By Johan Eldebo, Southern Africa Regional Security Director, World Vision International
One may ask what participating at a UN conference in Geneva has in common with conducting rapid context analysis in a remote province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In most ways, it is not a lot.
Yet I think there is one element that they share, from the perspective of a visiting participant.
To maximise your understanding of either of them you must be a very intentional and strategic listener in order to cultivate good relationships. You must decide what your key priorities of learning will be during your visit, yet also maintain an open mind to change your plans if the circumstances dictate.
This flexible, listening and intentional approach to understand a conference, or a context, is a cornerstone to the philosophy behind the creation of the Good Enough Context Analysis for Rapid Response (GECARR).
GECARR is designed to be close enough to the local context, through focus discussion and interviews, to hear what people who live there experience. But it is also designed to be timely, practical and relevant enough to be of use to busy decision-makers working under significant pressure in dangerous areas. The process is participatory to enable people from different agencies to work together, both to form a good understanding of the context as well as good relationships with each other that will outlast the process itself.
In the East and the Kasai region of DRC this approach was applied to listen to the local community, and those who had been displaced. Those insights then informed the design of joint action between NGOs and UN agencies. By listening to the voices of children, this initiative also ensured that the voices of the next generation are heard.
We continue to share our journey of developing and using this approach to listen local communities in order to inform safe and sustainable operations. We take opportunities such as those provided by conferences in Geneva, and conversations with the UN in the hope that this journey of active listening and joint actions continue to benefit those most vulnerable in the most difficult places.
By sharing our experience with more partners at the UN this week, we hope that this journey of active listening and joint actions continue to benefit those most vulnerable in the most difficult of places.