A new feedback platform which enables some of the world’s most marginalised people to shape the aid and services they receive has been launched in Philippines and Zambia by the charity Loop.
The platform, called Talk To Loop, uses existing phone and computer technology to allow people receiving aid to give feedback; safely, easily, and without having to wait to be asked.
Wherever they are, from the remotest rural communities to urban areas in crisis, anyone receiving aid can use Loop to tell their own story about that aid and whether it is effective and truly beneficial for them.
Loop also provides a safe channel for the reporting of serious complaints about exploitation, fraud and abuse: issues which have received widespread news coverage in recent years.
Loop was founded two years ago by Alex Carle, a former Director of Programs and Partnerships with British Red Cross, who has devoted herself to building a platform capable of operating anywhere in the world.
“All over the world millions of people receive aid from charities, governments and NGOs. Yet those people rarely have the opportunity to give feedback,” said Ms Carle.
“I am just one of many people in the humanitarian sector who have been observing this problem for years. There is a clear need to shift the power in decision making about aid from the givers to the receivers, and I founded Loop to contribute to that movement,” Ms Carle added.
Loop is working in partnership with organisations in its countries of operation, including the Zambian Governance Foundation, as well as Ecoweb and the Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) in the Philippines, but the charity is completely independent and not managed by any other aid organisation or NGO.
“Loop, if used widely by both aid agencies and beneficiaries of aid, can potentially be the game changer for the development sector,” said Barbara Nost, CEO of the Zambian Governance Foundation for Civil Society (ZGF).
Over the two years since founding the charity, Ms Carle has built teams in Zambia and Philippines, as well as raising the funding to create the online platform itself, and to integrate it with local telecoms providers.
The platform is managed in its launch territories by teams of local professionals, and that will be the model going forward as Loop rolls out to more countries, starting with Somalia and Indonesia.
A key principle of Loop is that the platform should be accessible. People can use Loop online if they have computer or smartphone access, or on standard mobiles using SMS.
Loop is accessible in local languages, and it doesn’t even depend on literacy: users can speak their stories using any phone.
The organisations providing aid also benefit from Loop, with the ability to access feedback data on an ongoing basis: so they can constantly improve what they do and close the feedback loop, by replying directly to people through the platform for free.
Loop’s mission is to be a truly global platform for people to feedback on humanitarian and development services in their communities, with the ambition to have the platform available in at least 50 countries with over 100 million site visits per year by 2030.