A Red Cross Red Crescent guide to community engagement and accountability



This guide is written for Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, and the IFRC, ICRC and partner National Societies who work with them. It is relevant for anyone who wants to strengthen the way they engage communities in their work and can be used by any sector. It provides guidance and tools to adopt a more systematic and reliable approach to engaging with and being accountable to communities. It does not replace existing good practices, but rather helps to address any gaps or weaknesses where they exist. Case studies are included throughout highlighting examples of good practice (and cautionary tales) from across the Movement. Practical tools and training packages support this guide, which are linked to throughout.

This guide is organized in seven modules, which can be used individually as needed:

Module 1: Introduction provides an overview of community engagement and accountability and how it supports Red Cross Red Crescent work, including the different roles and responsibilities and wider trends in the humanitarian sector.

Module 2: Movement-wide commitments presents the community engagement and accountability commitments adopted at the 2019 Council of Delegates.

Module 3: Institutionalization explains why it is important to embed community engagement and accountability within policies, procedures, and ways of working, with guidance and tools on how to do this.

Module 4: Integration in programmes outlines the minimum actions to achieve good community engagement throughout the programme cycle, with guidance and tools on how to implement each action.

Module 5: Community engagement in emergencies explains how to achieve a good level of community engagement when there is greater urgency, less time and often more complexity.

Module 6: Community feedback mechanisms provides step-by-step guidance on how to set up community feedback mechanisms within a programme, operation or as part of institutionalization.

Module 7: Working with closely related sectors focuses on the links between community engagement and accountability and protection, gender and inclusion and behaviour change and risk communication and explains how these areas should best work together.

Feedback on this guide

This is the second edition of the Red Cross Red Crescent Guide to Community Engagement and Accountability. It has been revised and updated based on experience and lessons learned since the pilot version was launched in 2016. This version will be field tested throughout 2021 and refined and finalized in 2022, so please share your feedback on this guide and how we can make it more useful, practical, and easy to use. Send your feedback to