In 2017, the HIF launched a Challenge “to understand how to design, implement, and evaluate approaches to user-centred sanitation that incorporate rapid community engagement and are appropriate for the first stage of rapid-onset emergencies”. A component of the HIF Challenge was to carry out a Landscape Review of existing community engagement practice and relevant approaches that could be applied in rapid-onset emergencies (defined as the first twelve weeks following a crisis), in order to provide a background resource for Challenge participants. The review was carried out by Oxfam, the HIF’s Research and Evaluation Partner for the project. It draws on available published and grey literature and interviews with 15 key informants.
Despite its perceived importance, the evidence suggests that community engagement in all sectors of humanitarian response is often limited and rarely monitored or evaluated. Sanitation projects may involve the community only in the construction phase as a paid labour force, or as a cash-for-work initiative.