Institutional and professional information
This professional and institutional information website presents Handicap International’s objectives, activities and operating procedures, and explains the ways we interrelate with other stakeholders in the aid and development sector.
The aim is to provide transparency for the professionals and institutions interested in our organisation, the people and organisations that support our operations and, through them, the communities and populations who benefit from them.
1. Mission, strategy and scope of activity
Handicap International’s mission and activities are underpinned by a multi-annual strategy, principles of intervention and a clearly-defined scope of activity. We are currently working in sixty or so countries and running around 300 projects in emergency, chronic crisis, reconstruction and development settings. The beneficiaries of these projects are people with disabilities and a broad range of other vulnerable groups.
2. Organisation and governance
Founded in 1982, Handicap International is composed of a network of eight national associations (based in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada and United State) and a federation established in 2009. As well as taking part in federal governance mechanisms and the development and monitoring of federal strategy, these associations have complementary missions which include supporting activities, mobilising public opinion and raising institutional and private funds for implementing a shared social mission. The Handicap International Federation coordinates this international network of associations and implements programmes throughout the world.
Handicap International is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation with no religious or political affiliations.
3. Membership in networks
NGO and Advocacy platforms
The Federation is a member of major NGO networks that share the same concerns and are engaged in on-going dialogue with the UN, European Union and other regional or national offices of international cooperation agencies. On disability and vulnerability-related issues, it is also a member of professional bodies that work on developing solutions and disseminating good practices.
The Federation is a driving force in NGO coalitions engaged in international-level advocacy, and notably in efforts to eradicate conventional weapons proven to be non-discriminatory (mines, cluster munitions) and promote the rights of the people it is committed to assisting (people with disabilities, people exposed to risks and victims of wars and natural disasters).
Deontology committees and collaborative groups
All the associations in Handicap International’s network are members of national NGO platforms that share practices and are engaged in dialogue with national public authorities. These NGOs focus on ethical and deontological issues either as part of working groups set up by their platforms or as members of specialised bodies made up of organisations that receive donations from the general public. Within this framework, they work on issues of communication, management, transparency and accountability.
4. Institutional policies and codes of conduct
Handicap International exercises its responsibilities as an independent, non-governmental organisation. We develop and update our guidelines and determine our priorities in accordance with our bylaws and mission. We make voluntary commitments, independently or as part of collaborative groups, but also comply with the aid and development sector’s regulatory and professional requirements.
Handicap International’s Institutional Policies
Handicap International has developed a number of institutional policies which provide an essential reference framework for our statutory mission. These policies apply first and foremost to Handicap International’s members and staff, whether at the Federation or in our national associations. However, they also include provisions that apply to the other stakeholders in our activities, especially our public, private or associative partners, and companies that provide us with goods and services.
- Child Protection
- Gender Policy
- Protection of beneficiaries
- Anti-bribery and corruption policy
- Safety & Security Policy
Codes of conduct
Handicap International also adheres to different codes of conduct. These voluntary commitments contribute towards the collective dynamics of the international aid and development sector.
- Code of conduct for the international Red Cross and Red Crescent movement and NGOs
- Code of conduct on messages and images – CONCORD
To meet membership requirements of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), a global network aiming to eliminate sexual exploitation within the UN and NGOs, Handicap International has developed its own policy for protecting its beneficiaries against sexual exploitation and abuse.
Professional standards in the humanitarian aid sector
Thanks to our membership of networks and cooperation with other bodies, Handicap International is able to draw on external instruments in addition to our own guidelines.
- Principles of Partnerships – ICVA
- Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response (SPHERE)
5. Quality and accountability
The quality and accountability approach at institutional level
At Handicap International, we make constant efforts to strengthen our capacity to pursue our purpose and mission, achieve our objectives, serve our beneficiaries and satisfy stakeholder expectations in a cost-effective manner. This approach is reflected in our governance and the steering of our organisation, as well as in our human, financial and material resources, communication, fundraising and operations in the field. It can also be seen in our guidelines, processes and practices and involves the complementary approach of risk management, internal control and auditing.
In January 2016, Handicap International has been working with IDEAS [Institute for the Development of Ethics and Action for Solidarity]. Our management and transparency processes and procedures were measured against IDEAS’ 120 evaluation indicators. At the end of the process, on the basis of an independent audit, Handicap International was awarded the IDEAS label.
IDEAS, a vector of confidence for funders and donors, attests to the implementation by non-profit organizations of good practices in governance, financial management and monitoring of the effectiveness of the action.
