Community Participation Standard 1: Participation

Community members participate actively, transparently and without discrimination in analysis, planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of education responses

Key Actions

A range of community members participate actively in prioritising and planning education activities to ensure safe, effective and equitable delivery of education

See Guidance Notes:

Community education committees include representatives of all vulnerable groups

See Guidance Notes:

Children and youth participate actively in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of education activities

See Guidance Notes:

A wide range of community members participate in assessments, context analyses, social audits of education activities, joint budget reviews, and disaster risk reduction and conflict mitigation activities

See Guidance Notes:

Training and capacity building opportunities are available to community members

See Guidance Notes:

Guidance Notes
Inclusive community participation

Education authorities and other education stakeholders should ensure community participation in the analysis, planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of education responses. Any member of the affected community should be able to participate, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, HIV status or other factor.

Education authorities and other education stakeholders should engage the community in identifying:

  • the education needs of all learners;
  • the locally available financial, material and human resources;
  • existing and changing relations between male and female children, youth and adults;
  • power dynamics within the community, including relations between language groups, and any groups that may be excluded;
  • security issues, concerns and threats;
  • ways of protecting education institutions, staff and learners from possible attack, including gender-based violence;
  • local hazards, safe and accessible locations for schools and other learning spaces, and local approaches to disaster risk reduction;
  • ways of integrating relevant life-saving and conflict-sensitive education messages into all aspects of education response, including messages that address the major health threats in the community.

Structures to support stronger links between family, community and schools or other learning spaces should be developed in a participatory, inclusive and consultative manner.

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Community education committee

‘Community education committee’ refers to a group which identifies and addresses the educational needs and rights of all learners in a community. Alternative names may include ‘parent-teacher association’ or ‘school management committee’. It can assist a community through training and capacity building activities or by engaging with education authorities and other education stakeholders to support education programmes. If a community education committee does not already exist, its formation should be encouraged.

The community education committee should be representative of all the groups in the community and may include:

  • school administrators, teachers and staff;
  • parents or care-givers;
  • children and youth;
  • staff from civil society organisations;
  • representatives from local NGOs and religious organisations;
  • traditional leaders;
  • health workers.

The inclusion of representatives of vulnerable groups is essential. Community education committee members should be selected through a locally relevant participatory process that is appropriate to the context and that allows women and men and girls and boys to participate equitably.

In complex emergencies, where social distinctions such as ethnicity, tribe, religion and race can be exploited, the community education committee should work with all parties. While inclusion is the goal, the safety of individuals and groups comes first. Committees should aim to provide education safely, impartially and appropriately for everyone in the community. They should have first-hand knowledge of the changing socio-economic and political context and communicate with decision-makers at all levels.

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Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities of community education committee members should be clearly de ned and may include:

  • meeting regularly to address issues of concern;
  • keeping records of meetings and decisions;
  • mobilising community financial and in-kind contributions;
  • determining appropriate approaches sensitive to age and culture to ensure that educational programmes respect the needs and rights of learners. Examples include flexible school calendars and age-appropriate curricula that reflect the community context;
  • communicating with the community and local and national education authorities to promote good relationships between community members and decision-makers outside the community;
  • ensuring that those responsible for ensuring access and quality of education are accountable;
  • monitoring education provision to help ensure quality of teaching and learning;
  • collecting and monitoring disaggregated information on who is and who is not participating in learning opportunities;
  • promoting security from attack and strengthening the security of staff and students going to and from school;
  • ensuring that disaster risk reduction is included in education provision;
  • ensuring appropriate psychosocial support.
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Local education action plan

Local education authorities, the community and the community education committee should prioritise and plan education activities through a participatory planning process that will result in a community-based education action plan. A community-based education plan should build upon a national education plan, if one exists, and provide a framework for improving the quality of formal and non-formal education programmes. It should reflect the needs, rights, concerns and values of the emergency-affected community, particularly those belonging to vulnerable groups.

