What is ISO 9001?: A primer for humanitarian aid organisations

What is ISO 9001?: A primer for humanitarian aid organisations

Humanitarian aid organisations shoulder immense responsibility. The world’s most vulnerable people look to them for crucial support during their times of need.

Aid organisations must have reliable technology and dependable policies for making sure they meet the needs of the people they serve. In both of these capacities, international cooperation is crucial, including in the standards developed by ISO, or the International Organisation for Standardisation.

For more than 70 years, ISO has served as a nongovernmental organisation devoted to international collaboration on setting standards related to quality, reliability and production processes.

ISO 9001 provides standards for quality management

ISO 9001 provides standards for quality management.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard for quality management. As part of the 9000 family of standards, ISO 9001 is a flexible instrument that helps ensure certified organisations of any size or type are prepared to deliver high-quality experiences to the people they support.

ISO 9001 encourages:
• Committed customer focus.
• The dedication of top-level management.
• Resilient processes.
• Continuous improvement.

How has has the 9001 standard evolved?

ISO periodically refines their standards, and 9001 has been modified and tailored for applications in various sectors and industries. New versions have been released over the years, even as recently as 2015. ISO 9001 has also been spun out into variant standards specifically designed for medical devices, electoral organisations and more.

What can humanitarian aid organisations learn form ISO 9001?

ISO Management Systems published a special report by Medair leader David Verboom about how the 2000 version of ISO 9001 could benefit humanitarian aid. In his article, Verboom noted that the standard was flexible enough to be instructive for organisations that need room for improvisation while emphasising downward accountability towards beneficiaries. While he observed that certification can be burdensome for humanitarian aid groups and underlined his conviction that ISO 9001 cannot solve all quality problems, the aforementioned advantages to adopting the standard do stand out.

The importance of working with an ISO 9001 certified supplier

Whether or not humanitarian aid organisations opt to pursue certification for the 9001 standard, there are clear benefits to working with suppliers that are certified, like Barrett Communications. Our certification clearly states what existing clients of ours already understand: We’re committed to customer success, including for humanitarian aid organisations, regardless of their communications needs or where they’re located. Find a representative in your region to learn more.


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