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.

About CEA

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?

Related documents

Watch: CEA in action