Independent Reviews and their results

Important External Views

 Spenden GuetesiegelThe Austrian association Menschen für Menschen has been carrying the Donation Certificate without interruption since it was first introduced in 2001 . The Austrian Donation Certificate of the Chamber of Public Accountants is a system of financing and fund management standards for non-profit organisations that is applied strictly and comprehensively. Every year compliance with the criteria is checked anew by an independent auditor.

Find out what exactly is audited>>
(Please note that this is only available in German!)

On behalf of SPIEGEL ONLINE Phineo, analysts for the non-profit sector, tested the transparency of 50 top charity organisations. Three key criteria were evaluated: aims, activities and impacts. Find a detailed description of the methodology in the Spiegel article >>

In this transparency test the German foundation Menschen für Menschen – Karlheinz Böhms Äthiopienhilfe was rated as “very good“. The independent survey rated the organisation with 4 stars or 4.2 of 5 points. This means of the 50 organisations tested, the foundation Menschen für Menschen comes in 10th place.

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In cooperation with the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) Finanztest surveyed 28 German charity organisations that are linked to the name of a celebrity. 10 organisations could be rated, 18 did not take part in the test. The following criteria were reviewed: administrative costs, publicity costs, transparency as well as management and monitoring. The detailed test result was published in the November issue of Finanztest magazine (15 October 2014) and can be found at www.test.de/spendenorganisationen.
(Please note that this is only available in German!)

Finanztest evaluated the transparency as well as management and monitoring of the German foundation Menschen für Menschen – Karlheinz Böhms Äthiopienhilfe as “high”. Only three other organisations achieved this. According to the test result, the organisation is characterised by low administrative and publicity costs. With regard to transparency, the detailed annual report is considered very important. Finanztest also positively emphasises the clear procedure for project selection and support in Ethiopia.

The Stiftung Warentest survey therefore rates Menschen für Menschen as “besonders gut“ (exceptionally good).

 

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The main idea of our project work is the transfer of knowledge to the Ethiopian people so they can free themselves from poverty and lead a better life without help from outside. Consequently, the construction of schools is an important component of our work. Since this is cost-intensive it is essential to monitor whether schools really meet all the requirements concerning the method of construction, equipment and, most of all, longevity we place on our work.

In 2012 TÜV Rheinland (Technical Inspections Organization) was therefore commissioned to carry out a thorough assessment of 29 randomly selected Menschen für Menschen schools. The assessment included schools built many years ago as well as new schools in various project regions. As result of the thorough assessment TÜV gave Menschen für Menschen schools the highest ranking GOOD.

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After the finalisation of the first project phase in Abune Ginde Beret, an external evaluation of the work was conducted. Evaluator Jochen Currle from the consulting organization FAKT travelled to Ethiopia where he and his Ethiopian colleague Chali Guteta studied the projects on site. An important question to answer was if the objectives for the advancement of Abune Ginde Beret, which had been set by Menschen für Menschen before the project work had started, had been achieved.

Learn more about the evaluation directly from Jochen Currle: Read the Interview >>

In October 2013 developmental evaluator and anthropologist Annette Schmidt and her Ethiopian colleague, agronomist Girma Mengistu, from the advisory organisation FAKT, carried out an evaluation of the project areas Borena and Ginde Beret on behalf of Menschen für Menschen.

It was meant to answer questions such as these: do aid projects from Menschen für Menschen provide sustainable improvement of the populations’s living conditions? Are activities that are implemented in cooperation with the people adequate and viable?

Inspection of our own work through continued monitoring and regular evalutions is an important tool which allows us to verify whether the projects could achieve their pre-set goals or whether measures have to be adjusted and improved.

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A donor directed strong criticism against the foundation Menschen für Menschen in Germany. We and the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI), which awards the DZI Donation Seal, took this critic very serious. For this reason, the DZI carried out a special audit during which the past 8 years of the German foundation Menschen für Menschen were carefully examined. In the course of this, appropriate handling of all donated funds could be evidenced.

DZI executive director Burkhard Wilke summarises the result as follows: “from our perspective, the foundation Menschen für Menschen deserves the continued trust of donors and the DZI Donation Seal.” The report also certifies the economicalness, efficiency and best possible efficacy of the work carried out by Menschen für Menschen.

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Find the detailed statement of the DZI here >>
(Please note that this is only available in German!)

In May 2013 Menschen für Menschen commissioned the renowned auditing company KPMG to examine the accounting and balance sheets of the foundation in Germany. For the audit KPMG had obtained access to the foundations’s records and documents. The auditors had access to cost statements and receipts, as well as to the management, employees and board members.

As result of the audit some inaccuracies were found. However, they were “not significant” and had no influence on the balance of accounts. This shows that the financial position and profit situation of the foundation have always been presented correctly.

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The foundation Menschen für Menschen reached 3rd place in the 2009 Transparency Award by auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Out of a total of 60 organisations audited, ten were awarded for their particularly transparent use of donations.

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Menschen für Menschen was honored for examplary reporting about the use of donations. PwC spokesman Hans Wagener explained this good performance: “the organisation gives detailed descriptions of their goals, informs about internal monitoring and mechanisms for the supervision of funds on site, project and planning risks are described. We as jury especially liked that [. . .] a part of the donations is deliberately invested in reserves to achieve the continuity of support measure.”

To complete work in an entire project area and transfer it completely back into the hands of the population is a great experience and the fulfilment of our actual purpose: one day not to be needed anymore!

But precisely because the completion of our work in a region is such a special event it must be used to question its impact. After all, the donations invested in the project over the years are meant to have brought about sustainable improvement of people’s living conditions.

To ensure this, a final survey of the project area Merhabete was carried out.

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“We commissioned the study to find out if we are on the right track“, explains Berhanu Negussie, country representative of Menschen für Menschen in Ethiopia. “How are the people after our withdrawal? Is our work effective and sustainable?” The results of this study should also show what Menschen für Menschen could do differently and improve on in new project areas. Because only constant improvement can lead to effective help on a long-term basis.