The Communication & Community Engagement Initiative: Towards a collective service for more effective humanitarian responses

UNICEF, OCHA, IFRC, and other partners, under the auspices of CDAC Network, have established the Communication and Community Engagement Initiative. It aims to organise a collective service to address the need for a more systematic and coordinated approach to communications and community engagement with affected people.

The Grand Bargain “participation revolution” commitments, the IASC Accountability to Affected People commitments, and the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS) all outline that in order to meet this goal, three essential components must be part of any response throughout the entire humanitarian programme cycle:

  • Participation

  • Information sharing with affected communities

  • Feedback and complaints

While organizations and clusters have made efforts towards progress in this area, coherent and coordinated information is still not provided to affected communities in a systematic way, and the design of humanitarian responses remains insufficiently informed by the views and feedback of affected people.

The goal of the initiative is to help improve the quality and effectiveness of humanitarian and health emergency responses, through a harmonised, timely, systematic and predictable collective service for communication and community engagement with affected communities throughout all phases of the humanitarian programme cycle.

How could a collective approach add value?

  • At country level the collective service will build on existing tools and approaches already implemented by aid and media development actors. It will fulfil several key functions:

 Identify communication needs and applicable communication channels

 Coordinate the provision of appropriate and relevant information to affected communities

 Regularly monitor rumours and perceptions from affected people about aid quality

 Compile and analyse qualitative and quantitative data about aid quality and effectiveness

 Produce and circulate information to aid providers to support operationalisation, strategy, and decision-making processes

 Ensure appropriate communication and community engagement is included in country-level preparedness activities

 Convey impacts of participation and engagement on decision-making processes and aid provision back to the affected communities

  • At global level the collective service will:

 Provide the necessary technical assistance to country programmes;

 Supply guidance, tools, and facilitate sharing of best practice examples

 Maintain standby capacity with trained specialists;

 Support country programmes to include communication and community engagement in their preparedness activities

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.