About the NetworkWhat We Do
I can’t see, so when my radio was destroyed in the cyclone, I felt very isolated. Now that I have a radio, I feel like I can see!
A blind monk in Burma who received a radio after Cyclone Nargis

What We Do

The CDAC Network is committed to a vision of a world in which the needs of people affected by humanitarian crises are addressed more effectively and quickly, and they are respected and valued as agents of their own response and recovery.

The CDAC Network brings together diverse local, regional and global actors to catalyse communities’ ability to connect, access information and have a voice in humanitarian emergencies.

To achieve this, CDAC Network Members aim to integrate communication with communities into emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The Network’s change theory is based on fostering change from the global policy level to the local community level. Network Members believe that strengthening the capacity and systems of the response community through genuine collaboration between response actors and affected communities, and among affected people themselves, will lead to more reliable and predictable communication with affected communities.

The CDAC Network is unique in terms of who it convenes: humanitarian and media development organisations, technology providers. Members focus on how partnerships between these diverse stakeholders, as well as with telecoms companies, other private sector organisations, local government, and local communities, can deliver effective and locally appropriate outcomes.

By collaborating across traditional boundaries, CDAC Network Members increase mutual understanding of the challenges they face and identify opportunities for partnership in order to bring about innovative and effective field practice.

The CDAC Network delivers through four pillars identified in its 2012 - 2016 Strategy: convening; advocacy; action research and learning; and capacity strengthening.


The CDAC Network convenes a diverse group of stakeholders so as to: create space for innovative thinking to occur; explore critical questions and concerns; share knowledge, learning and skills; and strengthen collaboration between different stakeholder groups.

Convening the CDAC Network’s unique membership alongside other stakeholders creates opportunities where innovative exchanges can take place; exchanges that typically occur across, not within, stakeholder boundaries. The CDAC Network seeks to create the space where innovative, solution-oriented conversations can take place.

CDAC Network Members convene annually for the Network's Members' Council and Forum meetings, and the Network brings Members together in joint learning and capacity strengthening events and workshops throughout the year.


Communication with affected communities makes the work we do more effective and more efficient
Markku Niskala, Former Secretary General of the IFRC

The CDAC Network advocates for changed priorities – and hence capabilities – in the humanitarian system, among individuals, organisations and inter-agency processes. It does this with the intention that communication with communities becomes a predictable and consistent element of emergency, preparedness, response and recovery.

CDAC Network Members share a vision of systemic change and ultimately a shift in the way disaster affected communities exercise their right to be active participants in their own recovery.

Advocacy for change is fuelled by the learning that emerges from CDAC Network Members, partners, and when Members work in collaboration together. Advocacy speaks as much to the Member agencies themselves as to other stakeholders within the wider humanitarian system. The intention of the Network’s advocacy at the humanitarian system level is to intergrate communication with populations affected by crisis into international and inter-agency policy / guidance documents.

Action Research and Learning

Learning within the CDAC Network is necessary for, and feeds in to, all areas of work. The Network seeks to learn about how, and to what degree, communicating with communities improves the quality and effectiveness of aid.

There are multiple dimensions to the Network's learning and research agenda which include: building the evidence base toward a better understanding of the degree to which communication with communities contributes to improving the quality, effectiveness and accountability of aid; developing an M & E framework to enable this learning to be more effective; gathering lessons from in-country pilots; learning how media development, technology and humanitarian agencies can work together more effectively; and learning about what capacities are needed for ensuring that effective communication with affected populations can be achieved.

The Network’s field level learning comes from capturing information about Member agencies' practical trials, experiences, testing and probing that characterise the Network’s purpose.

Recent collaborative studies include research in Nepal following the 2015 earthquake and research across Europe looking at the role of communication in the refugee and migration crisis. (Reports pending)

Capacity Strengthening

A community without a radio is worth nothing...People have already realized here that without radio the region is dead
Internews Humanitarian Information Service in Eastern Chad - Rahma Mohamed Ibed

The CDAC Network strengthens the capacity of practitioners and managers so that they know how to place communication at the heart of emergency preparedness, response and recovery, thereby changing operational practice.

The skills and knowledge to be able to do this are critical determinants to success. Agencies need to know how to embed communication with communities into their planning and approaches, as well as what mechanisms are most effective in securing coordinated analysis and action.

The Network’s capacity strengthening programme consists of efforts to:

  • Develop and deliver a week-long Foundation Training in communicating with communities and related learning support
  • Create resources to support field-level practice, including tools and guidelines
  • Establish a Humanitarian Communication Roster, in partnership with Network Member NORCAP

Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP)

  • Oversee two country-level preparedness programmes, focused on strengthening capacity for Communicating with Communities in Bangladesh and South Sudan. This work is funded through DFID. 

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