An education action plan focuses on ensuring educational continuity. It may have several objectives, including:

  • developing a shared vision of what the teaching and learning environment might become, described in terms of activities, indicators and targets, and a timeline;
  • the adaptation of curricula to the particular context, including conflict sensitivity and disaster risk reduction as appropriate;
  • agreeing on procedures for the recruitment, supervision and training of staff, and teacher compensation and support;
  • prioritising a human rights-based approach to reduce discrimination and create a shared understanding that education must be available, accessible, adaptable and acceptable;
  • gaining agreement and shared commitment on priorities for developing a safe and supportive learning environment, including protecting education from attack;
  • describing specific tasks and responsibilities of education authorities, which are legally responsible for protecting the right to education, and other education stakeholders. This may include resource mobilisation, maintenance and development of infrastructure, and coordination with external agencies and other sectors including food security, health, hygiene, nutrition, water supply and sanitation responses.

Action plans should incorporate regular community monitoring and assessment to help maintain broad community participation.

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Participation of children and youth in education activities

Children and youth have a right to be heard in matters that affect their lives, including the development and management of the education system. They should be invited to participate in discussions in safe, secure and welcoming environments that reinforce respect for constructive dialogue. Culturally appropriate ways of helping children and youth express themselves can be used, such as art, music and drama.

Children and youth should be trained to help them protect and support their emotional and social well-being and that of their family members and peers. Children and youth are often very valuable in identifying who is not in school after an emergency and helping them to attend. They can also help peers who are injured or those with disabilities access educational opportunities. Capacity building should emphasise their abilities to initiate positive change, including peace-building and addressing the root causes of conflicts and disasters. For example, training can support children and youth to report and prevent abuse within the learning environment and to take part in peer mediation or conflict resolution.

Tasks such as distributing supplies or constructing shelters can provide opportunities for youth to participate in the planning and implementation of activities that are important for their communities. Such participation can offer positive alternatives to becoming involved in crime or armed groups, has strong psychosocial benefits and helps the wider community to appreciate the contributions of youth. The participation of youth in planning, monitoring and evaluating education programmes, particularly skills and livelihoods training, helps ensure that these programmes meet their current and future needs. Special efforts should be made to encourage girls and young women to participate to ensure that their voices are heard because their access to education and educational needs may differ from those of their male peers.

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Social audits

Social audits are community-based evaluations of an education programme. They are used to:

  • determine the people, funding and materials that are available for the programme;
  • identify gaps;
  • monitor the effectiveness of the programme.

It may not always be possible to conduct social audits at the beginning or in the mid-term stages of an emergency. However, in long-term chronic crises or early recovery contexts, social audits provide communities with an opportunity to improve their ability to more effectively monitor education programmes and to document violations of their rights. Participation in social audits is particularly relevant for young people, especially those who are not in formal or non-formal education. It is important that the results of social audits are shared with all community members and relevant authorities.

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Capacity building

Capacity building strengthens knowledge, ability, skills and behaviour to help people and organisations achieve their goals. Every effort should be made to identify education experts, including teachers, other education personnel and developers of curricula, within the affected population to be involved in programme planning and implementation. If enough local expertise cannot be identified, or if people are unable or unwilling to assist with (re-)establishing the education system, then capacity building activities for community members may be appropriate. Assessments should examine the different capacities, needs and responses of male and female children, youth and adults in the community, including vulnerable groups. Training programmes should assess community capacity to identify training and other capacity building needs and ways to address them. Such activities should promote ownership and maintenance of the education programme by the community and coordination with other sectors.

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Supporting Resources

Supporting Resources

Engaged and Heard! Guidelines on Adolescent Participation and Civic Engagement

Published by
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

These guidelines have been developed to enhance systematic programming and advocacy to realize adolescents’ right to be heard in matters affecting them. The guidelines provide information on the ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how-to’ of participation and civic engagement, with a specific focus on adolescents.


Gender Mainstreaming in Practice: A Toolkit

Published by
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The goals of this toolkit are: to present a comprehensive understanding of what gender mainstreaming is; and to provide detailed guidance on how gender mainstreaming can be put into practice.


Guidelines for Children's Participation in Humanitarian Programming

Published by
Save the Children

These guidelines have been developed to support humanitarian managers and field staff in applying meaningful and safe children’s participation in different stages of the humanitarian programme response.


INEE Good Practice Guide: Community

Published by
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE)

Effective emergency education programs are based upon a thorough understanding of who the crisis-affected community is and their active involvement in the design of the program. Active involvement of the community facilitates the identification of community-specific education issues and the effective strategies to address them.


Minimum Economic Recovery Standards

Published by
SEEP Network

The Minimum Economic Recovery Standards are the internationally recognized consensus on best practices for building economic resilience for crisis-affected communities.


