Communicating with communities is not an option. Listening and talking to communities is a fundamental part of humanitarian response, including UNHCR and its partners’ work. It is essential in ensuring our accountability to our constituents – the communities affected by crisis, alongside operational effectiveness, security and stability. It is important for emergency responders to understand different groups and individuals’ information needs, their preferred channels and trusted sources. It is equally important that communities’ voices inform humanitarian decision making thus, emergency responders should demonstrate they’ve listened and proactively explain the changes they’ve made and why certain actions cannot be taken.
Emergency responders are encouraged to be open to adopting new channels of communication. They should be aware that while communication should not be technology driven, new technologies can often be appropriate for certain population groups and contexts. The importance being to focus on the purpose of establishing dialogue, the target population, and content before determining the channel.