Complaint mechanism is an essential component of accountability towards affected communities. It enables stronger participation, contributes to improving program quality and helps to prevent fraud and diversion. All complaint mechanisms have to be designed so that all the affected population, including women, men, girls and boys with disabilities, are informed, can access and use it and receive feedback on the actions taken upon the complaint.
Feedback and complaints systems must consider literacy levels, protection risks, available resources and the security situation of the local context as well as using culturally acceptable ways of voicing complaints.
In addition, to ensure that all persons with disabilities can access and use the mechanisms, the following could be considered:
- Plan and budget to design a feedback and complaint system that uses various communication means: oral, written and easy-to-read, Braille, audio, face-to-face, via website or through meetings;
- Complaint box for anonymous complaints will not work for people who cannot read or write or for blind persons. Ensure that other means are available as for example sending text message or leave a voicemail on a phone number.
- Persons with disabilities and their representative organisations should participate in the development of the feedback and complaints mechanism.
- Include home visits or phone calls to people that are isolated.
- Ensure anonymity and security for persons with disabilities that make complaints with the support of a family member, caregiver or personal assistant.
- Follow-up and response to complaint mechanisms have also to be provided in accessible format and ensuring safety and protection of persons with disabilities.
Concerning feedback and complaints on sexual harassment, abuse and violence, make sure that women and girls with disabilities can report safely. Women and girls that are deaf or those that have psychosocial disabilities or intellectual disabilities might be more at risk in some contexts. Knowing that perpetrators may often be relatives or family members makes this particularly important as some women and girls with disabilities can be dependent upon their family. This requires to reaching out and training of humanitarian fieldworkers, and ensuring that training modules on protection, on gender-based violence, or any related in-house training are mentioning women and girls with disabilities specifically.
Danish Refugee Council. Complaints Mechanism Handbook. 2008.
CBM. Forthcoming publication. Operational guideline for disability-inclusive cash transfers in humanitarian action. 2018.
CBM, Help Age and Handicap International. Humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities, 2018.