As part of Accountable Now’s Annual Workshop 2020, partners from World Vision International and Mayumi Fuchi from the University of Birmingham hosted an insightful session on feedback and complaints mechanisms during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find out what was discussed and what was learnt in their blog below!
The promise of coronavirus vaccines means an endpoint to the Covid-19 pandemic is appearing on the horizon. It will take much time and effort, but at least we know better where we stand – around the mid-point of this dangerous and disruptive period. Now may be a good time to take stock of how we have adapted, and imagine how, post-pandemic, we can make use of this opportunity to do things differently as a sector and ensure that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) keep social distance whilst maintaining a meaningful dialogue with those they work with and for.
Constituent engagement is critical in being adaptive in our programming as it enables us to actively listen in ways that help us better understand the contexts we operate in and support emergent agency. It was during Accountable Now’s recent Annual Workshop that we had a chance to work with a variety of civil society actors to address questions of how the sector is adapting one element of constituent engagement, their feedback and complaint mechanisms, in light of the pandemic.
Recently, CSOs have been taking stock of these adaptations and looking ahead to whether we just revert to what we did before, or whether these changes have created new possibilities. Workshop participants populated a large virtual flipchart to identify what adaptations have been made to our feedback and complaints mechanisms, the implications of these changes and what we now need to do to set a course for these mechanisms to enable more meaningful dialogue and effective programming post-pandemic.
The discussion generated several takeaways for the different actors in the ‘feedback loop’.
The process of sharing our adaptations reminded us that we often tend to develop our own systems and mechanisms and that we need to continue to share approaches and harmonize whenever we are engaging overlapping constituencies. One of the silver linings of facing a global crisis is that many CSOs and alliances have now developed information sharing portals on Covid-19 responses generally (ALNAP Portal, CHS Alliance Covid-19 and CHS, BOND Covid-19 Advice and Resources, COVID-19 Resources by UN agencies and Clusters) as well as specific sharing around feedback and complaints mechanisms (see list below). These can all help us reflect, and retain the positive adaptations made during the pandemic, that support meaningful dialogue with the people and communities CSOs work for and with.
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