UNICC Assists with Documenting UN OCHA Central Emergency Response Fund’s Grant Management System

4 June, 2020


About the United Nations central emergency response fund 

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is one of the fastest and most effective ways to ensure that urgently needed humanitarian assistance reaches people caught up in crises. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 as the United Nations global emergency response fund, CERF enables humanitarian responders to deliver life-saving assistance whenever and wherever crises strike. 

As an essential enabler of global humanitarian action, CERF’s Rapid Response window allows country teams to kick-start relief efforts immediately in a coordinated and prioritized response when a new crisis emerges. CERF’s window for Underfunded Emergencies helps scale-up and sustain protracted relief operations to avoid critical gaps when no other funding is available. 

UNICC communications team assists with CERF grant management system upgrade 

In 2016, Christine Servandoof the Performance and Accountability Unit CERF secretariatreached out to Prado Nieto, at that time Client Relationship Manager at UNICC, to see if UNICC could help in hiring a technical writer to manage the documentation for an upgrade to the CERF Grant Management System (GMS). Prado and Bill Allen, Communications Officer, UNICC hired an expert tech writer to do the job. OCHA was so pleased they invited her back in 2020 for system upgrades documentation. 

Kirsten Sandberg, a technical writer, now also at the Blockchain Research Institute, came back to UNICC through Uptown Communications, a New York based communications firm, with OCHA’s new Business Relationship Manager, Roberto Cruz, to assist with the upgrade of CERF’s grant management system. Kirsten’s role was to document the upgrade changes in the system, write step-by-step instructions for its different user roles and update the user manual – all in close collaboration with Bill as project manager and the GMS focal points at OCHA.  

Project goals and outcomes 

The goal of this upgrade was to make the system more accessible to users, more efficient in expediting grant funding to areas of need, and more transparent and granular in reporting on the populations served. Users can now access it from their mobile devices (tablet or smartphone) through the Internet browsers of their choice (e.g., Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari). They can also visualize, export and analyze allocation and project data.

GMS upgrade benefits 

The upgrade streamlined numerous processes and resulted in availability of data that is published in the real time through the new allocations module. The new functionality represents another major step forward in CERF’s transparency, information sharing and reporting on the fund’s performance.