The conduct of Community consultation on the Response Action (CORA) for COVID-19 last June 2020 was crucial in validating how responding agencies from the government and other organizations are able to maximize preferred platforms of the at-risk communities in the provision of various forms of life-saving aid, in getting feedback on the support received by the people in need, and in addressing those feedback or concerns through trusted channels and inclusive mechanisms in the affected areas.
More than four months since COVID-19 was declared pandemic, the overall CORA process and results are envisioned to improve the collective response actions on COVID-19 and to highly inform decision makers, implementors, partners, donors and funding agencies on how to best support the unmet, continuing and evolving needs of the affected communities in the next coming months.
CORA is one form of community engagement that is embedded in the holistic approach of the Humanitarian Country Team’s Humanitarian Response Plan (HCT’s HRP) on COVID-19. The conduct of CORA was necessary to ensure that the humanitarian response is more accountable, inclusive, and enabling. The collective initiative supports enhancing community participation and improving the overall quality of the humanitarian intervention programming.
The process includes utilizing communication mechanisms, accountability frameworks, and community participation channels to advance the people-driven response, safeguard the humanitarian principles and turn post-pandemic adversity into opportunities that will help better understand gender-age-disability sensitive vulnerabilities; enhance local resilience or adaptive capacity under the new normal; encourage meaningful participation; and emphasize equity of affected communities.
As the number of confirmed cases continue to rise, health facilities start to be overwhelmed, contact tracing remains the weakest link to minimize community transmission across the country, and lifting of lockdown and community restrictions contribute to the further spread of the virus, CORA provides an added value of establishing ways that protect and enable affected communities, regardless of sex, age or social status, to have access to the aid that they need to survive and recover.
Despite challenges and gaps to engage the atrisk communities and people in need, various agencies including local partners participated in the CORA not only to ensure that community voices are heard by responding agencies but also to ensure that humanitarian community members are accountable to respond to those issues or concerns. These include United Nation (UN) agencies, International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs), Private sector, National NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, (CSOs), FaithBased Groups (FBGs) and the Community or People’s Organizations (Cos/POs).
The Community of Practice on Community Engagement (CoPCE) has been working with Local Government Units (LGUs), and government agencies like Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) across the country, Cluster Leads, and other field partners at the local level in the actual conduct of inclusive community consultation in various at-risk areas across the country.
Timeline: Month of June 2020