Handicap International constantly seeks to improve the projects run on behalf of our beneficiaries.
These efforts involve:
– developing methods and tools for planning, monitoring, evaluation and impact measurement;
– learning from experience, knowledge management and innovative research;
– developing our expertise in our different technical fields;
– taking part in collective professional initiatives on quality and accountability with other NGOs and specialised bodies.
To this end, Handicap International produces its own professional publications and has a policy of identifying and disseminating documentary sources for stakeholders in disability and inclusion.
Handicap International’s catalogue of technical publications
Source, the on-line resource centre on disability and inclusion
A project Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) policy
Handicap International adopted a new PME policy in 2015. This policy is built on three main pillars :
– fundamental principles – quality, learning and accountability – that define the policy’s purpose ;
– a Project Quality Framework including 12 criteria for defining recommended target situations for Handicap International’s projects and minimum commitments with regard to the actions to be implemented ;
– a project cycle with five key phases clarifying when these minimum commitments should be implemented.
A series of methodological and technical tools are available for head office and field staff to help them implement this policy.
Handicap International is also a member of the steering cooperative for the Sigmah project. This cooperative is currently made up of 12 organisations working to develop Sigmah software for humanitarian project management.
6. Controls and audits
To ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of its activities, Handicap International implements internal controls that mobilise all our managers, supervisors and staff and are designed to achieve the following objectives :
– optimise the implementation of our operations in line with management policies ;
– ensure the reliability of our financial information ;
– ensure conformity with the laws and regulations in effect ;
– guarantee compliance with contractual undertakings.
Handicap International has an internal audit system covering the Federation and the other federal network entities, our national associations and our programmes in the field.
In the volatile settings in which Handicap International operates, we invest considerable effort in safeguarding our assets and resources and fighting bribery and corruption.
In addition to internal checks and audits, Handicap International’s management and activities are submitted to different categories of external controls. These include audits by our statutory auditor, as well as controls and audits conducted by the European Commission, international cooperation or United Nations agencies, as well as national funding agencies, for projects financed and implemented in the field.
Accountability – being able to give full account of what we do – and transparency are crucial. We must be in a position to produce and provide access to information essential to our interactions with the various stakeholders in our activity, not only from a legal point of view, but also from a functional and deontological one.
Because of our status as a non-profit organisation receiving donations from the general public and the obligations that come with it, Handicap International communicates regularly on our bylaws, social mission, governance, the activities implemented and our financial position. We use public on-line, digital or traditional media to present :
– news about the organisation ;
– the distribution of our actions across the world, by country and by area of activity,
– our financing and fundraising principles, including allocation modalities and financial statements, and information on the proportion of our resources spent on the social mission, operating costs and fundraising.
Handicap International informs the public, donors and control bodies of the origin and use of the resources entrusted to it. This financial information is verified, certified and made public in the clearest possible form.
Since 2012, Handicap International has also been a signatory to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI Initiative).
Financial information on Handicap International Federation and the international network
- Handicap International’s financing and management principles
- Statutory Annual Report (2016)
- Handicap International Federation Annual Report (2016)
For the national associations and entities of the Handicap International network
- Handicap International Belgium
- Handicap International Germany
- Handicap International Canada
- Handicap International France
- Handicap International Luxembourg
- Handicap International Switzerland
- Handicap International United Kingdom
- Handicap International United States
8. Operational partnerships
Good partnership practices
Different from outsourcing, which consists in entrusting another body/company with the execution of one or several operations in accordance with directives given by our organisation, partnerships meet specific criteria and obligations that must always be set forth in a written agreement. Our institutional policies also contain provisions that concern partners.
The information contained in our policies and in the attached documents is essential for bodies wishing to enter into a partnership with our organisation.
9. Commercial practices and calls for tenders
Rules of good commercial practices
In addition to the regulations in application in the countries hosting our national associations and in which we run our programmes, we have established our own rules and commercial practices that provide a framework for our contractual relationships. Our institutional policies also contain provisions that concern providers of goods and services.
The information contained in these documents is essential for all suppliers wishing to provide services to our organisation.
Calls for tenders
Our organisation, its representatives and staff endeavour to conduct our activity with the utmost professionalism at all times. However, should you encounter any major problems or difficulties in your dealings with one of our programmes or services, please let us know.
138 avenue des Frères Lumière
69008 Lyon – France
In order to facilitate the handling of your complaint and enable us to reply rapidly, we advise you to draft your letter or email in either French or English, and to give your name and full address (email address and telephone).