Community engagement and accountability is a way of working that recognizes and values all community members as equal partners, whose diverse needs, priorities, and preferences guide everything we do.
We achieve this by integrating meaningful community participation, open and honest communication, and mechanisms to listen to and act on feedback, within our programs and operations. Evidence, experience, and common sense tell us when we truly engage communities and they play an active role in designing and managing programs and operations, the outcomes are more effective, sustainable, and of a higher quality.
SRC provide support for ensuring CEA is built into National Society (NS), emergency operations and long-term programmes in several different ways, ranging from long-term programs and projects to emergency disaster response.
We do that by providing strategic and technical advice and training and tools to build the capacity of NS to integrate a more systematic approach to CEA throughout the programme and disaster cycle.
- Institutionalizing CEA: means making it part of the organization’s DNA. It means integrating community engagement into strategies, policies, plans and ways of working until it becomes a predictable, systematic part of every activity, at every stage of the programme or disaster response cycle. To achieve this, the National Society needs to make strengthening accountability to communities an organizational priority, with adequate funding, staff time and leadership support.
- Mainstream CEA in programs: Means integrating the CEA minimum actions across the programme cycle, from assessment to final evaluation. Practical guidance is provided on how to meet each action, with links to supporting tools. These actions can be integrated into any type of programme within any technical sector and can be used as a checklist to ensure a programme has a good level of engagement with communities.
- Mainstream CEA in emergency response: Means outlines the key minimum actions for community engagement and accountability in emergency response operations, and how to go further if time, capacity, and resources allow. It also highlights the common barriers and challenges to be aware of, as well as the factors that can help to support an accountable response.
Examples of CEA in practice
CEA Self-assessment workshop with Palestine Red Crescent Society - October 2022
This workshop was part of the SRC-supported Sustainable National Societies and Resilient Communities (SNSRC) project activities. It falls under the project’s second component (National Society Development and Capacity Building), which aims to measure the extent to which the PRCS, as well as its various programs and operations, are fulfilling the minimum requirements of PGI/CEA integration procedures. This workshop included PGI/CEA self-assessment tools developed and adopted by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Moreover, it aimed to identify the factors that support, inhibit, or hinder PGI/CEA institutionalization and the solutions to these hurdles and obstacles. Gaps and priorities were also identified, and a clear action plan was set to institutionalize and integrate PGI/CEA in programs and operations, in accordance with PRCS’s modus operandi.
This workshop is a PRCS self-assessment exercise that provided clear and accurate information on the weaknesses or gaps in PGI/CEA, the lack thereof, their inaccurate implementation, or the absence of mechanisms and tools that ensure their implementation either through institutions or the different programs, operations, and activities of PRCS projects. This information was analyzed and provided suggestions and identified priorities that informed a clear action plan to remedy the weaknesses and developed what is lacking in the NS in terms of PGI and CEA and everything that falls under these two concepts.