Practical Guidance for Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) for Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Migrants, and Host Communities Particularly Vulnerable to COVID-19 Pandemic


Purpose of the guidance

This practical guidance is designed to assist programme specialists to implement COVID19 RCCE activities for and with refugees, IDPs, migrants and host communities vulnerable to the pandemic. The guidance highlights key challenges and barriers faced by these people in accessing COVID19 health-related information and presents key considerations and recommendations for planning and implementing RCCE activities. The document can be adapted to countries’ specific context and aligned with national response plans for COVID-19 and national RCCE plans.

The guidance is aligned with the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for Covid-19, particularly Priority 3 and its objective to “Prevent, anticipate and address risks of violence, discrimination, marginalization and xenophobia towards refugees, migrants, IDPs and people of concern by enhancing awareness and understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic at community level.”

Challenges and barriers faced by refugees, IDPs, and migrants

Refugees, IDPs, and migrants face many barriers complicating access to information and services, including for COVID-19, and an ability to comply with recommended practices. Some of these barriers include:

• Economic with limited opportunities and less disposable income

• Limited access to basic services including health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); heath care officials may not know where and how to reach migrants and displaced populations and especially in absence of community outreach and lockdown.

• Limited social support networks

• Attitudinal, social, religious, gender and culture

• Limited access to trusted information and / or lack of resources to access available information

• Fear of or distrust of government or health authorities when undocumented, unaccompanied, or separated from families

• Limited access to SIM cards or internet, with undocumented or unclear legal status

• Multiple languages and literacy levels

• Xenophobia, stigma, discrimination, and blame for spreading COVID-19