Certification criteria enable civil society groups, like this one in India, to set and maintain standards which ensure the quality and impact of their work.
Photo: AKF/Amit PasrichaIn the age of the Internet, knowledge about institutions and their effectiveness are only a click away. Information becomes viral, following vectors that take it anywhere there is Internet connectivity. But it can be difficult at times to determine the quality of the information and the quality of the organisation. On the one hand, there is the problem of hype – when organisations exaggerate their good works. On the other, there are good organisations which go unrecognised.
"We must become full and even leading participants in the Knowledge Society of the 21st century. That will mean embracing the values of collaboration and coordination, openness and partnership, choice and diversity – which will under-gird the Knowledge Society, learning constantly to review and revise and renew what we think we know, learning how to go on learning."
His Highness the Aga Khan addressing the Aga Khan University Convocation on 6 December 2006. Sorting out the best performing institutions from the rest is one of the jobs of the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP). PCP’s main role is to function as a standard-setting body – a group that certifies the effectiveness of organisations in contributing to the public good. This certification becomes a “seal of good housekeeping” for such institutions. The score-keeping is done by independent judges in the areas of internal governance, financial management and programme delivery. The broader goal is to set sector-wide standards and to encourage the widespread adoption of “best practices”.
The PCP uses its website (http://www.pcp.org.pk/) and databases to disseminate criteria, provide a means for organisations to raise their standards, and tell success stories in ways which inspire further successes. Organisations that fail to meet the standards can benefit, as PCP steps in to link them with specialised capacity-building groups.
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