Community Engagement and Accountability
Community engagement and accountability (CEA) is a way of working that recognizes and values community members as equal partners. It makes sure their opinions are heard and used to design and guide our work.
Community engagement and accountability (CEA) is essential to help us build the acceptance and trust we need to deliver our lifesaving work.
One of the most effective ways of building this trust is to make sure that people always have the ability to engage with us, and to guarantee that we will act based on their feedback and needs.
For far too long, vulnerable or affected communities have been viewed as recipients of humanitarian aid and development programmes rather than active participants in their own future and recovery.
But evidence, experience and common sense show us that when communities play an active role in designing and managing our programmes and operations, the outcomes are more effective and more sustainable.
Our commitment to CEA
The IFRC is committed to community engagement and accountability throughout all of our work. This means:
- Taking the time to understand a community’s context and listen to people’s needs, thoughts and feelings
- Integrating meaningful community participation in our projects—handing over control of our programmes and operations to communities as much as possible
- Open and honest communication about who we are and what we are doing—ensuring people feel confident and comfortable interacting with our members and services
- Setting up trusted feedback mechanisms so we can continually improve our work based on what communities actually want, not what we think they want
In 2019, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted a set of Movement-wide commitments for community engagement and accountability. Discover them here.
Watch: What is Community Engagement and Accountability?
Guide to Community Engagement and Accountability
CEA during COVID-19
Photo: IFRC/Ibrahim Mollik
Around the world, information gaps about COVID-19 have led to misconceptions, rumours, mistrust and uncertainty within communities.
As a result, a worrying number of people are hesitant about getting life-saving vaccines. And many others are ignoring basic public health advice—ultimately helping the virus to spread.
Our millions of local, trusted Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are working hard within their communities to address people’s fears, worries and information needs around COVID-19.