In recent years, the humanitarian and development sectors have seen a significant increase in international attention, engagement and activity falling under the banner of ‘protection’.

International humanitarian actors have embraced the concept and discourse of protection in various forms — through mainstreaming, integration and stand-alone protection projects and programmes. But has this growth in protection resources and response capacity enhanced the safety, security and dignity of populations at risk? Have these efforts actually achieved effective protection for people in crisis — or have they simply progressed the agendas of international actors?

Network Paper 68 explores the concept and practice of community-based protection and highlights opportunities and challenges associated with implementing a community-based protection approach. This paper draws on ActionAid’s publication ‘Safety with Dignity: A Field Manual for Integrating Community-based Protection across Humanitarian Programmes’, which aims to provide practical guidance for field staff working in humanitarian and development settings on how to integrate community-based protection across sectors and contexts.


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