This edition of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Charles-Antoine Hofmann from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), focuses on communication and community engagement. Despite promising progress, coherent and coordinated information is still not provided systematically to affected communities, and humanitarian responses take insufficient account of the views and feedback of affected people. In 2017, UNICEF, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and other partners came together under the auspices of the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network to establish the Communication and Community Engagement (CCE) initiative, which aims to organise a collective service for communications and community engagement. The articles in this edition take stock of efforts to implement this initiative.
Drawing on lessons from 23 Peer 2 Peer Support missions, Alice Chatelet and Meg Sattler look at what’s needed to integrate CCE into the humanitarian architecture. Viviane Lucia Fluck and Dustin Barter discuss the institutional and practical barriers to implementing community feedback mechanisms. Bronwyn Russel analyses the performance of the Nepal inter-agency common feedback project; Justus Olielo and Charles-Antoine Hofmann outline the challenges of establishing common services in Yemen; and Gil Francis Arevalo reports on community engagement in preparedness and response in the Philippines. Ian McClelland and Frances Hill discuss emerging findings from a strategic partnership in the Philippines between the Humanitarian Innovation Fund and the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network.
Charlotte Lancaster describes how call centres in Afghanistan and Iraq are enhancing two-way communication with crisis-affected people. Mia Marzotto from Translators without Borders reflects on the importance of language and translation in communication and community engagement, and Ombretta Baggio and colleagues report on efforts to bring community perspectives into decision-making during an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ayo Degett highlights emerging findings from a Danish Refugee Council project on participation in humanitarian settings, and Jeff Carmel and Nick van Praag report on the Listen Learn Act (LLA) project. Geneviève Cyvoct and Alexandra T. Warner write on an innovative common platform to track the views of affected people in Chad. The edition ends with an article by Stewart Davies on collective accountability in the response to the Central Sulawesi earthquake.