range and quality of its analytical products to inform senior management and partners on performance trends. New monitoring tools were rolled out, including a country office survey and a partner survey to capture the perception of OCHA staff and OCHA’s closest partners on field performance. This translated into a cross-sectional analysis on regional and country office performance at mid-year and will contribute to the organization’s ability to observe and assess performance over time.
The ERF global evaluation provided additional evidence and recommendations to strengthen OCHA’s pooled fund management, which was identified as a top-tier risk during a risk assessment conducted in 2011. OCHA also increased the transparency and accessibility of findings from evaluations and audits through an online tracking database made available to all OCHA staff.
In preparation for the development of the new Strategic Framework 2014-2017, a first internal stock take of OCHA’s progress on its strategic objectives since 2010 has been conducted. This will be complemented by a meta-evaluation in early 2013. Evaluations from former years were also reflected in new policy and guidance for gender and emergency response, and latest guidance found entrance to OCHA’s learning courses, such as induction training and the HFCP. To strengthen the internal learning mechanisms further, OCHA’s strategic planning, evaluation and guidance functions were combined into a new independent section.
- Objective 1.1 - Member States and Regional Organizations
- Objective 1.2 - Operational Partners
- Objective 1.3 - Preparedness
- Objective 1.4 - Analysis and System-Wide Learning
- Objective 2.1 - Accountable Humanitarian Coordination Leaders
- Objective 2.2 - Scaling Up and Drawing Down Operations
- Objective 2.3 - Tools and Services
- Objective 2.4 - The Humanitarian Programme Cycle
- Objective 3.1 - Funding and Financial Management
- Objective 3.2 - Surge and Staffing Solutions
- Objective 3.3 - Organizational Learning for Results