Diouf lives near the border between two countries. Following the outbreak of civil war that led to an influx of population to his side of the border, he is working on a shelter project for refugees living in a temporary camp. His manager, Bineta, has identified a gap in his knowledge of refugee law, and has decided that he needed to take a course before he can further assist the camp population. At this point in the crisis, Diouf and Bineta need to be able to identify and use a quality learning provider that will be able to help him.
A couple of years later, the refugee camp has closed down and the project is ending. Diouf wants to look for a new role, either at home or in his neighbouring country. He has learnt a lot during his work in the camp and thinks he has lots of skills and knowledge that could be transferred to a new organisation and role. Before he gets on the job market, he wants to be able to demonstrate this to potential new employers. Diouf needs to be able to identify and use quality assessment providers.
Without having access to quality learning or assessment, not only would Diouf’s mission have been compromised, but also his chances to find work elsewhere after the crisis would have been limited. Yet how can quality be established, met, and demonstrated?
This scenario, depicting the professional life of a fictional humanitarian worker, was used in Senegal on May 16th by four partner organizations whose goal is to assist employers and professionals responding to crises by co-creating quality standards for learning and assessment providers. With this project, Bioforce, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, Pearson Education and RedR UK, are aiming to help create standards that will lead providers towards excellence in their field anywhere in the world, making them recognizable as quality providers to professionals working in the humanitarian and development sectors, so that Diouf and Bineta can have access to the contextually relevant quality services that they need to become enabled to fulfill their missions.
In Senegal, the aforementioned partners organized a consultation workshop where 29 regional stakeholders were able to contribute to the establishment of quality standards that had been drafted from an earlier pre-consultation phase. Mamadou Sidibé, a veteran trainer with more than fifty years’ experience in this field, welcomed the initiative as an added value to the regional mechanisms that exist to accredit training in the development sector: “certification exists at the higher education level in my country, but not for professional learning providers outside the scope of specific projects. The standards will help us become recognized as stand-alone organizations.”
This workshop was part of seven consultations that will take place throughout the world until the end of July 2017. Paramount to this endeavor will be the co-creation methodology of the standards: these will be made by the sector, for the sector, throughout the world. For Abdoulaye Sarr, a human resources manager, this co-creation methodology is an essential aspect of gaining acceptance for the standards: “we cannot own what we did not establish within our contexts.”Equal accessibility to quality learning and assessment anywhere in the world can have a positive impact on the localization and the contextualization of aid. Quality standards can be seen as a tool to access quality learning and assessment in any context.