IFRC – Senior Officer, Community Engagement And Accountability.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with 192 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

Organizational Context

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC or “the Federation”) is the World’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network. The Federation is a membership organization established by and comprised of its member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Along with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Federation is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The overall aim of the IFRC is” to inspire, encourage, facilitate, and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world.” It works to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people before, during and after disasters, health emergencies and other crises. The Federation is served by a Secretariat based in Geneva, with regional and country offices throughout the world. The Secretariat is led by the IFRC Secretary General and provides the central capacity of the International Federation to serve, connect, and represent National Societies. The Secretariat’s focus includes providing support to the IFRC governance mechanisms; setting norms and standards; providing guidance; ensuring consistency; coordination and accountability for performance; knowledge sharing; promoting collaboration within and respect for the RCRC Movement; and expanding engagement with partners. The Secretariat’s headquarters is organized in three main business groups: (i) Partnerships, including Movement and Membership; (ii) Programs and Operations; and (iii) Management. The Secretariat has five regional office, as follows: Americas (Panama City); Africa (Nairobi); Asia/Pacific (Kuala Lumpur); Europe (Budapest); Middle East and North Africa (Beirut). The East Africa region is characterized by the complexity of slow and rapid onset emergencies, with some of the worst humanitarian statistics in the world. The National Societies in the region have been engaged in humanitarian operations responding to various types of disasters while also undertaking initiatives to build community resilience and addressing underlying causes. The National Societies of the region are also at various levels of capacities and face different challenges, which require IFRC, support in program, organizational development, humanitarian diplomacy, community engagement and accountability and reporting and resource mobilization. The region has been a focus for humanitarian actors, which require IFRC engagement in coordination and advocacy to influence humanitarian and development agendas and coordinate communication with communities and accountability mechanisms. The Senior CEA Officer will support National Societies in East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan

Job Purpose

Community engagement and accountability

Community engagement and accountability (CEA) is an approach to Red Cross and Red Crescent programming and operations. It is supported by a set of activities that help put communities at the centre of what we do, by integrating communication and participation throughout the programme cycle or operation. CEA is the process of and commitment to providing timely, relevant and actionable life-saving and life-enhancing information to communities. It is about using the most appropriate communication approaches to listen to communities’ needs, feedback and complaints, ensuring they can actively participate and guide Red Cross Red Crescent actions. CEA supports those involved in programmes and operations to adopt innovative approaches to better understand and engage with people and communities and help them address unhealthy and unsafe practices. It maximizes the Red Cross Red Crescent’s unique relationship with the community to help them speak out about the issues that affect them and influence decision and policy-makers to implement positive changes. Within the IFRC, there is global leadership for CEA at the Geneva level, with a Senior Advisor and CEA delegate present in the Africa Regional Office.

Job Purpose

The CEA Senior Officer will be responsible for driving the development of CEA across the 10 countries in the East Africa region and ensuring CEA is built into National Society (NS) and IFRC ways of working, emergency operations and long-term programmes at both country and regional level.

The position will provide strategic and technical advice and training to build the capacity of NS and the IFRC to integrate a more systematic approach to CEA throughout the programme and disaster cycle. This will include supporting and promoting the use of innovative approaches to information sharing, community participation and feedback, behaviour and social change communication and evidence-based advocacy.

The position holder will be responsible for all aspects of project and budget management and will act as the IFRC CEA representative for the East Africa region, coordinating on CEA approaches internally within the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and externally, through inter-agency networks. The post holder will coordinate closely with the heads of country delegations covering the East Africa region, as well as other technical staff including health, WASH, DRR, livelihoods, shelter and PGI (Protection, Gender and Inclusion). 

Job Duties and Responsibilities

CEA development and capacity building

  • Responsible for driving the roll out of a more systematic and integrated approach to CEA within the IFRC and across the 10 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the region through mainstreaming CEA in NS and IFRC plans, processes and procedures.
  • Work closely with National Societies and IFRC sectoral colleagues to help them identify gaps in their approach to CEA and then supporting them to address these by integrating and/or scaling up an appropriate mix of approaches and activities to communicating and engaging with affected people and communities within their programmes and operations.
  • Drive the inclusion of CEA in emergency operations and plans within East Africa, including providing and organising CEA surge capacity support to NS when possible and appropriate.
  • Lead technical advisor for CEA within East Africa, responsible for providing advice, support and training to NS and IFRC staff on how they can:
    • Ensure assessments are transparent and participatory, and capture people’s information needs and trusted and preferred communication channels.
    • Build community participation into operational planning, design and implementation.
    • Strengthen and/or help set up feedback mechanisms, including processes to make sure feedback is analysed and acted upon by operational teams.
    • Strengthen and/or help set up systems for sharing life-saving, useful and actionable information with affected people about Red Cross and Red Crescent services, from selection criteria to health advice, as part of information-as-aid activities.
    • To increase their reach and impact by helping teams, such as health, water and sanitation and disaster risk reduction, to set up methods to gain a deeper understanding of local perceptions, beliefs, culture, practices and values and to implement innovative behaviour and social change communication activities.
    • To find ways to involve affected people in assessing the impact of the operational response.
    • To ensure women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups have equal access to information channels and feedback mechanisms particular to their needs, and taking into account any specific protection issues.
  • Plan and deliver CEA trainings to IFRC and NS staff and volunteers and for the various networks and working groups they support (RC-NET), providing people with the skills and knowledge to launch and manage CEA tools and approaches within their programmes and operations
  • Support the rolling out and adaptation of CEA Movement tools, methodologies and activities, as defined in the CEA Movement guide and toolkit, to support programmes and operations.
  • Develop evidence-based learning demonstrating the impact of community engagement on the quality and effectiveness of programming by supporting the rolling out of research, impact surveys, perceptions studies and case studies.

