Basic monitoring of key humanitarian indicators has been in place in the Sahel since June 2012 but needs to be improved by strengthening data collection across the 9 affected countries in the region. In line with the Transformative Agenda and the Humanitarian Program Cycle (HPC), the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator (RHC) for Sahel requested UNOCHA and humanitarian partners to ensure timely and accurate performance monitoring of the response.
Based on lessons learned from the 2012 response, it was noted that there were significant obstacles to data collection in affected countries primarily lack of a centralized information-gathering system and standardization. The online reporting system (ORS) was launched in June 2014 across the Sahel countries (with the exception of Chad and Nigeria) with support from the international NGO IMMAP (funded through OFDA).
The overall goal of the project is improve analysis of response to complex emergencies in the Sahel. The System aims to establish and support standardized intra and inter-cluster data-collection in order to map out achievements for those projects funded through the Strategic Response Plan (SRP) in 9 Sahel countries, as well as bilaterally-funded projects. Through ORS, humanitarian actors will be able to monitor humanitarian interventions, with a focus on gap analysis, operational presence. Donors will be able to make sounder funding decisions, and senior leadership better strategic decisions for response across sectors and countries.
While OCHA plays a key role in the design and administration of ORS at the country and regional levels, the primary beneficiaries of the system are humanitarian actors working across the Sahel.
In 2014, some 50 per cent of the funded projects in the Sahel have been reported on ORS, covering the activities of 57 organizations and over 100 projects. ORS has been adopted by the HCs/RCs in all nine Sahel countries and all clusters have accepted and using a standardized global list of indicators and activities. ORS is widely used by cluster focal points across the region for data collection, project planning, monitoring, as well identifying humanitarian presence data (3Ws). ORS also provides each Sahel country office with a standardized data collection tool in order to monitor achievements and activities for its respective countries. Overall, the System enhances information-sharing across all humanitarian actors allowing donors, operational partners, and decision-makers to access information hosted on this system.
With the growing popularity for the tool, there are increased demands. Partners would like the tool to provide dynamic mapping capabilities and to also link the performance monitoring element to the 3Ws – changes which are currently being considered. Improvements to ORS are regularly required to ensure that outcomes expected from the needed Sahel strategic framework for 2015 are realized.
ORS‘s successful roll-out depends on the participation and contributions of humanitarian actors. The system’s buy-in by stakeholders is key to ensuring an accountable, transparent, and reliable monitoring of humanitarian work in the region.
The Sahel Online Reporting System (ORS) played a pivotal role during the response planning in 2015. As part of the SRP process, each cluster in the 9 Sahel countries uploaded a cluster framework (with cluster targets). Organisations uploading projects on the Online Projects System (OPS) were required to select activities for from the respective frameworks, their targets and locations. For the first time, it is possible to link project activities with cluster response plans. Over the year, partners will be required to report on their monthly achievements based on their set out targets. It is our hope that this will enhance transparency and accountability as well as data sharing among the humanitarian partners.
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