Community participation is targeted by the Iraqi Red Crescent’s (IRC) activities in its annual planning process.
With the goal to better understand the needs of the communities, volunteers are involved in the planning process through a digital application. This allows them to have a practical fellowship and collect specific data from their communities where they have carried out IRC’s activities. By collecting and analysing specific data from the targeted communities, the IRC is able to provide annual plans that enhance the effectiveness of the responses in compliance with the IRC’s strategy, and reinforces the acceptance of the IRC within the society.
For 10 years, the planning processes in the IRC were carried out in a different format and depended on the department managers who developed the planning based on the needs of the community. However, there was a lack of relevance in the decision-making, due to the fact that the planning didn’t always meet the actual needs of the communities. This was a consequence of the inability to collect data from the fields where the activities of the IRC were deployed.
Iraqi Red Crescent volunteers are active in all geographical areas around the country and the number of registered volunteers within the IRC is over 11,000. In accordance with the different needs, the Program’s elements are communicated to the volunteers, as a means to target them more effectively for the function of each project.
According to the Iraqi Red Crescent strategy (2019-2023),the plan is to increase the number of volunteers by 25%. By involving the community and volunteers in the strategic and annual planning, the IRC is able to combine the community and the organisational needs. This initiative allows the IRC to consider both needs in the annual planning, which will be conducted by volunteers who are part of the community as well. These tools will contribute to the development of a deep data analysis and will help the IRC’s understanding when it comes to the specific needs in the areas of intervention. This new system contributes directly to the IRC’s decision-making process which is closely related to the community’s needs, abiding to the IRC’s policy.
Reducing the expenses of the assessments and collecting information is a key element of the project’s objectives. Therefore, the addition of digital tools during the implementation of ICR’s activities is highly important.
Technical details & Operations
Innovative project ideas that answer the actual needs of the communities will also be drawn through community engagement and through the development of planning methods, by opening fellowships to community volunteers to work for at least one month in a unit section of the IRC. These Fellowships aim to promote out-of-the-box thinking and creativity in addition to trained human resources through direct work with the organisation. The main actors of this process will be the general secretariat of the IRC, the institutional development department, field operations departments, its branches and volunteers.
This project will work to reinforce the effectiveness of volunteers and transfer their opinions and ideas to the level of implementation and support. The main tools of the project are:
- Human resources (synergies across): a) Employees from different branches working with the information management and analysis team, b) Members of the communication and community development forums, c) Members of the main operation rooms in different branches and d) Active volunteers (almost 900 volunteers).
- The tools that are being used are: digital information management system, geolocation system within the ArcGIS program and digital data collection and analysis.
- Digital internal communication tools introduced in 2022.
These tools will be used to collect specific data and information in the following fields:
- Health awareness.
- Medical and ambulance services.
- Disaster Risk Reduction.
- Climate change.
- Water and sanitation.
- Development of the National Assembly.
- Strategic policies of the National Assembly.
To conclude, advanced analysis methods will be used to collect ideas from the community during the planning process. Therefore, to summarise the context of technical implementation the main pillars of the solution consist of:
- The creation of fellowships with community members, as means to work in the planning units in the General Headquarters and branches for a minimum of one month.
- The involvement of the community members in the implementation of the activities they participated in its planning.
It is expected that 42 members of the community will participate, in order to promote gender diversity and inclusion in this process.
Deployment & Impact
The project is still under study and is expected to start its implementation in the second half of 2023. It is expected to effectively affect the strategic planning processes and the annual operational plans of the National Assembly over the next five years.