How ReliefWeb’s Topic Pages help to shed light on complex humanitarian issues
It is a commonplace that there is an abundance of information available about humanitarian situations; the key issue is not how much information we have at our disposal but how we present it in the most user-friendly manner, so that our audience can tap into it quickly and easily.
The selection filters and advanced search on ReliefWeb have improved over the years, allowing users to quickly narrow down their searches. But topic pages have also helped to better frame specific issues, whether they are:
Regional crises that warrant increased attention, including large movements of refugees and migrants:
- Refugees/Migrants in Europe
- Southern and Eastern Africa
- Sahel (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali)
- Lake Chad Basin Crisis
- Refugees/Migrants in Asia
important thematic topics such as:
Some pages highlighting regional crises are multilingual, reflecting the considerable volume of content available in different languages, as is the case for Central America Northern Triangle and the Lake Chad Basin Crisis.
Once designed, the pages are curated on a regular basis by editors, who handpick content such as useful links or upcoming events, while some sections are automated via feeds from the ReliefWeb daily updates, keeping them always up-to-date.
Some pages were designed by external partners, who are responsible for the content, on topics as diverse as Energy, Private Sector Engagement, or Accountability on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in emergencies.
The page on Environment and Humanitarian Action, for example, is curated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/UNOCHA Joint Environment Unit (JEU): “Environmental and humanitarian action go hand in hand. Several tools and resources exist which can increase the sustainability and accountability of humanitarian action. The topic page is very useful as it aggregates existing information resources and networks which will encourage humanitarians to explore how they can mitigate environmental risk and capitalize on environmental opportunities within their activities,” says Emilia Wahlstrom, a Programme Officer with UNEP.
The idea for the topic page on Education in emergencies arose after several comments and requests from our users. For the design of the page, the editors received inputs from the Institute for International Education (IIE) where the page has proven very helpful: "ReliefWeb’s Education in Emergencies page has been a great tool for staying up to date on the latest updates,” says Sixtine Berquist, a Communications Strategist at IIE's Student Emergency Initiatives. “My team and I use it frequently to better understand what other organizations are doing, to read key reports, and often to share news with our network. We furthermore appreciate being featured on the page as it has helped others find our database."
Is there any topic you would like us to take on? We welcome your suggestions and feedback here.
Image from the page on Northern Central America. Photo: UNICEF/Daniel Ojeda and map: IOM.