RCCE 10 Steps

10 Steps to Community Readiness

Informed, engaged and empowered communities are the bedrock for the arrival of new vaccines, treatments and tests that will be introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives

The following 10 steps are well established risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) principles that have proven their power. Together, they put communities at the heart of the roll-out of new vaccines, treatments and tests, and promote trust – the critical ingredient for all community action.

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Download our RCCE 10 Steps 

STEP 1: MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THE PEOPLE, WITH THE PEOPLE

Regularly seek out and respond to feedback from communities. This improves the relationship and trust between communities and public health and authorities.

  • Initiate discussions with communities to understand sociocultural contexts and power dynamics. Map networks and influencers in the community.
  • Identify what type of engagement interventions are safe, feasible and acceptable.
TOOLS
COVID-19 Vaccines

Acceptance and demand for COVID-19 vaccines: Interim guidance
WHO | 2021

The Little Jab Book
Busara / Common Thread / Save the Children | 2021

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STEP 2: MAINTAIN & STRENGTHEN TRUST THROUGH FORMAL AND INFORMAL CONNECTIONS

Coordinate action through the widest set of stakeholders possible. A whole of society approach works best. Trust brings communities together for action and is paramount for the delivery of health care and services.

  • Activate or strengthen RCCE coordination mechanisms and use existing health and response structures to support health system readiness at all levels. Ensure representation of civil society
    and vulnerable groups. Work closely with other committees and advisory groups such as the National Immunization Advisory Group.
  • Launch or strengthen an independent national “alliance” of influencers and stakeholders who can listen, advocate, educate, address rumours and misinformation, and build vaccine and health literacy.
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STEP 3: LISTEN MORE, TALK LESS

Regularly seek out and respond to feedback from communities. This improves the relationship and trust between communities and public health and authorities.

  • Establish community feedback mechanisms to promote accountability and ensure that community beliefs, questions, concerns and suggestions are heard.
  • Guide the continuous adaptation of the COVID-19 response in an effective, agile, safe and confidential manner.
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STEP 4: USE DATA FOR DECISION MAKING AND COURSE CORRECTION

Social data gives an important perspective on community knowledge gaps, perceptions and behaviours. Understanding the drivers of behaviour is also critical to understand why people may or may not be practicing public health and social measures. For something as complex as human behaviour, a mix of data sources is best.

  • Include community feedback, social listening, polling and survey data to best understand community knowledge gaps, perceptions and behaviours.
  • Use this knowledge to inform decision making at all levels.
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STEP 5: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN WITH THE PEOPLE

Community participation in planning can improve services, ensure services are equitable and help to remove barriers. This is especially important when introducing new tools and services like vaccines, treatments or new types of tests.

  • Ensure communities are involved in co-designing solutions.
  • Use social data analysis to develop and regularly review and update RCCE action plans.
  • Crisis communication preparedness plans should be developed as part of this process.
Tools
Testing

COVID-19 Testing Communications Toolkit
Brown University School of Public Health | 2021

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STEP 6:  LET THE PEOPLE MEASURE SUCCESS

We have learned over time that wide spread community participation in monitoring and evaluation supports programme sustainability and promotes joint accountability and best use of resources.

  • Promote community participation in developing the monitoring and evaluation process. Include civil society and community groups in monitoring, reporting and joint accountability efforts to increase the likelihood of broad community uptake and responsibility for new interventions.
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STEP 7: HIRE & EMPOWER MORE RCCE EXPERTISE

Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) support provides the critical linkages between communities and health services. This expertise supports national authorities prepare and protect individuals and the public’s health.

  • Carefully map where RCCE expertise is needed and recruit immediately.
  • Establish RCCE leadership at all levels with the necessary authority to coordinate partners.
  • If not already established, introduce and enforce Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for RCCE as a central coordination and quality assurance tool.
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STEP 8: BUILD CAPACITY AND GIVE SKILLS TO GO BEYOND COVID-19

Training of the community health workforce, including frontline workers, volunteers, community leaders and community/social mobilisers from civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, local women and youth groups allows local issues to be solved locally.

  • For best results, initiate a continuous peer-to-peer support system for community mobilizers and networks.
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STEP 9: MANAGE THE INFODEMIC

An Infodemic is an overabundance of information – good or bad – that makes it difficult for people to make decisions for their health. The COVID-19 infodemic can harm health.

  • Ensure access to trusted information and effectively manage misinformation and
    rumours.
  • Activate or strengthen national factchecking and rumour-monitoring capacity recognizing, that rumours and misinformation can be as dangerous as COVID-19.
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STEP 10: START THE DRUMBEAT TOGETHER

Consistent two-way engagement supported by information from locally trusted channels re-enforces positive perceptions and drives action.

  • Establish and agree on priority communication channels with communities as soon as possible.
  • Where possible, adapt science and health messaging to new contexts with communities.
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