This Policy Paper makes the case for collective Communication and Community Engagement in humanitarian response at global and national levels. This combining of efforts to inform and hear back from affected communities would enhance response and help prevent people being subjected to ineffective or confusing messages when they are having to make critical decisions about their safety.
The paper makes eight recommendations. In summary, the paper confirms that the establishment of collective approaches to communication and community engagement – at national and global levels - is required and has significant support across the humanitarian sector.
At national level the shape and functions of collective platforms, services and tools (‘the mechanism’) will vary according to context, needs and capacities. They should at a minimum:
- Undertake preparedness actions to ensure that response actors are well-placed to integrate communication and community engagement in a response.
- Ensure the coordination of information to the people affected and the collection and analysis of overall feedback data, including data collected and shared by individual organisations or clusters, in order to highlight trends to inform activities.
- Act as a service to existing and emerging humanitarian architecture, particularly those that support government-led and localised responses.
The global collective service (“the service”) and national mechanism should never be considered a stand-alone sector or cluster, but instead be an essential cross-sector working approach integrated within the humanitarian architecture in a given context. The global service would support national mechanisms in gathering and disseminating good practice, developing tools and providing guidance.
Dedicated seed funding is required for the initial global set-up. Funding for the longer term should be integrated into operational budgets to ensure it is fully embedded in the humanitarian architecture.
We believe that a fully functioning national mechanism supported by a global service will contribute significantly towards the achievement of a number of the Grand Bargain commitments, and in particular, the Participation Revolution, local leadership and local action, and capacity strengthening.
You will find in the paper different examples of good practice and lessons learned from multi-agency initiatives have been identified including the establishment of collective platforms in a range of contexts; the establishment of preparedness activities; development of guidance; and use of standard formats and templates for gathering feedback.
The policy paper (originally published in May 2017 with some revisions in February 2018) and an 8-page policy brief are available to download below.