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X.4 Community Engagement and Accountability

The Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) consists of the following five elements: (1) needs assessment and analysis; (2) strategic response planning; (3) resource mobilisation; (4) implementation and monitoring; and (5) operational review and evaluation. Successful implementation of any humanitarian intervention depends on the coordination and combination of all of these elements with good information management and continuous prevention and preparedness activities. This should help with real-time mitigation of the negative impacts related to lack of access to safe water supplies and avoid exacerbating the problem. Most importantly, people should be placed at the centre of this cycle to ensure that the protection principles are addressed, which are:

  1. Enhancing the safety, dignity and rights of people while avoiding exposing them to harm;
  2. Ensuring people’s access to assistance according to need and without discrimination;
  3. Assisting people in recovering from the physical and psychological effects of threatened or actual violence, coercion or deliberate deprivation; and
  4. Helping people claim their rights.

To ensure that all affected people get access to equitable safe water, communities must be consulted and actively involved in every phase of the HPC. Communities should be provided with opportunities and operational space to provide feedback, which must be heard and acted upon to ensure the interventions are appropriate and allow for sustained service delivery. This is often referred to as Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA). The main objectives of CEA are:

  1. Encouraging community engagement, participation and feedback to allow two-way information sharing on all aspects of the programme assessment, design and delivery with opportunities to complain should infrastructure and services not be up to standards;
  2. Providing information to aid in sharing life-saving and/or sustaining key information prior to or during a crisis at scale using mass media, such as text messages, social media and or radio;
  3. Including behaviour and social change communications with the messages to promote safer and/or more appropriate behaviours in WASH interventions; and
  4. Using evidence-based advocacy to provide a safe platform for those affected by crisis to influence decision makers for better outcomes.