Accountability and Quality Assurance System

Set up an accountability and quality assurance system for the response

The WASH response must be coordinated not only to maximise outputs and number of beneficiaries reached, but also to make real progress towards response general objectives and ensure it is safe, inclusive, participatory and effective. Coordination platform can address this by setting and following up the implementation of a Accountability and Quality Assurance Systems (AQAS). AQAS is a process implemented at national level that aims at ensuring standards for quality and accountability in humanitarian WASH responses are agreed, met and maintained, with continuous improvement. It provides a way to monitor the WASH response against a jointly agreed, contextually relevant quality and accountability framework. An effective AQAS is the joint responsibility of the Cluster Lead Agency, the Cluster Coordinator, Cluster partners at national and subnational level and donors. As humanitarian response will always face external constraints, the aim of AQAS should be to provide the highest quality possible in the context by making improvements over time, rather than reaching an absolute level of quality. The AQAS comprises:

  • Guidance Note describing the steps required for National WASH Clusters to set up routine systems for an accountability and quality assurance and within the humanitarian programme cycle. This involves a systematic and collective process of setting up quality benchmarks, quality monitoring, taking action to address issues and learning for continuous improvement. This process is summarised in the diagram on the right and in the below table.
  • The accompanying modular analytical framework provides guidance on monitoring approaches, standards and indicators for quality monitoring in key WASH areas. The framework has been designed as a flexible tool so that National Humanitarian WASH Coordination Platforms may focus on the areas where WASH partners want to monitor quality in priority. So far, three Modules on Public Health Risks, WASH Service Provision and People-Centred Programming have been developed; 

Figure 1: The AQAS process and Key Outputs



The WCC convenes a TWiG. The TWiG choses the most appropriate modules of the modular analytical framework, set Key Quality Indicators (KQI) benchmark, agree on timing, approach and roles for data collection, reporting and analysis.

AQAS definition within the Strategic Operational Framework (SOF) validated by the SAG

  • Sudden onset: Day 14 - 30
  • Protracted: November-December


KQIs are continuously monitored by cluster partners and Third Party Monitors.  Data is reported to the cluster IMO who produces Quality snapshots.

Quality snapshots

Continuous measurement, analysis and improvement through regular coordination meetings; ad-hoc alerting of priority gaps.


Quality Snapshot shared by IMO with cluster partners; quality gaps are prioritised; Action plans for addressing gaps are developed by the .

Action plan


Action plans are implemented by partners and monitored by the TWiG; Information about issues identified and action plans is fed back to the affected population

Corrective actions

Feedback to the affected population


Trends, monitoring data and action plans are periodically reviewed by the TWiG; lessons learned are produced by partners including the CLA; SOF is revised accordingly by the SAG

Updated AQAS / SOF Lessons learned disseminated to GWC partners, decision makers and donors


  • Sudden onset: 3-9 months after onset
  • Protracted: July-August

Table 1: The AQAS process and Key Outputs