South Sudan Red Cross volunteers explain to a group of women how to prepare Super Cereal. As important as providing the Super Cereal itself is providing practical information and answer questions to enhance how families can best benefit from this nutritional supplement. Through radio announcements, a radio drama and Q&A sessions in communities and at distribution points, the ICRC has been explaining what Super Cereal is and how to cook it. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / A. Madrazo /
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have published a new guide on ways to effectively and systematically engage communities as a means of improving programme quality and building safer and more resilient communities.
"Working in partnership with communities is at the heart of the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement," says IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy. "It is put into practice every day by hundreds of thousands of volunteers who are on the frontline of responding to crises of all scales and types around the world. But we can always improve."
The "Red Cross Red Crescent Guide to Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA)" notes that aid organizations often overlook the capacities of local communities in their haste to deliver assistance, or they apply participatory approaches inconsistently, with little impact.
The new guide provides Movement partners with practical and adaptable guidance on ways to integrate tested communications and participation approaches into any programme, at any point in its cycle and offers tools, templates and examples to support implementation.
The guide also points to the rapidly changing ways that people across the world communicate, and includes ways that local organizations can take advantage of the explosion of new technology and connectivity to better engage with communities, governments, media and each other to improve humanitarian action.
"As we strive to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, we must continually reflect on how we can better listen to communities in order to 'do no harm' in our approach to working with them," says Yves Daccord, Director General of ICRC. "Ensuring a more consistent approach to CEA will enable us to better respond and adapt to the needs of the people and communities we serve."
For more information:
Jacobo Quintanilla, ICRC Community Engagement Advisor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jqg #CommIsAid
Ombretta Baggio, IFRC Community Engagement Coordinator, email@example.com, @ombaggio #CommIsAid