Programmes & Projects | Communication, Engagement and the Future of Global Response

LIG’s approach of collecting valuable data from earthquake affected communities to improve the overall disaster response has been widely appreciated by the humanitarian community in Nepal. As a result of this, Pranav Budhathoki was invited to the World Humanitarian Global Consultation in Geneva to share his ideas and experiences. The program was held from 14th to 16th of October, 2015.

Moderator:

  • Mr. Martin Dawes, Communication and Advocacy Advisor, CDAC Network

Panellists:

  • Mr. Pranav Budhathoki, Chief Executive, Local Interventions Group, Nepal
  • Ms. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque, Community Engagement Global Coordinator, OCHA
  • Mr. Nick Van Praag, Director, Ground Truth Solutions
  • Ms. Meghan Sattler, Communicating with Communities Advisor, WFP Summary of the Discussions

What we discussed...

The session discussed why communicating with communities is important to uphold the rights of crisis-affected people, ensure they are well treated during a humanitarian response and increase the effectiveness of aid. It was highlighted that a hunger for information is consistently expressed by communities in emergencies and the main buzzwords that had come out of the WHS are ‘accountability’ and ‘feedback’. It was discussed that a lot of organisations are doing their part, but not collectively.

The complexity of response in conflict-affected countries means that community engagement is not always seen as a priority in these settings. However, often these are very protracted settings, so it was argued that humanitarian actors should take the time to think strategically about what concrete actions are put in place to fully engage crisis-affected people.

It was suggested that there needs to be a cultural shift in the response to crisis, such that humanitarians will take the risk to engage with communities and hear if people are not satisfied with the services provided. Solutions could be simple and easy to implement or scale, usually requiring the passion of local staff on the ground who understand the context. Bringing the perspectives of affected populations to bear on the way that programmes are managed involves a combination of performance management and accountability.

The design phase looks at what the programme is trying to achieve, its theory of change, how to collect data and how often to collect the data in a constant process of data collection, analysis, dialogue, and course correction. Examples were given of work during the Haiti, Nepal earthquake and Ebola response and in refugee camps, with the recommendation that humanitarians should ask few questions, ask often, and focus on perceptions that could be actionable. Questions should focus on relationships (trust, responsiveness, competence), outcomes (based on customer satisfaction), services (relevance, timeliness) and agency (did people feel like passive beneficiaries or like they could make a difference to themselves).

Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/1PXWl0V