One of the ways to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies is being able to provide humanitarian supplies in a timely manner to those affected by a humanitarian crisis. Having humanitarian supplies ready is one thing but making sure they are of the highest quality is another.
Therefore, quality control centres like the one recently launched in Nairobi, Kenya, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are critical for humanitarian operations. IOM strives to ensure that a "culture of quality" gets embedded in its humanitarian operations to effectively provide services to affected populations.
The Quality Control Centre will support and strengthen IOM's humanitarian operations in the East and Horn of Africa region. This is the fourth IOM Quality Control Centre opened in the past year, besides Manila, Gaziantep and Juba.
At the same time, IOM with support of ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) held a quality control training for 10 staff including procurement, warehouse, finance, operation and pipeline staff. The training is part of a continuous capacity building of IOM field missions on Quality Control and Quality Assurance processes, which include providing the right tools and practical skills on Quality Control, learning from challenges and good practices, and creating opportunities for continuous improvement.
The procurement and delivery of emergency supplies through the IOM-managed Core Pipelines allows humanitarian agencies and partners to reach crisis-affected populations with life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and shelter/non-food items (S/NFIs).
"IOM is committed to deliver goods and services that are relevant, timely and of quality to address the needs of all migrants. The organization is increasing its capacity, both systems and human resource, to ensure that mechanisms are in place towards functional Quality Control and Quality Assurance processes," Joy Navarra-Valdez, IOM's Global Quality Control Officer said.
She added: "Mainstreaming quality is one pathway of fulfilling our accountability to our beneficiaries as we address their needs, ensuring their safety and well-being, and that our partners and donors will know that we are putting great emphasis on these."
The IOM Quality Control mechanism has been developed as part of the Global Stocks project of prepositioning which has identified warehouses in strategic locations from which missions can request support. The Nairobi warehouse was identified in 2015 as a pilot warehouse and has proven its strategic importance with 41 shipments to date. Thereafter, IOM established global hubs and stockpiles in Manila and Panama in 2016 and 2017, respectively supported by Innovation Norway and DIFD (Department for International Development, UK).
IOM stockpiles in its warehouses core items such as plastic sheets, blankets, buckets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, bladder tanks and onion tanks. Others include latrine slabs, jerry cans, ropes, non-food item bags, sleeping mats, multipurpose tents and rub halls. Eighteen missions have been supported by the project since 2015.