Monitoring Children's Rights: A Toolkit for Community-Based Organizations

Published by
Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children

This toolkit has been designed for community leaders, local children's rights advocates and staff of local child-serving and child-led institutions and agencies to help mobilise and coordinate resources in communities to develop effective monitoring practices for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Women, Girls, Boys and Men: Different Needs - Equal Opportunities

Published by
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)

This handbook targets field practitioners responding to humanitarian emergencies that result from conflict or natural hazards. In particular, sector/cluster actors are offered practical guidance on identifying and addressing the differing needs and situations of women, girls, boys, and men.


Youth Livelihoods Development Program Guide

Published by
US Agency for International Development (USAID)

This guide provides a practical set of suggestions and reference materials to improve youth livelihood development practices and to expand programming in this increasingly important area.



Untitled Spreadsheet
INEE Domain INEE Standard Indicator/Program Requirements Clarification Numerator Denominator Target Disaggregation Source of Indicator Source of Data Available Tool Crisis Phase
Foundational Standards Community Participation Participation (FDN/Community Participation Std 1)

Community members participate actively, transparently, and without discrimination in analysis, planning, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of education responses.
1.1 Percentage of parents actively participating in the conception and implementation of education in emergencies services Number of parents consulted Number of parents To be defined by program Gender Based on OCHA Indicator Registry Program documentation No tool required; INEE MS and indicator definitions sufficient All stages
1.2 Percentage of parents satisfied with the quality and appropriateness of response at the end of the project Number of parents satisfied with the quality and appropriateness of response at the end of the project Number of parents 100% NA Based on OCHA Indicator Registry Program documentation Tool required All stages
Resources (FDN/Community Participation Std 2)

Community resources are identified, mobilized and used to implement age-appropriate learning opportunities.
1.3 Analysis of opportunity to use local resources is carried out and acted on Scale 1-5 (1 = low, 5 = high) 5 NA New Program/procurement documentation Tool required All stages
Coordination Coordination (FDN/Coordination Std 1)

Coordination mechanisms for education are in place to support stakeholders working to ensure access to and continuity of quality education.
1.4 Percentage of regular relevant coordination mechanism (i.e., Education Cluster, EiEWG, LEGs) meetings attended by program team Number of regular relevant coordination mechanism (i.e.; Education Cluster, EiE Working Group (WG), Local Education Group (LEG) meetings attended by program team Number of regular relevant coordination mechanism (i.e. Education Cluster, EiEWG, LEGs) meetings held during organizational presence 100% NA New Meeting records No tool required; INEE MS and indicator definitions sufficient All stages
Analysis Assessment (FDN/Analysis Std 1)

Timely education assessments of the emergency situation are conducted in a holistic, transparent, and participatory manner.
1.5 Percentage of education needs assessments, carried out by the relevant coordinating body the program has participated in These include initial rapid and ongoing/rolling assessments Number of assessments organization contributed to Number of possible assessments organization could have contributed to 100% NA New Assessment records No tool required; INEE MS and indicator definitions sufficient All stages
Response Strategies (FDN/Analysis Std 2)

Inclusive education response strategies include a clear description of the context, barriers to the right to education, and strategies to overcome those barriers.
1.6 Strength of analysis of context, of barriers to the right to education, and of strategies to overcome those barriers Scale 1-5 (1 = low, 5 = high) 5 NA New Program documentation Tool required All stages
Monitoring (FDN/Analysis Std 3)

Regular monitoring of education response activities and the evolving learning needs of the affected population is carried out.
1.7 Percentage of education needs assessments carried out in defined time period Frequency to be defined by organization. Monitoring measures should be relevant to the desired program outcomes Number of education needs assessments carried out per year Number of education needs assessments required per year 100% NA New M&E plans and results No tool required; INEE MS and indicator definitions sufficient During program implementation
Evaluation (FDN/Analysis Std 4)

Systematic and impartial evaluations improve education response
activities and enhance accountability.
1.8 Number of evaluations carried out Number of evaluations carried out NA NA New M&E plans and results No tool required; INEE MS and indicator definitions sufficient Program completion
1.9 Percentage of evaluations shared with parents Number of evaluations shared with parents Number of evaluations 100% NA New M&E plans and results No tool required; INEE MS and indicator definitions sufficient Program completion