Exit strategy: leaving responsibly practical guidance document

Exit strategy: leaving responsibly practical guidance document

Practical guidance for implementing a responsible exit strategy

When it comes to humanitarian and relief agencies leaving an area in which they have been working, it is important to ensure this is done responsibly and to link relief and reconstruction to development. This document, originally conceived for the planning of exit from the final phase of the British Red Cross Recovery Programme in the Maldives, can also be used as a practical guidance tool for others about to embark on a similar process.

It aims to:

  • consolidate the information available in a number of documents on exit into a practical guide on sustainable exit and prevent others from having to review all the literature and to produce their own individual programme strategy documents 
  • help programmes to move as quickly as possible through the Exit strategy formulation and documentation stage and into action 
  • help those organisations, like BRCS, that typically have a vision of what they hope will happen, but often lack a clear strategy or process for implementing it 
  • promote a shared organisational approach to exiting responsibly 
  • promote a clear, time-bound plan that defines targets and assigns responsibilities for actions.

Some key principles recommended by the guidance include: 

  • sustainability first – build a sustainable programme right from the start, and then exiting responsibly will come more easily 
  • communicate – keep everyone involved and informed 
  • capacity building plus - institution strengthening for scaling up and handing over 
  • build back better – programmes that build resilience within communities to be more resilient to future shocks.

Appendices include Key factors for building a sustainable exit strategy, the BRCS Maldives Recovery Programme HR exit policy and the British Red Cross Transition Handbook for National Staff.

This document is accompanied by the following documents, available under Further Information on the right hand side of this page: 

  • Exit strategy: closure planning guidance document (draft)
  • Exit strategy: an introduction to sustainable exit presentation