Grievance redress mechanism

  1. About Grievance Redress Mechanism:

Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) aim to be accessible, cooperative, swift, and effective in addressing concerns through dialogue, joint fact-finding, negotiation, and problem-solving. They serve as the initial point of response for stakeholder concerns that proactive engagement didn't prevent. GRMs work alongside but don't replace formal legal avenues for handling grievances, such as the court system or organizational audit mechanisms. For matters like corruption, coercion, or significant rights/policy violations, formal investigations are typically conducted by organizational accountability mechanisms or judicial bodies rather than GRMs, which focus on collaborative solutions. It's crucial to inform relevant stakeholders that UNDP-supported projects have a UNDP Accountability Mechanism, including the Stakeholder Response Mechanism (SRM) and the Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU). Stakeholders should be aware of the procedure for raising complaints with SRM and/or SECU if they are unsatisfied with the GRM's response.

  1. AFCIA´s Grievance Redress Mechanism:

The UNDP-AFCIA programme has established a project-level Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) to address stakeholder concerns about the programme potential impacts. Since many of the Low Value Grant Agreement grantees lack existing GRMs, the AFCIA Program's PMU manages and operates the GRM, while the Project Board ensures its proper implementation. This GRM aims to address concerns through accessible, culturally appropriate, and transparent processes, free from retribution, and welcoming to all stakeholders. It prioritizes gender and age inclusivity and considers potential access barriers for various marginalized groups.

The AFCIA Programme GRM, functions as follows:

1.     Receive and register grievance: The AFCIA’s GRM enables aggrieved stakeholders (“complainants “) to communicate their grievances mainly through e-mail

2.     Acknowledge, Assess, Assign: Upon receiving a grievance, AFCIA's PMU sends a formal acknowledgment within 3-5 days, informing the complainant that the grievance has been  logged in. Eligibility is assessed based on guidelines, determining whether the complaint relates to negative impacts caused by the program and whether the complainant is directly impacted. If eligible, the complaint is directed to the most suitable entity for resolution. The referral process depends on the nature of the issue and its risk level.

3.     Develop a proposed response: Grievance Redress Mechanisms (GRMs) typically offer three main response options for complaints:

  • Direct Action: Immediate steps are taken to resolve the complaint through a simple, agreed-upon action with the complainant.
  • Further Assessment and Engagement: If the grievance is complex, additional evaluation and engagement with the complainant and other stakeholders (e.g., AFCIA's Project Board) are conducted to determine the best course of action.
  • Ineligibility: Some complaints may not meet the criteria for GRM consideration.


4.     Communicate proposed response to complainant and seek agreement on the response.

The AFCIA PMU is responsible for promptly communicating the proposed response to the complainant, using accessible language both in writing and, when appropriate, orally. Responders may also engage the complainant via telephone or set up a meeting to discuss the initial approach. AFCIA's GRM mechanism typically operates within a 14-21 day timeframe from the receipt of a complaint. In cases involving serious harm, risk, or rights violations, the standard procedures should include a fast-track response, whether managed by the GRM or through immediate referral to another office or organization, with prompt notification to the complainant.

If there is agreement with the proposed response, AFCIA PMU staff can proceed, whether it involves direct action, further assessment, or referral. If the complainant contests a finding of ineligibility, rejects a proposed direct action, or chooses not to engage in a more extensive stakeholder assessment and engagement process, the AFCIA PMU staff should seek to understand and clarify the reasons behind the complainant's stance.

5.     Implement the response to resolve the grievance.

To implement the response and resolve the grievance:

  • Agreement on Proposed Action: When both the complainant and AFCIA PMU agree on the proposed course of action, it should be put into effect.
  • Stakeholder Assessment and Engagement: In cases where the initial response involves a broader stakeholder assessment and engagement, the assessment process can be conducted by PMU themselves, by consultants, or other neutral parties recognized as impartial and effective by all relevant parties. Whether a collaborative process is feasible or not, the AFCIA PMU must communicate the assessment findings to the complainant and other stakeholders, along with recommendations on how to proceed.
  • Overseeing Collaborative Approaches: If a collaborative approach is viable, PMU typically oversee the process. In complex and sensitive cases, senior representatives, such as those from AFCIA's Project Board, may supervise an independent mediation process. This ensures that responses to grievances are efficiently carried out, with the aim of resolving concerns and maintaining transparency and fairness throughout the process.


6.     Reviewing the Response if Unsuccessful:

  • In situations where it is not possible to reach an agreement with the complainant regarding the proposed response, or in the case of a multi-stakeholder dispute where a collaborative approach is deemed unworkable, the AFCIA PMU should take the following steps:

o   Discussion with Complainant: The PMU should engage in a thorough discussion with the complainant to explore whether any modifications to the response could address their concerns, while also aligning with the organization's goals and the interests of other stakeholders.

o   Alternative Options: If it becomes evident that no mutually agreeable resolution is achievable, the PMU should inform the complainant about alternative recourse options that may be available. This includes the possibility of pursuing legal or other administrative mechanisms to address their grievances.

7.     Close out or refer the grievance.

The final step in grievance redress mechanisms (GRMs) is to appropriately close out the grievance. The process is determined by whether the grievance has been successfully resolved or not.

Successful Resolution:

If the response has been successful and the grievance is resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, the AFCIA PMU should:

  • Document the satisfactory resolution, in consultation with the complainant.
  • In cases of significant risks, impacts, or negative publicity, consider obtaining written documentation from the complainant expressing their satisfaction.
  • In other cases, record the actions taken, confirm the satisfaction of the complainant and the organization, and document these facts.
  • In complex and unusual grievance situations, it may be useful to document key lessons learned from the process.


Unresolved Grievance:

If the grievance has not been resolved, the AFCIA PMU should:

  • Document all the steps taken to address the grievance.
  • Record communications with the complainant and, if applicable, other stakeholders if substantial efforts were made to initiate or complete a multi-stakeholder process.
  • Document the decisions made by the organization and the complainant regarding referrals or recourse to other alternatives, including legal options.


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