groups » Minimum Standards for Engagement Consultation Group » Take part in the consultation
UNICEF Communication for Development is seeking comment on draft documents outlining proposed minimum standards for community engagement and indicators for measurement for development and humanitarian practice. The ‘Development of Minimum Quality Standards and Indicators for Community Engagement Project’ emerges from a growing consensus on the need for improved evaluation and measurement of the impacts of community engagement, particularly in the wake of lessons learned during the 2014 – 16 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa.
Through a wide-ranging consultative process, and building on current practice and evidence, UNICEF is currently developing a framework for community engagement that will support implementation of high quality, evidence-based community engagement in the development and humanitarian sector.
The UNICEF project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and builds on the outcomes with a range of working group partners includes Save the Children, IFRC, WHO, the CORE Group, World Vision, Oxfam, MSF and the London School of Tropical Health and Medicine.
While the focus of these current standards is on development and humanitarian practice, there is considerable overlap with community engagement within the context of research and clinical trials. We look forward to receiving feedback from Mesh members, be they from the fields of development and humanitarian practice, or the broader health and health research communities.
We invite those interested in providing feedback to the document to looks at all sections. However, if there are areas of specific interest or expertise UNICEF would welcome feedback or inputs to specific sections.
There are three ways of providing feedback:
1. The minimum standards document is available as a Google Doc here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JGgnMwr9QtDpCUe9R9Tl8u9Yqn8BBZIRQWKZW5AE988/edit?usp=sharing and the community engagement indicators document is available as a draft here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12V__kdkZ51fOk5QpVee-Xt_E3yIl3iq2h4FRfOih1qs/edit?usp=sharing Feel free to add comments directly onto the document.
2. Download the minimum standards document as a PDF in the top comment below, then respond to the survey here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NOQ5pzCeF2fW60au1zDbPssZyW4JBKonsCCRkGP2FLM/viewform?edit_requested=true
Please also see the comments below for further background information on community engagement for development and health, and the standards and indicators.
Further background information: Community Engagement for Development and Humanitarian Response.
Community engagement in for development practice and humanitarian response is a critical strategy for working with and involving local populations in any context. Community engagement empowers social groups and social networks in communities and improves the responsiveness of development and humanitarian actors. Improving the quality, process and measurement of community engagement is key to strengthening local capacities, community structures, improving resource allocation and influencing policy at local and national level. Community engagement approaches that support communities to take their own action underpins efforts to ensure communities access and use social services, improve their well-being and develop greater resilience.
For example, community engagement is an essential strategy in: developing community-led strategies for improving maternal and child health outcomes, for ending open defecation, increasing access to education for girls and child protection. It is an essential strategy in ensuring health emergencies and other humanitarian response takes into consideration the needs, opinions, ideas and skills of effected communities.
However, there are no agreed upon international or common standards for designing, implementing, supporting and measuring community engagement. While many organizations have developed metrics, implementation guidelines, standards and protocols that guide community engagement within their broader behaviour and social change communication approaches for both development and humanitarian interventions, the lack of standards, indicators, and agreed upon methodological approaches across implementing agencies limits coordination of community engagement activities and the synthesis and comparison of monitoring and evaluation data and processes. UNICEF sees the opportunity to seek consultation and feedback from the MESH community as a vital contribution to the final minimum standards and indicators document.
Further background information: Community Engagement Standards and Indicators.
The draft Minimum Quality Standards and Indicators for Community Engagement has been developed based on a review of current community engagement practice in the development and humanitarian sectors. It has also been subject to an initial round of consultation from community engagement and sector experts at both international and country level.
The standards and indexes documents take into consideration the highly contextual nature of community engagement and its utilization as an approach across a range of sectors (for example health, water and sanitation, emergencies, education and child protection). Its objective is to outline the broad elements of community engagement for those with a shared interest - including governments, implementing agencies, bi and multi-laterals and communities themselves – in effectively engaging communities.
I think this is a really important endeavor however I balk a bit upon seeing these extensive indices etc. That might be fine and very useful for some purposes but in order to ensure that we integrate levels of community engagement and participation in all levels of our programming we need to make this clear and easy to integrate.
Additionally, I put together a community media document which provides some useful background and tools on community engagement. See here: https://www.spring-nutrition.org/sites/default/files/publications/reports/spring_community_media_report.pdf I think what's missing from the documents you have put together is the idea that community engagement is a spectrum. There are a few models and concepts in the paper referenced above that outline that from the research and I think do a good job of conveying that. Consider those as you think relevant. Thanks!
community engagement is an essential strategy in: developing community-led strategies for improving maternal and child health outcomes, for ending open defecation, increasing access to education for girls and child protection. It is an essential strategy in ensuring health emergencies and other humanitarian response takes into consideration the needs, opinions, ideas and skills of effected communities.