1.1 What participation is

Far more than a set of tools, participation is first and foremost a state of mind, according to which members of affected populations are at the heart of humanitarian action, as social actors, with insights on their situation, and with competencies, energy and ideas of their own.‘ (ALNAP, 2003, p. 20).

Participation in humanitarian action is understood as the engagement of affected populations in one or more phases of the project cycle: assessment, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Participation can be facilitated through the use of participatory tools such as surveys, individual interviews, focus groups, Venn diagrams, transect walks, proportional piling and seasonal activity calendars. Regardless of the tools used or forms that participation takes, ensuring the meaningful participation of disaster-affected communities-including women, men, boys and girls-in emergency response is a fundamental aspect of our humanitarian accountability (refer to Chapter 32 Quality and accountability).