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TIPS: Methods & Tools for Meaningful Community Engagement

Credits: Women Advancement Organization, RISE-South Sudan

There is a clear fatigue among communities in humanitarian settings towards the overwhelming and often imposing presence of humanitarian actors collecting information in times of crisis, often duplicating efforts, and limiting genuine engagement. It is crucial to address this major limitation by maximizing existing and trusting community and partners’ network, assets, and activities, as well as to adapt the way we work with communities.

We recommend using community engagement methods that move away from the ‘traditional’ yet often counterproductive top down ‘focus-group discussion-only’ format which tends to create unbalanced relationships between interviewers and interviewees.

We reviewed existing methods borrowed from Human-Centered Design from a variety of sources, tested them, and selected for you the tools and methods we found most useful, engaging, meaningful and fun that should enable your team to meaningfully grasp the community dynamics at stake, reflect on activities, anticipate and mitigate potential risks and increased vulnerabilities, and work with communities as partners.

Click on the link below to see our selection of tools. The document is composed of three sections:

  1. Exercises and tools to effectively prepare your community engagement strategy.

  2. General methods of community engagement.

  3. Innovative methods and tools for meaningful community engagement.


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