Project and budget management

  • Project and budget manager for CEA within East Africa including development of annual CEA log frames and activity plans, integrating CEA in emergency plans of action and ensuring the inclusion of CEA in plans and strategies of each country delegation office.
  • Donor management, including identifying opportunities, preparation of funding proposals, donor relationship management and providing high quality, timely and accurate reports to donors.
  • Supporting NS/IFRC EA to develop their own CEA log frames, activity plans, budgets and to put in place robust monitoring and reporting processes.
  • Ensure expenditure on CEA pledges are in line with the budgets.

Coordination, representation, relationships and reporting

  • CEA representative for East Africa, leading on the coordination of CEA efforts across National Societies, Partner National Societies and the IFRC within EA, including playing a lead role in the CEA Africa Working Group and East Africa PMER working group.
  • Working closely with the IFRC CEA Regional Advisor for Africa to ensure there is consistency and coordination between CEA efforts within East Africa and across the regional and global levels. This includes ensuring the roll out of global CEA frameworks and standards within East Africa and that global frameworks and standards benefit from learning and experience at the country level.
  • Attend and represent the IFRC at external coordination networks and mechanisms, such as the COVID-19 RCCE Technical Working Group and Quality and Accountability Working Group and ensure a coordinated approach to CEA with other NGOs, humanitarian agencies, UN and private sector.
  • Identify opportunities for partnership with external organisations, including the use of technology and innovative approaches to enhance CEA within NS and IFRC programmes and operations.
  • Position IFRC EA as a leader in CEA through attending and speaking at internal and external events, conferences, meetings and workshops that allow us to highlight achievements and lessons learned.
  • Produce and disseminate internal and external reports, evaluations, brochures, case studies, press releases and web stories that demonstrate the impact of CEA, promote it to new audiences, and raise the profile of NS and IFRC in EA.
  • Establish and ensure effective working relationships with the other departments, in particular working closely with the EA programme and finance teams.
  • Ensure effective working relationships with technical and service departments at the Africa regional level.


An advanced university degree (Master’s degree) in Communication or Social/Behavioural Sciences (i.e. Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology or Health Education) or relevant experience is required. 


  • Five years’ experience planning and delivering community engagement approaches, beneficiary communication, communication for development or accountability to communities at a national level- Required
  • Experience working for humanitarian or development organisations, within the context of developing countries- Required
  • Experience working internationally or across multiple countries- Preferred
  • Experience setting up and managing tools for communicating with communities. For example, radio programmes, TV shows, SMS systems, community committees, social mobilisation or mobile cinemas and community dramas etc- Required
  • Proven experience in planning targeted and appropriate behaviour change communication strategies- Required
  • Experience setting up and managing accountability to community systems. For example, feedback and complaints mechanisms, rumour tracking systems, or participatory planning processes- Required
  • Experience of coaching, training and developing local staff and volunteers in order to build long-term capacity and create ownership- Required
  • Experience of planning and delivering community engagement interventions in emergency situations- Preferred
  • Experience of designing and implementing assessments, community consultations, research and/or focus groups discussions- Preferred
  • Experience working with Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. Preferred

Knowledge, skills and languages

Knowledge and Skills

  • Good planning skills, with the ability to identify areas for improvements in programmes, operations and NS/IFRC ways of working through the integration of CEA approaches and activities- Required
  • Good coordination and negotiation skills, with the capacity to build partnerships with internal and external organisations and bring people together to collaborate on CEA approaches and activities- Required
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and networking skills, able to build relationships with people at all levels of the organisation across multiple countries and cultures, both in person and remotely, to build commitment and support for CEA- Required
  • Excellent project management skills, able to work under pressure and manage multiple projects simultaneously, to a high standard and to deadline- Required
  • Advanced analytical skills, able to capture learning and use it to make improvements in programming and operations- Required
  • Highly motivated, self-starter able to take initiative and lead a team or process- Required
  • Good knowledge of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement- Preferred
  • Good knowledge of gender and diversity issues in humanitarian programming- Preferred


  • Fluently spoken and written English- Required
  • Good command of French- Preferred

Competencies and values

  • Professionalism
  • Communications
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • National Society and customer relations
  • Building alliances
  • Accountability
  • Creativity and innovation


Closing date (Geneva time zone):12-07-2021

The Federation is an equal opportunity employer.




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