infoasaid: communication in emergencies
When an emergency strikes, be it natural disaster or man-made, organisations working on the ground, together with the national authorities, rush to respond. Their actions are orientated towards getting in supplies, arranging logistics, and ensuring programmes such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, Shelter and Nutrition can deliver on their commitments. Two-way communication, i.e. the sharing and receiving of information, with disaster-affected communities should and can be a cross-cutting part of humanitarian response and in itself, a form of aid.
Communication is essential to successful emergency programming in many ways. It can alert the population about the disaster and raise awareness on potential threats and thus mitigate risk. If it is two-way, it can improve programming by being more needs-based; if done well and effectively, it can improve coverage overall and at the same time, reach more vulnerable people. It can support the coordination effort by creating the space and the means for organisations and communities to work and talk together. It can also be an important and effective tool in addressing the psycho-social needs of a population who have experienced a disaster first hand.
infoasaid is a 2 year, DFID-funded project that is being implemented by two media development organisations - Internews and the BBC World Service Trust. The overall goal of the project is to improve the quality of humanitarian responses by maximising the amount of accurate and timely information available to both humanitarian agencies and affected populations through enhanced information exchange between them in the critical first few days and weeks of an emergency.
The project has two main objectives:
- To strengthen the capacity and preparedness of aid agencies to respond to the information and communication needs of crisis affected populations.
- To partner with a number of aid agencies to help inform and support their communications response in a variety of emergency contexts.
In order to achieve objective one, infoasaid is developing a range of tools that will be available to the entire humanitarian community. These include:
- Media and Telecoms Landscape Guides for 22 of the world's most disaster and conflictprone countries. These guides provide a comprehensive picture of the media and telecommunications landscape, information on media consumption patterns and a useful contact directory of media and telecoms operators. The guides are a practical tool for aid agencies to refer to when deciding which channels of communication to use in order to access different populations.
- A library of generic messages and accompanying guide. This has been developed in collaboration with a number of different clusters/sectors in humanitarian response, including WASH, Health, Nutrition, Food Security Protection and Education. The messages aim to provide information to affected populations about the scale and nature of the emergency, risks and threats and how to mitigate them and information about programme interventions. The accompanying guide explains the importance of context, culture, and delivery methods in each emergency situation. The messages are designed to be used as a reference tool and ideally, should be translated, piloted and adapted to suit the local context and to ensure comprehension before an emergency has occurred. The message library will soon be available for use in the form of a web based tool.
- Generic questions on information needs and access which need to be adapted and then integrated in agencies’ needs assessment frameworks.
- An interactive e-learning course to raise awareness of, and provide basic skills on, communicating with disaster affected communities. The two hour module takes the learner through a number of different emergency scenarios.
In order to achieve objective two, infoasaid is partnering with a number of aid agencies to help inform and support the integration of communications into their emergency programmes. Partnerships have been signed with Save the Children, Merlin, World Vision, ActionAid and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). infoasaid is currently piloting an intervention with Action Aid in Kenya around food security, using two new open source software platforms – Frontline sms and Freedom Fone. Scoping missions are also taking place in north east Kenya and Puntland with Save the Children to see how integrating communication interventions can improve their emergency response.
infoasaid also provides additional support in the following areas:
- Context analysis (analysis of the media land scape)
- Undertaking information needs and access assessments
- Development of communications plans and strategies
- Development and dissemination of key messages to affected populations
- Linking aid agencies with media development organisations, the tech-community and the local media
- Piloting new technology innovations
- Design and roll out of small scale pilot projects
- Undertaking learning reviews post-response, in order to learn lessons and document good practice
infoasaid informs its advocacy efforts through its field based experiences and the learning gleaned through the reviews undertaken post response. infoasaid hopes to consolidate its learning in the form of a Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) Paper that it will develop and launch in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in mid-2012. infoasaid is also providing technical and financial support to the ‘Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network’ with the view to strengthen the Network and enable it to take forward the work that infoasaid is currently doing.
For more information on infoasaid visit: www.infoasaid.org or contact Anita Shah, Head of Project, email: email@example.com
More like this
FEX: Accountability to affected populations: Somalia Nutrition Cluster experiences
By Samson Desie and Meftuh Omer Ismail View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici Samson Desie is a nutrition specialist currently working as...
