Robyn Mansfield travels to Gaza with Red Cross for participative community engagement project

Children are among the most vulnerable populations impacted by disasters worldwide, yet their voices and those of other marginalised groups are often excluded from key decision-making.

A chance encounter at a conference in 2018 led to an ongoing discussion about this very issue with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). I was presenting my MoDDD industry project and personal observations from the field trip to Ecuador at the conference when I had the chance encounter with ICRC.  Fast forward to August/September 2019 and I joined the ICRC as an independent consultant in Gaza to conduct consultation with different groups in Jabalia City and a refugee settlement for the Economic Security Department.

The aim of this work was to demonstrate participative community engagement in an urban environment with different groups of people to better understand their specific needs, local capacities and priorities for economic development programs. This involved meeting with people in places they felt comfortable such as homes, schools, neighbourhoods, community based organisations, sporting groups and so on and included women, children, people with disabilities, teenagers and more.