Communication for Development (C4D)

Humanitarian action

C4D in humanitarian situations

© UNICEF/Nepal/Karki
Binoy Lama, a C4D officer, leads entertainers to the earthquake-affected Gorkha district as part a radio-based psycho social counseling program.

Communication for Development in humanitarian situation seeks to share relevant, action-oriented information so that when disaster strikes, people in affected communities know what actions to take. Timely, accurate information plays a critical rom in the  protecting the health and wellbeing of all, including people with disabilities, children and the elderly. 

Social mobilization plays an important role in humanitarian response. It is often assumed that communities affected by humanitarian situations are too shocked to take on responsibilities. In fact, many people, including children, return to normalcy more quickly when they participate in helping others and themselves during an emergency.

Beating the drum against ebola in Sierra Leone
The rhythmic sound of tam-tams fills the corridors at the Observational Interim Care Centre (OICC) in Freetown, where children who may have been exposed to Ebola are kept in quarantine as a precaution. Caregivers, plays the drums to calm the children who have been separated from their families. The drumming works wonders. Fourteen-month-old Kadie, who has been under observation for two days, stops crying and settles in the arms of Memunata Sesay, another caregiver at the OICC. 

Community health volunteers improve child and maternal nutrition in Nepal 
More than 50,000 health volunteers provide a crucial link to health services in 29 districts that have the highest rates of undernutrition. The programme uses a multi-sector approach, combining nutrition, health, water and sanitation, agriculture and social protection interventions to maximize the positive effects on child and maternal nutrition.

Quick action to contain cholera in Burundi
With the sudden appearance of nearly 170 cholera cases, it became essential to quickly identify and track cases in real time. RapidPro technology on simple mobile phones has allowed health workers to immediately notify the central level of new cases, and to report on the evolution of each hospitalized case. But responding effectively to cholera does not just mean treating confirmed cases – it also means preventing new ones. Communications tools for use in health centres and in communities are critical to limiting contamination and rapidly containing the illness.

Radio helps schoolchildren catch up on learning in Guinea
Kept out of school by the Ebola epidemic, children in Guinea are making up for lost time through a series of lessons broadcast on radio. The series offers catch-up lessons in mathematics and French. For children who are in school, the lessons build on what they have learned in class; for children not in school, they offer an alternative to classroom learning.

SMS reporting revolution takes on Ebola, in Sierra Leone
Getting data quickly has been a key in fighting against Ebola, which has caused more than 3,000 confirmed deaths in Sierra Leone. That is where the RapidPro free open-source platform comes in. It isn’t the world’s first mobile phone reporting platform, but it is one that’s remarkably well adapted to the field – easy to set up and usable on pre-existing equipment and phone networks in all but the remotest places.

Psychosocial counselling goes on the radio in Nepal 
Radio Nepal has the country’s largest listener audience, with over 70 per cent of the 27.5 million population. They launched a special new programme to help listeners cope with the aftermath of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Barely a few hours had passed since the programme the first show, when telephones started ringing in the studio with concerns from parents about their children.

A volunteer’s commitment to helping Syrian mothers and babies in Iraq
Now in her new life Janda and a cadre of volunteers at the camp work with pregnant women and new mothers to provide prenatal and post-natal counseling and care. Mothers from Darashkran camp bring a new baby into this world about once every day, so Janda has to be alert and active. Early in the morning, with her supervisor and the other volunteers, Janda gathers her equipment and outlines the day’s work plan.



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