All the Evidence We Need

12/2019 | Sarah Cechvala & Sabina Carlson Robillard

Effective community engagement helps to ensure that humanitarian organizations are more accountable to the people they serve. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is firmly rooted in local communities, and is committed to being accountable to communities as established in the Principles and Rules for Red Cross and Red Crescent Humanitarian Assistance and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s Code of Conduct in Disaster Relief. Most recently, the Movement has increased its efforts to meet its commitments to improve how it engages with and is accountable to local communities through the Movement Commitments on Community Engagement and Accountability presented at the 2019 Council of Delegates. Furthermore, over the years the Movement has developed a robust set of resources, such as a guide and toolkit, that seek to support National Societies to strengthen their practices of engaging with local communities Yet, even with a wealth of resources and commitments a variety of barriers and challenges still exist in institutionalizing a consistent approach that ensures that community engagement is an integral part of all responses.

To understand these gaps in application, CDA and the IFRC partnered on a joint learning initiative to investigate the practical experience of Movement members to institutionalize community engagement approaches across their programs and operations. This final report  and associated briefing notes consolidate the learning from this research project. It articulates the challenges that Movement member experience in institutionalizing a community-led approach and then uses this evidence to substantiate assumptions about the value and impact of community engagement and participation.