Building Trust programme

Building Trust during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Humanitarian Settings is our global programme supporting Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to build trust in public health responses and in the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

About the programme

The success of a public health response—during COVID-19, Ebola or other health emergencies—often depends on whether responders can earn and maintain the trust of the communities they serve.

When people don't trust service providers, public authorities, or organizations trying to keep them safe, they are less likely to follow safety protocols or get life-saving vaccines. This in turn enables viruses and disease outbreaks to spread more easily, putting individuals and their communities at greater risk.

And when service providers and organizations don't communicate with the public clearly, in ways they understand and via the channels they prefer, harmful misinformation and 'information fatigue' can spread—further hindering efforts to protect communities.

Our Building Trust programme aims to keep people safe before, during and after public health emergencies by building people's trust in the responses, health measures and responders trying to keep them safe.

Funded by USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, it is built on our many years of experience developing Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) approaches in different countries and contexts.

We've learned that the best way of building trust is to listen to the people we serve—their thoughts, fears, doubts and concerns about the situation they're in and the services we, and others, provide—and adapt our work and messaging according to their feedback.

The Building Trust programme is supporting Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, the Philippines and Sudan to do exactly that.

Programme activities

Using social data

Ensuring quality and consistency

Coordination and advocacy

Reinforcing local capacity

Scaling-up quality health services

Community Trust Index

More than just a programme

Ecuadorian Red Cross health volunteers take the blood pressure of a woman at a mobile hospital in La Chorrera, Ecuador, and listen to her health concerns.

Ecuadorian Red Cross health volunteers take the blood pressure of a woman at a mobile hospital in La Chorrera, Ecuador, and listen to her health concerns.

Photo: Ecuadorian Red Cross/Vladimir Rodas

The Building Trust programme is more than just another COVID-19 project. We see it as an opportunity to encourage better, wider adoption of community engagement and accountability approaches in the long-term—well beyond the end of the programme.

We want it to lead to lasting change, so that our work is always grounded in listening to the people we support and acting based on their feedback and perceptions. And we want it to lead to sustainable, positive change among our National Societies too.

We also see the Building Trust programme as a way of cementing our status as a leader in CEA—by developing more and deeper partnerships with other agencies and improving our systems so we can respond even more effectively to the needs of crisis-affected populations.

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