Several members of the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network have recognised the need to work with rumours in their missions to prevent the loss of lives and alleviate suffering. Notably, Internews with their pioneering inter-agency model, the World Health Organisation and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs have made considerable efforts to innovate in this area and engage other humanitarian actors on the issue.
The CDAC Network commissioned a practice guide to draw both on their experiences and many others’ in order to document approaches, practices and tools to working with rumours. It is aimed primarily at humanitarian programme managers and field staff to provide them with practical tips on how to work with rumours in their response programmes in a way that is achievable amid competing demands.
Part One focuses on some of the theory behind rumours: the definition, nature and importance of rumours, and why we need to work with them.
Part Two explains the key steps and considerations to identifying and addressing rumours: listening, verifying and engaging.
Part Three examines different roles and responsibilities in working with rumours, and how anticipation, coordination and partnerships can enhance what you do.
The guide is illustrated throughout with experiences from a range of contexts and all of the examples given are based on real rumours. Internews' model is described in an in-depth case study in the guide, alongside a case study from Search for Common Ground which examines a community-based network approach.
Rumour has it: A practice guide to working with rumours is available in Arabic, English and French.
How the guide was developed
Practitioners’ contributions to an open call for submissions, alongside secondary data review and key informant interviews, were drawn on to draft the guide, with advice and quality control provided by an editorial steering group comprising a range of sector experts. The guide has been peer reviewed by practitioners in the sector to ensure it provides concise guidance on why – and how – humanitarian actors should engage with rumours as part of their work to prevent or alleviate human suffering.
This work was funded by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy.
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