FEX: Evolution of a Crisis: a Save the Children UK perspective
By Mark Wright Mark Wright was the Save the Children Programme Officer for Southern Africa from November 2000 to November 2002. This article details Save the Children UK's...
FEX: The state of the humanitarian system
Summary of report1 A recent report by ALNAP presents a system-level mapping and analysis of the performance of international humanitarian assistance between 2009 and 2011...
FEX: Evaluation of the response to Hurricane Matthew, Haiti
Summary of research1 On 3 and 4 October 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck southwest Haiti, affecting an estimated 2.1 million people; the first major disaster since the May 2016...
FEX: Climate Changeas a driver of humanitarian crisis and response
Summary of published research1 Thousands of Somalis have been displaced by what is described as the worst floods in the country in 10 years. Tufts University has recently...
FEX: Synthesis of Key points from the SCN Symposium ‘Nutrition in the context of crisis and conflict’
Statement for endorsement by the UN Secretary General on Nutrition in Conflict and Crisis - 15th March 2002 As reported in the last Field Exchange, the ACC/SCN Sub Committee...
FEX: A Review of the advances and challenges in nutrition in conflicts and crises over the last 20 years
Abbreviated version of unpublished paper Food distribution at the ICRC kitchen in Tonj. By Frances Mason and Anna Taylor This paper is a shortened version of the complete...
en-net: Technical Advisor, Food Security and Livelihoods - International Rescue Committee
Apply on our site: https://chm.tbe.taleo.net/chm03/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=IRC&cws=1&rid=14800 Background: Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee...
FEX: The Haiti Earthquake - Country and Global level Cluster Coordination Experiences and Lessons Learnt
By Carmel Dolan and Mija Ververs Carmel Dolan was Global Nutrition Cluster Coordinator-Consultant at the time of the earthquake and located from the UK to UNICEF Headquarters...
FEX: Profile and overview of the church’s role in emergency response
By Deed Jaldessa and Debela Kenea Deed Jaldessa has over two decades experience in development work in rural Ethiopia and currently leads The Ethiopian Evangelical Church...
FEX: Grand Bargain: Reform or business as usual?
Views Summary of comments* and review** Location: Global What we know: Inadequate resources are a severe and increasing constraint on humanitarian action in the face of...
en-net: How fair and accurate was the media coverage of the Haiti crisis? Should we, as a sector, try to hold the media to greater account? How could we do this?
During the early phase of the recent Haiti crisis, the ENN became increasingly exasperated by many aspects of the media coverage. Key points of contention were; inaccuracy of...
FEX: Philippine Nutrition Cluster’s battle for the best: the breast
By Ms. Florinda Panlilio, Department of Health, Philippines Ms. Florinda Panlilio is a Nutritionist-Dietitian IV in the Department of Health -Health Emergency Management...
FEX: Emergency Market Mapping and Analysis (EMMA) tool
By Lili Mohiddin and Mike Albu Lili Mohiddin has been an Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor with OXFAM GB since September 2005, based in the UK. Mike Albu is an...
FEX: Joint Emergency Operation Plan NGO response to emergency food needs in Ethiopia
By Alix Carter Alix Carter has worked in the humanitarian sector in Ethiopia for almost three years. She is currently working as the Humanitarian Accountability Advisor at...
FEX: Evaluation of international response to the tsunami
Summary of report1 Devastation in Sri Lanka post tsunami The Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami killed over 227,000 people with 1.7 million displaced. A massive...
FEX: Sphere standards in Bangladesh flood response
Summary of research1 Women and Children Nutrition Centre, Khulna During 1998, Bangladesh experienced floods that were unprecedented in their scope, duration and the damage...
FEX: Dangerous delay in responding to Horn of Africa early warnings of drought
Summary of briefing paper1 According to a briefing paper just released by Oxfam and Save the Children UK (SC UK), the 2011 crisis in the Horn of Africa has been the most severe...
FEX: Evaluation of regional IFE workshop
A mother and her baby in a temporary shelter following Cyclone Nargis Summary of evaluation report1 An evaluation was undertaken by the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) to...
FEX: 2011 Edition of the Sphere Handbook Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response
Farmers association level consultation at Chuko, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR) province, Ethiopia, August 2009 By Susan Thurstans, Paul Turnbull, Devrig...
Reference this page
infoasaid: communication in emergencies. Field Exchange 42, January 2012. p49. www.ennonline.net/fex/42/infoassaid