Beneficiary accountability is a critical part of effective development programming. It helps to ensure that interventions are transparent and appropriate for those they are designed to support. A critical part of accountability is beneficiary feedback. Beneficiary mechanisms (BFMs) not only help to enhance inclusion and empowerment but also enable a better understanding of why an intervention is less effective, allowing it to be adapted and refined.
Implementing feedback mechanisms for community members and patients is a valuable resource that can help health care programmes guide their services toward the needs of people they are serving. A BFM is, therefore, a tool designed to solicit and respond to the views of aid recipients.
The Ascend Programme
The Accelerating the Sustainable Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (Ascend) programme, implemented by Crown Agents, Oriole Global Health, ABT Associates and KIT, worked on the treatment and prevention of five neglected tropical diseases (NTDs): onchocerciasis, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis and visceral leishmaniasis across eleven countries.
In the programme, a range of feedback mechanisms were implemented in a variety of countries and settings. Many of these mechanisms had not previously been used in the context of NTD programmes, such as mass drug administration campaigns, morbidity management, and disability prevention.
Through extensive planning with Ascend country teams, Ministries of Health and monitoring and evaluation specialists, feedback mechanisms for patients and community members were designed and implemented in many countries. Feedback took place in real-time, with an emphasis placed on responding and communicating the response back to beneficiaries – a process known as closing the feedback loop. This resulted in tangible programmatic changes in several of the regions where they were implemented and the publication of two documents.
The BFM Learning Brief provides insight into the need for BFM tools, how they were implemented, and changes that occurred because of their use. This document recognizes the importance of acknowledging local contexts and cultural sensitivity when implementing these measures and uses case studies to show the lessons that were learned throughout the implementation process.
The BFM Toolkit is a practical document containing the different tools that were used to collect feedback throughout the programme. It contains BFMs for several of the NTD interventions which the programme focused on.