This learning review aims to document the activities of the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Haiti initiative in the immediate aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, assess achievements, and contribute knowledge about what worked, what didn't and why. The Review was conducted between October 2011 and January 2012. CDAC Haiti was created as a short-term initiative with the purpose of providing a system-wide communication coordination mechanism. The objective was to enable humanitarian operations to distribute crucial information to affected populations and to ensure the voices of the affected population were channeled back to aid organisations. The initiative was funded largely through the Emergency Relief and Response Fund (ERRF) of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
CDAC Haiti achieved one of the largest cross-agency commitments to communications ever seen in an emergency, playing a particularly important leadership role in coordinating communications around the cholera epidemic. It succeeded in providing critical services, coordination, strategic leadership, capacity building and advocacy for better communication with affected people. While a favourable context and propitious circumstances played a critical part, hard work and skillful decisions, along with OCHA's ongoing support, also contributed to CDAC Haiti's success. The CDAC Haiti experience underscores the necessity of addressing governance systems, accountability, resource mobilisation and status issues before any CDAC type entity is deployed in the future.