On March 9, 2017, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) participated at the IGNITE Stage within the framework of the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas (RP17). The presentation titled “Putting Communities at the Center of Our Work: a Guide to Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA)” centered on sharing the CEA Guide produced by the Movement and a prevention video and CEA tool produced by the IFRC Zika Operation.
The Red Cross approach to community resilience strengthening ensures communities are placed at, and remain at the center of decisions and actions that impact their future and that programs respond to objectives defined by the community. As such, in January 2017, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement launched the pilot edition of the Guide to Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA). As part of the effort to promote a more systematic approach to CEA, the guide comes accompanied by a set of tools and support materials that aim to help implementers in the field take on a more people centered and participatory approach when working with communities.
At the same time, in the Americas region, the IFRC Zika Operation has been actively promoting the CEA approach to deal with vector-borne epidemics. To date, community engagement efforts in Zika virus prevention have reached over 5.8 million people in the region. In February 2017, the Operation launched an animated video tool to spread key prevention messages, spark dialogue and receive community feedback. The presentation used this tool to exemplify the types of practices that can be brought to communities and translate CEA from theory to practice and create more informed, motivated, responsible and participating communities.
The RP17 brought together representatives of the region’s government’s, humanitarian organizations, civil society and other partners work to promote and implement disaster risk reduction. The 3-day event took place in Montreal and was hosted by the Government of Canada, with support from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Regional Office.