User-centred Community Engagement

Bangladesh pilot


Here you can read about the outcome of the pilot we conducted with the Rohingya community in the Jadimura Displacement Camp in Bangladesh. We consulted children aged 5 -12 years and their primary caregivers regarding the camp sanitation facilities through our user-centred community engagement methodology. You might also want to read up on what we learnt conducting this pilot and the one in Iraq.

Location: Jadimura Displacement Camp, Cox’s Bazar

Camp population: Approx. 14,800

Community engaged: Rohingya community

Type of response: Acute first phase

Scope of pilot: Informing new latrine construction

Number of affected people engaged:

  • 200 Children

  • 143 Caregivers

Where data was collected:

  • Interactive Survey I & II: Households of affected population

  • Co-creation Sessions: community gathering space

Participation of Children


Participation of Caregivers


Field Team


  • WASH Project Manager

  • Two WASH Engineers

  • Two MEAL Officers

  • Two Hygiene Promoters

  • One Child Protection Officer

Capacity & Skill

  • All team members had sufficient capacity to fulfill all required activities of the project.

  • Half of the field staff did not have sufficient English skills for the training to be conducted in English. The WASH PM had to translate everything into Bangla.

  • The two Hygiene Promoters had no experience working for SCI and the community engagement was their first. project. This was at times confusing for them as the methodology was introduced as a “different” approach.

  • Only the Child Protection Officer had experience in facilitating group sessions with children. All team members had data collection experience (for paper surveys).

  • All team members had sufficient digital skills to interact with the tablet.

Relationship to the affected people

  • All field team members were Bangladeshi.

  • Some field team members spoke the Chittagonian Bangla dialect, which is considered a sister language of Rohingya and shares about 70% of the vocabulary.


Informed design changes

The following are the issues identified via the interactive surveys and the actions agreed on with the community in the co-creation sessions.

Identified Pain Points Agreed Actions
1. Location and area surrounding latrines: found to be dirty, far away from home, not easy to walk to and with long queues. 1. Consider adequate proximity of the latrines to the household and improve the paths.
2. Locks: Too high, too difficult for children to open. 2. Improve the design of the locks to make them lower, easier to open and close.
3. Latrine holes and foot rests: size too big for children. 3. Smaller spaced latrine slab footrests.
4. Cleanliness inside of latrines: too dirty, smelly and too many flies. 4. Ensure management of latrines by allocated households, provision of cleaning products and tools.


The following are indicators collected during interactive survey I before constructions of the new design and interactive survey II after the new facilities were constructed.

Children’s satisfaction with latrines


Caregivers' perceptions of latrine appropriateness for children



There was a dramatic increase in both children and caregivers' satisfaction with latrines between Interactive Survey I and II. Reasons mentioned by caregivers when explaining why the latrines were better than before included: latrines being near to homes; being more safe and secure; having easy to use locks; having space inside latrine; there being a supportive handle inside the latrine; having a clear access path to the latrine; there being water, soap and cleaning brushes at the latrines; cleanliness of latrines; and lighting for the latrine blocks.


Caregivers' change over time in opinion of latrines


Caregivers' satisfaction with design of latrines


Caregivers' confidence that Save the Children would listen and act on feedback

(Children were not asked this question during the digital surveys due to the focus on the young age group and it being a challenging concept to explain during a survey)

(Children were not asked this question during the digital surveys due to the focus on the young age group and it being a challenging concept to explain during a survey)

We were surprised to see such a high proportion of people being confident that an aid agency would listen to their feedback and act on it, as in our experience people have low confidence in this area. We wondered if perhaps the high confidence rate was in part due to most respondents being new arrivals who have not interacted much with aid agencies, and thus have not had their trust broken in the past. It was thus reassuring to see that the figures still increased between interactive survey I and II, demonstrating that in this instance Save the Children had built the trust of people further by demonstrating that they would act on feedback.



As Research and Evaluation partner, Oxfam interviewed field team members and affected people involved in the pilots for feedback. These are excerpts from a report that will be published in October 2018.

Affected Population Feedback


Satisfaction: Overall, women and men were satisfied with the way in which they were informed and consulted with. The information was easy to understand, representative and accessible to all and the visual tools were enjoyed. It appears that Save the Children staff were strongly and frequently present, held many meetings and house-to-house visits. Affected people stated that “Save the Children don’t do any work without discussion”.

Methodology: The use of the digital tool in the engagement was really appreciated by the affected population and easy to understand for all. Using visual aids at different stages was key, for the children, women and men. The fact that they could point to the place to improve was appreciated and they enjoyed the interactivity. It was felt to be inclusive as illiterate people were not excluded.

Participation: Overall, participation was perceived as going to meetings, and this was high. They enjoyed the tablet survey and the meetings were appreciated, at a good time and place, and Save the Children listened and acted upon the feedback. They were satisfied with the regular visits and with, for community leaders (Mahjis) and committee members, phone contact with Save the Children staff. Decision-making was associated with selecting latrine designs and locations (where possible).

Being heard: A lot of affected people said their feedback had an impact on the design. This can be explained by the door-to-door data gathering which was organised to get their opinions, which gave people a chance to express themselves. Several people told us “they have included my feedback, they have listened to me”.


Information sharing:

  • It was difficult for the community to understand the process. There was a perception that “all is about meetings” and coming to them was part of the deal in order to get the latrines.

  • Abstract concepts were difficult for the respondents to understand (e.g. differences between the six Community Engagement phase). The community also did not understand the difference between a focus group discussion, a co-creation session and a community meeting.


Field Team Feedback


Methodology: Field staff liked the methods used in the project and would like to use them again, especially co-creation leading to child-friendly latrines. Methods for informing the community about the engagement was positive – easy, accessible, quick results. The co-creation method was the most discussed, though the digital survey got higher scores.

Taking decisions: There is a constant balance between practical and political considerations and the community’s wishes. The community provide feedback on what they want and this is balanced with the constraints of the land (drainage etc.) and existing structures (space is often a constraint). Some materials (e.g. for the roof) had already been bought, and adaptation was not possible until later on. The community engagement has enabled tweaking, within the constraints.


Being inclusive with Save the Children national staff: Staff perceived the project as a top-down and highly directive from the UK visitors (exactly how, when, where).