6.5 Methods of community engagement
There are many different methods of community engagement. Table 6.2 gives some examples. Some are only suitable for one level of engagement and others can be used more widely.
Table 6.2 Community engagement methods. (Adapted from MFSH, 2008)
|Level and type of engagement||Methods of engagement|
Newsletters, posters in public places, letters and flyers
Press releases for local radio and television
Advertisements, notifications or articles in local newspaper
Stakeholder meetings, interviews
Public meetings and forums
Focus group discussions
Distribution of documents
|3 and 4||Planning together and acting together|
Workshops, discussions, action planning meetings
In-depth interviews and discussions
Participatory stakeholder mapping
Participatory planning and implementation
Advisory committees, area councils or steering committees
Taskforces, planning groups, strategic alliances and formal agreements
Participatory planning, implementation, expenditure tracking and performance monitoring, with public authority support
A high level of community engagement, such as collaborating to develop partnerships and provide recommendations at the project design stage, will help to sustain a project, empowering the community to make decisions and to implement and manage change.
It may be impossible to fully engage the community at every stage and you should consider the most appropriate level of engagement and participation for each particular situation. Most WASH programmes claim to have high community engagement, but may actually provide very little opportunity for the community to participate in the project implementation, so a key message is to avoid promising a level of participation that cannot actually be achieved. But the more you engage the community in decision making, the higher the level of ownership of the decisions made and consequently, the greater the likelihood of success.