The Malian Red Cross (CRM), in partnership with the Dutch Red Cross (NLRC), the Canadian Red Cross (CRC), the Danish Red Cross (DRC) and with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), is embarking on a journey to institutionalise the Community Engagement and Accountability (CEA) approach.

After attending a 5-day Training of Trainers course given by IFRC experts in Cameroon, Fatoumata Sow, the national CEA coordinator, with the support of Philippe Onana (CRD) and Camilla Chatenier, delegate (NLRC) organised two national training courses. The first one took place from 12 to 14 December 2022 and was addressed to the Regional Secretaries and Project Managers.

The first objectivee of this training was to strengthen the capacities of the participants on the integration of CEA in the programmes, to present the CEA Boost pilot project, supported by the NLRC, which aims at setting up a feedback mechanism in the regions of Kayes, Koulikoro and Sikasso. This workshop was an opportunity to share with the participants the steps that the project team intends to follow for the implementation of the feedback mechanism, the sharing of IFRC tools supporting CEA activities, but also to learn from colleagues who have already implemented similar activities.

The second objective was to develop a document that sets out the CRM’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for managing complaints and sensitive information. The intention was that participants (heads of departments, project managers, regional secretaries of Malian Red Cross branches) would contribute to the CRM SOPs for the management of claims and sensitive information, particularly on roles and responsibilities, data flow, handling of sensitive information and handling of parties involved in the cases. One of the unexpected outcomes of this workshop was the creation of a drafting committee for the CRM SOPs for the management of complaints and sensitive information that can revise the document so that it best fits the reality of Malian Red Cross.

The next steps in this process are to support the team in the use of the shared tools and the sharing of lessons learned by the branches concerned. In particular, in terms of the difficulties and strengths in implementing the feedback mechanism in the regions of Kayes, Koulikoro and Sikasso as well as the programmatic benefits that the field teams will have gained from the project.

The Mali Red Cross and Netherlands Red Cross teams are eager to see how CEA unfolds in these branches of CRM!

This CEA workshop is a game changer for me as regards how activities will be carried out in my branch. It will add a lot of spice to our activities as I have learnt how to listen, document, analyse and interpret feedback data into information that can be used to make activities more effective.”

Peter Ochu, CEA FP Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Peter Ochu is one of the participants at the a 4-day Community Engagement and Accountability workshop organised by the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) with the support of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) with the participation of 22 program officers from the 11 states where the hunger crisis project is being implemented. The workshop which was aimed at equipping the branch field officers with the necessary skills on how to put communities at the centre of our activities for effective programming featured real-time group exercises on how to mainstream CEA in all activities and how to document their feedback. 

Closing the feedback loop is one of the most interesting part to me during this workshop. It is important that we respond to community feedback in such a way that answers all questions from community members.

Mary Ogwa-Ike, CEA FP from Benue State Nigeria

Community Engagement and Accountability is an aspect of the Red Cross Red Crescent programming that enable us to listen to community members and get their perspective on the activity that we implement in locality as succinctly put by the CEA Delegate who facilitated the workshop, that “we are working with and for the communities, it is very important that we listen to them and act to meet their needs as well as manage their expectations”.

Branch officers who participated during the workshop are the Disaster Management Officers, CEA Focal Points and Planning, Monitoring Evaluation Report, PMER officers.

Data Analyst Delegate, Amadu, Senior CEA Officer IFRC, Lilian Adeogba and CEA FP for the Nigerian Red Cross Society, Mofe Amoma were among those who facilitated during the 4-day workshop.