Mainstreaming of Accountability to Communities: An Operational Case Study
As an organization, accountability to our communities means transparent communication, meaningful participation of the communities and ploughing back learnings deduced from the community voices. The Kenya Red Cross Society commissioned CDA Collaborative Learning Projects (CDA) to develop a detailed operational case study that documents their experience in mainstreaming the Accountability to Communities (AtC) framework across the organization over a two year period.
This case study highlights the successes and challenges experienced by Kenya Red Cross and provides practical lessons for other National Societies and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) about factors that may enable a successful mainstreaming process.
The study shows that the integration of AtC has had a tremendous impact on the way the Kenya Red Cross works with the communities it serves, including:
- Increased trust – AtC created an increased sense of mutual trust and engagement between KRCS staff and volunteers. Trust has strengthened lines of communication, making it possible for community members to engage in an honest dialogue about project implementation and outcomes.
- Enhanced project sustainability and user-driven projects – The shift towards a consultative approach encouraged more community members to become involved in and lead their own development initiatives. This has enhanced project sustainability and community resiliency.
- Improved access, security, and early warning systems – Increased and transparent communication and enhanced trust between KRCS and communities have allowed staff to operate more safely and appropriately in the context in which they are working.
Overall, through an intentional and deliberate process, accountability has become embedded in the organization’s core values and throughout all its activities. AtC was also rolled out in a way that mandated broad ownership by all staff, volunteers, and community members. This has helped to ensure high levels of engagement by everyone. Collective ownership has led to collective success. However, accountability is not a one-time endeavor; rather, it is an ongoing process that needs to be periodically evaluated and revised to guarantee that it meets its objectives in a contextually and operationally appropriate way.