FY 16: From Feedback to Action: Strategies to Improve the Use of Beneficiary Feedback (International Rescue Committee)

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
October 7, 2016


Multilateral agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) collect and receive varying types of feedback from program beneficiaries and other stakeholders. However, a lot of data is usually collected and not all of the feedback is always utilized. For the humanitarian response system to be more accountable to the populations it seeks to serve, it must better understand why feedback is not currently being used systematically in decision-making within agencies, and proactively take steps to encourage its use. Observations from the International Rescue Committee suggest that beneficiary feedback is left out of program decision-making processes because it competes with other, higher prioritized information, such as expenditure, output and activity data, and formal evaluations. This seems to be because humanitarian organization staff are unsure how to interpret feedback coming from beneficiaries, as it may be partial, contradictory or perceived as “subjective” and the staff may perceive other data linked to logical frameworks to be more important. This study will use a mixed method approach to gather data in Uganda, a site with a wide range of humanitarian actors and diverse beneficiary population (including camp/non camp settings and urban/rural settings).


  • Complete a literature review on decision-making practices and feedback utilization, including lessons learned from previously tested electronic platforms
  • Identify simple, effective and replicable processes for interpreting beneficiary feedback in order to inform program decision-making by key humanitarian agency staff.
  • Identify effective strategies to increase the motivation of key humanitarian agency staff to use beneficiary feedback in program decision-making

The findings and recommendations from this research project will form the basis for tools and processes to improve the use of beneficiary feedback in humanitarian action.