Communication and community engagement in humanitarian response (Humanitarian Exchange Special Feature, February, 2019)
This edition of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Charles-Antoine Hofmann from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), focuses on communication and community engagement. In 2017, UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other partners came together under the auspices of the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network to establish the Communication and Community Engagement (CCE) initiative. The articles in this edition take stock of efforts to implement this initiative.
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Dignity and humanitarian action in displacement (ODI report, 2019)
This report draws on the findings of a two-year HPG research project on ‘Dignity in displacement: from rhetoric to reality’. The goal of the project was not to define dignity, but to understand what it meant to affected people in different places, with different cultures and at different times. It explores how refugees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and returnees in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Lebanon, the Philippines and South Sudan understand dignity, and whether (and how) they feel that their dignity has been upheld in displacement.
It then compares their understanding with that of humanitarian workers in these responses, analysing what this means for humanitarian policy, programme design and implementation more broadly, and the localisation agenda more specifically.
It suggests six recommendations for incorporating dignity into a humanitarian response including:
- Invest time and resources in listening to the affected population from the start of the response, and use this information to inform project design and implementation.
- Use more face-to-face communication, especially in the assessment phase of the humanitarian response, and pay attention to what means of communication are appropriate at each stage.
- To better understand the local culture and language, include anthropologists, sociologists, translators and others in the response, who can help in understanding the affected population and the dynamics of their situation.
- Invest in programmes that promote self-reliance, where possible, and encourage more participation by affected communities in project design and implementation.
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Thematic Review: Community Based Awareness, Attitudes and Behaviour (Girls’ Education Challenge, 2018)
This paper is one of a series of thematic reviews produced by the Fund Manager of the Girls’ Education Challenge, an alliance led by PwC, working with organisations including FHI 360, Nathan Associates and Social Development Direct.
The Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC) was set up to support improved attendance and learning for up to one million marginalised girls and has provided the opportunity to develop evidence on what works in girls’ education. Overall across a number of GEC projects, evidence was found of communities’ motivation, investment and commitment to educate their children, for example donating land, raising funds for bursaries and increasing their workload to pay for school fees. In general, GEC projects have not found communities are opposed to the principle of girls’ education, but that their support interacts with other norms that can make it harder for girls to attend school and learn. In particular, there is a perceived (or actual) low return for the family as the investment is sometimes considered to be lost when girls get married.
There are several key considerations for practitioners and policy makers in light of the literature and GEC findings; projects implementing community interventions should target the most prevalent and relevant attitudes and behaviours rather than generic ones, and projects should be prepared to adapt activities where required, recognising that norms are affected by changes in context and power dynamics.
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How has media programming supported polio eradication? (BBC Media Action Research Briefing, 2018)
This briefing synthesises findings from research conducted in the three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Somalia – with a focus on Afghanistan. Research findings suggested that BBC Media Action’s programming provided listeners with accurate, trusted and clear information against misinformation and harmful rumours, increased knowledge on the requirement of multiple doses of vaccines and vaccination schedules, prompted discussion and dialogue in communities, garnered trust and confidence among caregivers through the use of doctors and religious leaders and encouraged parents to vaccinate their children by dispelling misconceptions about vaccinations.
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