1.4 Why participation is important in an emergency response

  • Participation as a moral duty: Participation demonstrates respect for members of affected populations, by recognising their right to have a say in choices that impact on their lives
  • Participation to improve programme quality: Participation increases the interventions suitability to the local context, affected population’s ownership over the intervention and the likeliness that they will sustain/maintain the intervention in the longer run. For example, when affected communities are asked where they want the new community hand pump to be installed, it is more likely to be positioned in a place that is safe for women, accessible to the greatest number of people and there is willingness by users to maintain the well.
  • Participation to increase security: Increased trust between parties can translate into better access to important security information and increased safety of staff.
  • Participation to gain access: Partnerships with affected populations may help achieve access to areas or groups that would normally not be accessible to foreign organisations.
  • Participation to support and increase local capacity: Strengthening the capacity of local organisations better prepares communities for future crises.
  • Participation to give a voice to traditionally marginalised groups and individuals: Engagement with marginalised groups positively impacts them and their families by equipping them with increased knowledge about their rights.

    Source: Adapted from ALNAP, 2003.