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Working with communities for remote monitoring during COVID-19 and other IDOs

Consider the benefits of collecting and managing data remotely and the importance of working with communities for remote monitoring.

In the context of IDOs such as COVID-19, many organizations need to adapt their ways of working and shift to remote monitoring approaches.

There are many benefits to collecting and managing monitoring data remotely, for example:

  • Project staff and participants’ safety may be increased as a result of not physically meeting to collect information, especially if the information they share is sensitive.

  • Geographic reach may be larger, particularly in restricted-security contexts.

  • Costs and time taken to collect data may be reduced.

  • Fewer time delays may exist between sampling and results.

  • Some data collection methods could encourage more participation and/or honesty in responses (if submitted anonymously).

It is critical to work with local partners, staff or community focal points and to draw on local knowledge and relationships when planning for remote monitoring approaches in IDOs. Where possible, approaches should be co-designed — with local, national or community partners — to ensure that approaches draw on their knowledge and relationships and promote ownership.

Working with Communities on Remote Management and Monitoring

Integrating Community-based Approaches — by using existing community structures, such as community groups and committees — is an important component of remotely monitoring projects (where they do not include sensitive/high-risk case management or the collection of information directly from survivors). For example:

  • Where available, local staff from the community can provide monitoring data and a link for establishing remote management protocols.

  • For project activities that are community-based and do not directly target individual children at risk, existing committees can help monitor the quality of implementation and project progress when staff are unable to visit sites.

Involving women, girls, men and boys in the M&E of projects is good practice and leads to a more effective humanitarian response. It can help ensure humanitarian organizations take account of, give account to, and are held to account by communities.

Good Practices When Working with Communities on Remote Management and Monitoring include:

1) Where community groups or individuals are often already collaborating with organizations, map out existing structures and leverage those rather than creating parallel systems in a community.

2) Develop Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and job or task descriptions for the role of community focal points, including clear boundaries of their roles.

3) Have multiple contacts per location to ensure you can triangulate information easily.

4) Ensure that the community focal points’ MOUs and training includes confidentiality, ethical approaches, safeguarding standards and processes, protection from sexual exploitation and abuse and concepts of M&E as well as other topics relevant to the child protection programming to create awareness of their roles and responsibilities and to strengthen their ability to respond to protection concerns. This can be done by remote methods when needed.

For additional resources on working with communities during COVID-19, please refer to Working with Communities to Keep Children Safe: Annex to the Technical Note on the Protection of Children during the Coronavirus Pandemic, Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, 2020.

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Protecting Children during COVID-19 and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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