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Tearfund has agreed a number of Quality Standards in order to support the practical application of good practice. The Quality Standards bring together all the relevant external and internal accountability and quality standards, codes, guidelines and principles to which we are committed and that are in keeping with the organisational characteristics we aspire to.

The purpose of Tearfund’s Quality Standards is to ensure that those we serve benefit from the increased quality, effectiveness and impact of the work that we undertake. This framework is central to how we work with partners. It recognises that questions of quality rarely involve simple 'yes/no' answers, but require analysis, transparency and continual improvement.

Information for partners on how to apply the standards and measure quality

A summary of the standards

Behaviours We expect the highest behaviour standards across all of our work. We stand against all forms of exploitation, abuse, fraud, bribery and any other conduct that is incompatible with our values. We strive to transfer power to the people we serve; to transform our own, our partners’ and communities’ attitudes and practices on inclusion, conflict sensitivity, accountability, gender and learning.

Impartiality and targeting

We are committed to impartiality, providing assistance to the most vulnerable without regard for race, religion, ethnicity, ability, age, gender, sexuality, or nationality. We target our work on the basis of need alone while remaining sensitive to conflict dynamics, and proactively work to support those who would otherwise be marginalised or excluded, in particular children, the elderly and those living with disability.


We are committed to ensuring that all our work is based upon effective communication with, participation of and feedback from the communities we serve. It is important that all interventions are transparent and based upon continuous learning. We also hold ourselves accountable to our partners, donors, supporters and colleagues, and to all those with whom we relate and interact.


In all our programmes we actively seek to challenge gender inequality, harmful beliefs and practices, and work towards gender justice. We are committed to progressing gender equality, the restoration of relationships between men and women, boys and girls, and ensuring their equal value, participation, and decision-making in all aspects of life.


We are committed to community-led and participatory approaches to development and humanitarian response for sustainable impact that is based on root cause analysis. We encourage participation from all members of a community, and strive to support beneficiaries to have control over their own development at all levels, from local development activities through to local, national, and regional advocacy.

Technical quality

We are committed to the high technical quality of all of our work, and the work of partners, through meeting relevant national and international standards aligned with communities’ own priorities. We will continuously learn to improve and identify and replicate good practice that is demonstrated to have relevant and positive impact.


We are committed to managing the environmental impact of our work while helping communities understand, reduce and manage the risks they face as well as to address the drivers of vulnerability. This includes supporting households and communities in developing resilient livelihoods, strengthening social cohesion, improving access to services, adapting to climate change and reducing risk of disasters.


We are committed to restoring relationships and building safe and secure communities. We seek to prioritise the protection of all - especially children and the most marginalised and vulnerable adults - from physical, social and psychological harm. We will take steps to assess risks, including conflict dynamics, to avoid any adverse effects of our work that might expose people to danger or lead to abuse. We believe that community members are the best actors in their own protection and will support their actions to stay safe, find security and restore dignity.

International codes and standards

As well as setting high standards for ourselves in our Quality Standards, we have signed up to a range of internationally recognised operating codes and standards because they reflect our principles of respecting the people we work with.

Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) CHS sets out nine commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response can use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide.

Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief This code sets out ten foundational principles to safeguard high standards of behaviour and maintain independence and effectiveness in disaster relief.

Keeping Children Safe coalition standards The coalition is made up of agencies who are committed to child protection. As a member of the coalition, we aim to achieve the highest level of protection for children with whom we come into contact.

UN Statement of Commitment on Eliminating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN and non-UN personnel The statement commits signatories to incorporate core principles relating to combating sexual exploitation and abuse into their codes of conduct and staff rules and regulations.

SPHERE Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response This standard sets out what people affected by disasters have a right to expect from humanitarian assistance, with the aim of improving the quality of assistance provided and enhancing the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response.

Code of Good Practice for NGOs responding to HIV The code sets out key principles, practice and evidence required for successful responses to HIV. In endorsing the code, organisations commit to continuous improvement and accountability.

Stakeholders and affiliations

In adhering to these standards, we hold ourselves accountable to a range of stakeholders including project participants, partner organisations, supporters and institutional donors. We are also affiliated with other organisations for which these standards are relevant. These include:

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