1. Role of donor contract management in an emergency

The purpose of donor contract management is to ensure that the key stakeholders have, and can use, accurate contract information and documentation about the management and implementation of emergency projects. This is critical to ensure accountability and compliance with donor and CARE International Member contractual regulations and guidelines (including those relating to procurement and meeting reporting requirements).

Emergency operations usually include activities funded by many donors with contracts all starting at a similar time at the onset of the emergency. The requirements for effective donor contract management in the emergency context can often overwhelm the normal systems of the CO, in particular at the start of the emergency, and can lead to compliance problems later during implementation. To avoid problems, it is important to put in place contract management systems adequate to the emergency requirements as quickly as possible.

Emergency projects are also often implemented in a rapidly changing environment where activities are adapted to meet the urgent humanitarian needs. Without careful and specific attention to donor contract management, emergency operations can end up varying significantly from the original contract, or not meet compliance requirements. This can result in the creation of liabilities for CARE, as well as damage to CARE’s reputation and relationship with donors.

These guidelines provide practical advice for putting effective donor contract management systems in place in an emergency situation. In addition to these guidelines, existing CO and Lead Member policies, systems and procedures should be adhered to unless the appropriate authority within the CO grants exemption.

Position Key responsibilities
Project Officer/ Contract management officer

(see section 1.2)


  • Provide donor contract management oversight and support for all emergency projects.
  • Establish and maintain a tracking system for submitted donor proposals and signed donor contracts, as well as Project Implementation Framework Agreement (PIFAs) and Individual Project Implementation Agreements (IPIAs) with CARE members.
  • Establish a system to review project contracts with donors/CARE International Members (including IPIAs) and monitor reporting requirements.
  • Ensure Assistant Country Director-Programme, Programme Coordinator, Assistant Programme Coordinators and Project Managers understand and adhere to relevant project contractual commitments (e.g. procurement guidelines/regulations, key targets, reporting requirements, evaluations/audits)
Project Manager
  • Ensure project is managed in accordance with donor contract
Assistant Country Director-Programme and/or Programme Support
  • Liaise with CARE International Members to obtain up-to-date guidance that is specific to the CARE International Member and donor contract management requirements throughout the project cycle.
  • Ensure that the relevant CO staff is aware of CARE International Member, donor and CO contract management requirements.
CARE International Member Desk Officer


  • Ensure that CO staff has up-to-date contract management guidance specific to the CARE International Member and donor requirements throughout the project cycle.
  • Assist with monitoring of contract compliance.

Responsibility for monitoring and ensuring contract compliance can vary according to CO structure and will involve a number of staff including:

  • Assistant Country Director-Programme and other programme coordinators, who will be involved in proposal preparation, contract review, CARE member and donor liaison, and project monitoring
  • project staff, who will be responsible for all aspects of contract compliance during project implementation
  • finance, procurement and audit staff, who will be involved in monitoring and advising on contract compliance-in particular, in relation to budgeting, expenditure and financial reporting aspects.

Before an emergency, it is not typical for a CO to have a single staff member dedicated to donor contract management. However, in a large emergency it is strongly advisable to put this dedicated capacity in place as soon possible. A project officer or contract officer can be tasked with supporting all aspects of contract compliance for the first months of the emergency.

A sample terms of reference for this function is available at Annex 10.1 Terms of Reference Contracts Officer.