By Isabel Low, IFRC
‘When a woman has health concerns, she may not always feel comfortable discussing them with a male doctor. Based on our suggestion, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society arranged for a female doctor to be recruited. We consulted with her, and received prescriptions and medicines.’ This is how Sefali Begum from the Sheikhpura village explained why the Complaints Response Mechanism matters to her community.
The Mechanism was established by the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in the context of a 4-year Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction programme assisting 877 families in Keshobpur and Monirampur Upazila, in the Jessore district. It allowed communities to provide feedback to the National Society through text messages, telephone helpline service, suggestions and complaints boxes, and community meetings.
‘The Mechanism made the community members more aware of their right to express complaints and demand services. Consequently, people are more likely to refrain from any wrongdoings in our community. And if issues do arise we resolve them in community meetings.’ said Sankori Rani Das from the Kathaltala Village.
Given the success of this initiative, community members have asked that the Bangladesh Red Cross Society keep putting in place such mechanisms for future programs.
‘As the National Society provides humanitarian service to vulnerable populations before, during and after disasters, feedback mechanisms are important to assess the relevance of our services and create an environment of accountability,’ said BMM Mozharul Huq, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Red Cross Society.
This film demonstrates a fresh approach to reporting the results of the National Society’s program, giving a voice to the community members.