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Staff Understanding of Community Engagement and Participation

Indicator Phrasing

% of project staff that understand the key principles and practices of community engagement and participation
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of project staff that understand the key principles and practices of community engagement and participation

French: % des membres du personnel en charge du projet qui comprend les principes et procédures clés de l'engagement et de la participation communautaires

Portuguese: % dos membros da equipa do projecto que compreende os princípios e práticas-chave do envolvimento e participação da comunidade

Czech: % pracovníků projektu, kteří rozumí klíčovým principům a postupům pro zapojování a participaci členů cílových komunit

What is its purpose?

This indicator assesses to what extent staff working on implementing a project understand the key principles and practices of community engagement and participation. It indicates the extent to which they can support the effective implementation of relevant measures. The indicator can also highlight the need for (further) staff training on specific topics relating to community engagement and participation.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Determine the indicator's value by using the following methodology:


1) Define who can be considered as ‘project staff’ according to this indicator. This should be all the staff expected to follow the project’s community engagement and participation measures, including the staff of partner organizations, relevant volunteers, consultants and contractors.


2) Define a limited amount of the most important knowledge related to community participation and engagement that the project staff should have.


3) Prepare a test assessing whether the project staff have the predefined, most important knowledge. The test can use a combination of the following:

    - questions assessing people’s knowledge related to key principles and practices of community participation and engagement

    - scenarios where the person is asked to describe how s/he would respond to a given situation (i.e. there are no predefined answers)

    - a task to develop an outline for a community participation / engagement event following the principles that the staff learned

    - questions assessing the extent to which people believe common misconceptions related to community engagement and participation

Ensure that you include enough open-ended questions, as – compared to questions with single / multiple choice answers - these allow you to better understand people’s knowledge level. If you do not specialize in mainstreaming community engagement and participation, engage a relevant expert in preparing and evaluating the test.

To avoid having unrealistically high or unnecessarily low requirements, verify the difficulty of the test by pre-testing it with several people.


4) Decide how many marks will be allocated to each correct answer. For example, you can give one mark for a correct answer to a simple question, while for correct answers to more complex questions / scenarios, you can give two marks.


5) Decide how many marks a person needs to get to be considered as “understanding the project's key community engagement and participation measures” (e.g. a score of at least 15 out of 20).


6) Administer the test. If you need to compare a member of staff’s awareness before and after a certain learning event (e.g. a training), you might need to design two comparable tests to administer a pre- and post-test.


7) Count the number of staff who achieved the minimum acceptable score (see point 5).


8) To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of staff who achieved the minimum acceptable score by the total number of staff who completed the test. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.


Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by the position, gender, and age group of participating staff.

Important Comments

1) Keep in mind that using this indicator is not supposed to be a heavy exercise – it is only about someone defining what people really need to know about community engagement and participation, preparing practical test / exercise that checks how well they know it, and then using the results.


2) Consider making the test anonymous (and ensure that people know it is anonymous). This will reduce the risk of people responding based on what they think the ‘correct’ answer is instead of saying what they truly think or believe. If you use an anonymous test, you might need to reduce the disaggregation requirements. Collecting the respondents’ position, gender, and age group might make tests less anonymous. If you need to compare people’s results in a pre-test and post-test, use a coding scheme that allows you to compare two tests without revealing the identity of respondents.  


3) Your organization may have a set of essential community engagement and participation measures that are applicable to all its interventions and then additional measures specific to individual projects. If this is the case, consider developing a standard test that includes both:

   - the essential measures (that apply to all interventions); plus

   - additional questions assessing people’s understanding of measures that are specific to a given project

Such a partially pre-prepared test will make it easier for you to use this indicator across different projects. Engage relevant experts in developing the test to ensure its quality.


4) It is recommended that you share the test results with the participants, as it can serve as a valuable learning opportunity. Accompany sharing with a discussion of the correct answers.

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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