There are many ways in which communities are involved in decision making. There isn’t ‘one’ way to do it as each community is different. However, most examples are versions of some form of representation. Not every community member votes or is involved in the decision making of every decision. There are boards, elders, elected officials, community leaders, water management committees, SGBV taskforces, unions, complaints team, and so on.
In addition to performing the function of representing the views of the community to another audience, they also serve the function of being the point of contact for the community about particular issues.
These ideas, these models could also be use in how we manage data about the people affected by crisis. In broad terms, this is the data stewardship model. Data stewarship is ‘a model of data governance in which an intermediary facilitates or holds consent and decision-making on behalf of users, sometimes with a fiduciary responsibility under law‘. A simplistic definition would be that we are giving someone authority to make certain decisions on our behalf. What those decisions are are clear. And that the ‘other’ can be held accountable legally for what the decisions they do make.
And again, there is no ‘one’ right way to do this.
We are exploring this in our work. We are trying to pilot an approach that enables this type of decision making. I’ll be sharing our progress so far at the Humanitarian Network Partnerships Week. If you are interested to listen in please join.