Over the last five years, the CDAC Network has contributed to huge progress in raising the profile of Communication with Communities (CwC) to a globally-recognised issue of policy and practice. It has a membership of unique breadth with a ‘collaborative, participatory way of working’ and a ‘community... of agencies who knew each other less well just 10 years ago’.2 Sustained commitment by individuals continues to break new ground in collaborations and good practice.
A CDAC Network project of the DFID-funded Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme, hosted by World Vision
In a sudden-onset emergency, epidemic or refugee crisis, information may be the first form of aid that makes a difference. People facing extreme threat from a natural disaster, helping newcomers forced to flee their homes or treating loved ones will be searching for information they can use while responders will be thirsty for information from those affected to make their actions more appropriate, relevant and timely.
Community engagement was a standout theme at this year’s Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW), when more than 1,500 humanitarian practitioners from around the globe converged in Geneva.
At one of the side-events organised by OCHA, UNICEF, IFRC and the CDAC Network, partners of the Communication and Community Engagement Initiative, participants gathered to hear field staff openly share successes and challenges in coordinated community engagement with global colleagues, standby partners and donors.
SMILE Again Africa Development Organization (SAADO) has developed a searchable message database that can be used to disseminate critical information to affected populations during emergencies in South Sudan.
This follows demand for effective two-way communication between vulnerable communities and humanitarian responders. The information is intended to promote effective humanitarian aid delivery and accountability to the vulnerable communities.
In the rapidly changing context of South Sudan, accurate and timely information can save lives as people can be warned to flee, hide or regroup. Information also plays a crucial role in directing people toward appropriate humanitarian assistance.
A global network of aid agencies has launched four new “innovation labs” in Bangladesh, Jordan, Kenya and the Philippines, aimed at finding fresh ways to help local communities prepare for disasters.
The move by Start Network and CDAC Network is the first of its kind by humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as the labs will facilitate locally-created innovations that are driven by client needs, making the labs more locally driven than many other investments into innovation in the sector. The £10 million programme, funded by UK Aid, will end in March 2019.
WHO WE ARE
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.
Understanding what people need during a crisis is an essential practice for humanitarians, and assessments are part of the toolkit for the professional responder. In the Philippines, which is no stranger to regular natural calamities, the steady improvement in capturing people’s needs has been well documented.
The growing food crisis in Kenya has prompted agencies to form a working group to coordinate and identify opportunities for communicating with affected communities.
Tropical storm Roanu made landfall in the southern coastal region of Bangladesh on 21 May 2016. Yasmin Begum and her family live near Chittagong city in a place called Laldiarchar. They have sought refuge in the nearby cyclone shelter at least eight times over the past decade.
The CDAC Network’s research, ‘Are You Listening Now?’ considers whether, in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes in April and May 2015, people were getting information that was useful and relevant to their needs. The report emphasises their experiences rather than evaluating communicating with communities’ projects. Affected communities were consulted about their information needs immediately after the earthquakes and seven months later (in November/December 2015).
South Sudan is facing a ‘complex and multi hazard crisis’, and the central role of communication with communities was emphasised by the UN deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the country at the launch of the CDAC developed Working Group. More than 70 representatives from UN agencies, international NGOs, national humanitarian organisations, media and the private sector heard the UN’s Sue Lautze outline the gravity of the crisis and say that humanitarian action in South Sudan has to move beyond the logic of ‘you fight, we feed’.
Colleagues from CDAC Network Member FilmAid, explain how The Refugee Magazine, set up by refugees, for refugees, is creating a vital space for communities living in Kakuma Refugee Camp to address their information needs.