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A day in the life of Jorge

"I have been working in the humanitarian world for over 15 years, watching how support to communities and people affected by crisis has been better delivered thanks to standards such as the CHS."

Video testimony
HQAI auditor Jorge Menendez
HQAI-registered auditor Jorge Menendez

Hi Jorge! Tell us one specific positive experience during an audit.

My favourite has always been first-hand testimonies from communities. It is rewarding to hear about a given project from their own voices. In particular, I recall a woman telling me "Thanks to the support from the organisation, I have changed my life. Before I was a victim, while now, I am a leader". These first-hand testimonies give us a better understanding of how organisations operate, and the quality of the support provided, and whether organisations are implementing the CHS in their work.

I also greatly enjoy talking to the staff from organisations. They are usually very transparent and share key information that allows me to understand the organisation’s functioning and how it can be supported and improved. Over the years working at HQAI, I have noticed that most humanitarian workers are committed to providing good quality support to communities, and people affected by crises see us as allies.

What has changed during the last year regarding your work as an auditor?

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the most significant change was not being able to travel and visit communities. Although I managed to work online, including talking to communities and people affected by crisis, an important part of face-to-face sharing went lost. This is now hopefully changing, and I was able to go on a field visit to a country programme in October. That was a good reminder of the relevance of visiting communities and talking to them in person, not just through a screen.

Auditor Jorge Menendez speaking to local communities
Jorge Menendez speaking to local communities during an audit

Tell us about one challenge you faced and how you overcame it.

For me, one of the biggest challenges is dealing with interpreters, as well as dealing with issues such as corruption, fraud, sexual abuse, and harassment. Sometimes, when reporting them, victims tend to downplay controversial or sensitive topics, or avoid trauma triggers, in an attempt to make them less disturbing. Unfortunately, to achieve our aim, it is essential to deal with these issues clearly. We need to know if the organisation’s staff inform communities about these issues, whether there are mechanisms in place for communities to report complaints, and if they are aware and use them.

What keeps you motivated?

I consider the Core Humanitarian Standard an excellent tool that should be applied in the work of all organisations. I have been working in the humanitarian world for more than 15 years, watching the humanitarian sector become more professional, and how support to communities and people affected by crisis is better delivered thanks to standards such as the CHS. Therefore, I am very enthusiastic about helping organisations improve in the application of the CHS. It is also very rewarding to see organisations get better year after year, and, above all, the commitment they show to keep improving their support to communities and people affected by crisis. Additionally, working with my HQAI colleagues, who are always willing to help, keeps me motivated, and make the working environment excellent.

Auditor Jorge Menendez meets a local community
I recall a woman telling me " Thanks to the support from the organisation, I have changed my life. Before I was a victim, while now, I am a leader".

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