|© UNICEF/BANA2012-00756/Ahsan Khan|
|Bangladesh 2012: Shupta Sharma, a Health Promoter working under the Integrated Maternal, Neonatal and Child Survival Interventions, MNCS programme, leads village women to a courtyard meeting in Sunamganj.|
Communication for Development in emergencies seeks to share relevant, action-oriented information so that when disaster strikes, people in affected communities know what actions to take to maintain and protect the health and wellbeing of all their members, including those with disabilities, the elderly and other especially vulnerable groups.
Communication is a consultative process among programme and communication specialists, local authorities, change agents and communities. It is often assumed that communities affected by humanitarian situations are too shocked and helpless to take on responsibilities. In fact, many people, including children, are able to return to normalcy more quickly when they participate in helping others and themselves during and after an emergency.
Communication for development can help to:
C4D strategies and approaches are required to help provide caregivers and community members with essential information and to develop the skills and self-confidence they need to make informed decisions in both the immediate aftermath and in the weeks and months after a disaster has struck.
Many communication efforts launched in emergency responses tend to focus on media advocacy and public information. Such communication efforts cater to policy makers, donors and the general public and are designed for advocacy, fund-raising and public awareness. While this is critical, it is one component of what should be an integrated communication response. A holistic communication strategy in an emergency must also address the communication needs of affected families through interactive behaviour change communication and social mobilisation.