GPC Guidance Note: Community-based Protection during COVID-19

People affected by crises are the experts on, and the first responders to, their own needs – including protection needs. Community-based protection (CBP) is about using international protection resources – funding, technical support, influence and networks – to enhance existing and support new community capacities and efforts to ensure their own protection, while holding duty bearers to account for their protection responsibilities.

The COVID-19 outbreak draws attention to the pivotal role communities play as humanitarians. It necessitates greater efforts from the formal humanitarian system to support them, as communities will inevitably be the ones overwhelmingly responsible for humanitarian responses during the pandemic.

The focus on communities’ own responses to protection concerns during COVID-19 should not overshadow the primary responsibility of States and other duty bearers for protection. Thus, CBP responses should not undermine advocacy and proactive support to duty bearers in fulfilling their protection responsibilities. Indeed, communities’ voices remain central to advocacy strategies at both global and local levels.

This document seeks to provide guidance on how to adapt CBP work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although primarily aimed at field protection clusters, it may be useful to humanitarian protection actors more broadly. However, as its target audience is assumed to have protection expertise, this guidance does not cover overall CBP considerations. Rather, it features specific measures to tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19 that could be included in country-level strategies/response plans.