COVID-19 and physical distancing pose great challenges for those working to better engage communities in humanitarian action. But, in spite of these challenges, the CDAC Network has been able to operationalise the Communications, Community Engagement and Accountability (CCEA) Working Group in Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso, and the Sahel region, is facing serious challenges – before the COVID-19 pandemic, violence and drought plagued the country, and 2.2 million people were in need humanitarian assistance.
In December 2019, CDAC undertook a scoping mission to the country to assess the status, current strengths and needs related to response-wide Communication, Community Engagement and Accountability. The resulting situational analysis concluded that coordination and collaboration on CCEA would require significant strengthening to meet the immediate and medium-term needs of affected people,.
The working group was first operationalised in March to ensure a strong and cohesive participation around clearly-defined TORs, Action Plan and coordination with the clusters, HCT, government and NGOs. The month of May has seen considerable progress, particularly after the delays and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic during March and April.
Membership of the group is diverse and active, and currently includes representation from Fondation Hirondelle, Deutsche Welle Akademie, REACH, ACTED, Ground Truth Solutions, Belgian Red Cross, Terres Des Hommes, Plan International, Intersos, Humanity & Inclusion, Oxfam, ECHO, OHCHR, OCHA, UNDP, UNOPS, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, FAO, IOM and WHO.
The CEA Working Group now meets fortnightly. Coordination has been established with the Burkinabe Government’s Covid-19 response working group on Risk Communications and Community Engagement.
The objectives of the CEA Working Group and Coordinator’s efforts through the first phase (through September 2020) are being drawn from recommendations made by the working group and those outlined in Situational Analysis that was undertaken in December 2019. These include identifying and mapping the existing community engagement capacity in humanitarian and development actors across the response and building more cohesive and effective collective accountability. In addition, it includes providing a platform to support and coordinate the work of Ground Truth Solutions which has established a perceptions tracking mechanism and REACH which will undertake a Multi-Sector Needs Assessment to be included in the Humanitarian Needs Overview.
A portal for the Burkina Faso CEAWG has been developed on the Humanitarian Response website, where key documents can be found.
Planning is underway for a strong leadership structure to lead the CEA Working Group post September 2020, looking at models and best practices with other working groups.
Are you working on Communications, Community Engagement or Accountability in Burkina Faso? Join the working group – contact Senior National Coordinator, Sandra Zerbo