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FCDO Beneficiary Engagement

24 September 2021FCDO







This guide has been developed to help build confidence and capability, distilling useful tips and considerations that may help teams think through programme delivery issues and interpret elements of the PrOF Rules.

This PrOF Guide lays out:

  • The definition of beneficiary engagement.
  • The case for beneficiary engagement.
  • FCDO’s approach to beneficiary engagement.
  • Practical tips for how to integrate beneficiary engagement throughout the programme cycle, including guiding questions to ask, rules of thumb to apply, tools to use and challenges and special topics to consider during Design, Mobilisation, Delivery and Closure phases.

At its core, beneficiary engagement is about processes that recognise the dignity and support the agency of the people whose lives we are trying to improve. It is about beneficiaries and programme constituents having a say over what assistance they receive and how they receive it. It is about engaging beneficiaries and programme constituents as people with valuable insights and capabilities, rather than a compliance exercise. It is about empowering all beneficiaries and programme constituents to improve their lives by engaging them in helping us make better design and delivery decisions for the programmes that affect their lives. It’s about ensuring that a diverse set of voices are heard. Harnessing the power of beneficiary engagement can also improve outcomes and help programmes reach them more efficiently. It helps define and promote Value for Money, improve transparency and ensure that beneficiaries are safe from harm and empowered to speak out wherever harm does occur.

Beneficiary engagement is supported by FCDO policy commitments, PrOF Rules, internal guidance and key international commitments. Beneficiary engagement is applicable to, and valuable in, a range of contexts, including humanitarian contexts. Beneficiary engagement requires time and resources, but programmes can help ensure the benefits of engagement outweigh the costs by Doing No Harm, Engaging Early and Closing the Loop.

It is ultimately the Programme Responsible Owner’s responsibility to determine what beneficiary engagement is suitable and feasible for a programme. Quality beneficiary engagement is not about applying the one “right” approach but rather thoughtfully considering key questions and applying key principles and proven tools to the programme’s context to achieve a programme that supports the dignity and agency of all beneficiaries as much as possible.

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