12,612 The Drum Beat 697, Communicating in Crisis: Refugees and Migrants –

The Drum BeatCommunicating in Crisis: Refugees and Migrants – The Drum Beat 697

From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
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  • 1. Films for Syrian refugees: Do it Yourself, Do it Together
    by BBC Media Action blogger Maha Taki – “An elderly man, one eye milky blue with age, peers into the camera….Satisfied with the footage they’ve captured at the Beqaa refugee camp in Lebanon, housing over 400,000 Syrian refugees – the film crew wrap up. The man they’ve just filmed is…one of the two million Syrians who have fled conflict in Syria since it began in 2011. His message of self-sufficiency and solidarity makes up part of a series of 25 documentaries, mini-dramas and animations providing practical tips for refugees. The films – produced by BBC Media Action in collaboration with local and Syrian film-makers, artists and actors since 2013 – cover a range of topics including access to education, aid, legal advice and missing family tracing services….The films provide a useful and entertaining distraction for families waiting in long lines to renew paper work and access aid services at UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] refugee registra! tion centers. Information centres run by Relief International in Lebanon – providing access to free wifi and phone charging facilities – also allow people to watch, and download the films to their mobile phones…” [June 2015]

    * See also: Connections: Lifeline Communication for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and Jordan

  • 2. Using GIS as a Planning and Coordination Tool in Refugee Camps in South Sudan
    by Clay Westrope and Emilie Poisson
    Humanitarian assistance in emergencies depends on an immediate supply of data. The interagency initiative REACH coordinates approaches to data collection, including geographic information systems (GIS), and provides resources to operationalise data collection efforts in crisis situations. REACH, in partnership with the UNHCR, developed a methodology aimed at bringing together data from reliable sources and representing it in both text and geospatial formats, such as static and interactive webmaps. During the refugee crisis in South Sudan in 2012, REACH staff received the regularly updated sectoral information from the humanitarian NGOs working with UNHCR and gathered geographic data. This information allowed for: the reorganisation of the camp by place and tribe of origin, enhancing community mobilisation and representation in the camp; a cholera vaccination campaign; random sampling of households for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey; improvement! in the accountability of aid by enhancing its traceability down to the household level; and the location of individuals with specific needs to facilitate follow-up care. [May 2013]
  • 3. Breaking Borders: Migration Radio Documentaries
    This project was designed to chronicle the often unheard stories of both internal and external migrants in South Africa, provide migrants with an opportunity to access media and tell their stories, and build the capacity of radio journalists to report on migration. It started with a one-week-long workshop, during which community radio journalists and people from mobile populations learned about documentary techniques and then worked collaboratively to plan the story, interviews, and locations to visit as part of the production. Each documentary explores a specific migration issue based on a migrant’s individual experience. For example, “Darius’ Story” follows a Congolese refugee and activist Darius Kwigomba as he talks about his life and his work with a refugee rights organisation. The series was produced by CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions for FAHAMU Networks for Social Justice, with support from the Open Society Foundation South Africa.
  • 4. Covering Migration: Challenges Met and Unmet
    From a meeting for journalists to assess the importance of media in shaping and influencing public perceptions of migration, this document contains recommendations for reporting, involving migrants, media actions, and governmental and non-governmental actions. The document includes recommendations in the areas of: (i) reporting on migration with a working knowledge of the topic (e.g., by offering journalists a media-friendly glossary in multiple languages); (ii) involving migrants in migration coverage (e.g., by encouraging the development of the migrant’s voice in the national press associations through migrant representatives; (iii) taking media actions (e.g., balancing portrayal of migrants in print and image publications; and (iv) involving governmental and non-governmental organisations (e.g., convening experts in newsrooms to develop analyses and articles on migration in order to enhance fruitful exchange within the locations where the news is being produced). [Feb! 2013]

    * See also: The Drum Beat 666 – Journalists and Crisis: Strategies and Resources

  • 5. Improving Communication Between Aid Agencies and Crisis-affected People: Lessons from the Infoasaid Project
    by Carole Chapelier and Anita Shah
    This paper discusses how communication can be used in emergency contexts to improve humanitarian responses, with particular focus on the infoasaid project experience. As stated in the paper, there is increasing understanding of the important role that media and communication play in emergency situations for gathering and disseminating relief information, as well as mobilising people. The rapid explosion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has not only improved the ability to communicate with people affected by a crisis but has also created channels in which the affected population can engage in dialogue with humanitarian responders, provide feedback, and even offer logistical insights that may not be known to responders. These technologies have also allowed emergency relief operations to crowdsource information for better crisis response. This increasing understanding and role of media communication in emergencies requires new collaborative relationships! between the humanitarian community and media and communication professionals. One component of the infoasaid project was the development of a set of tools to help support this interaction. The tools included a message library, a set of media and telecommunication guides for disaster-prone countries, and an e-learning course on who should communicate, and how, in an emergency. [Feb 2013]

See also:


  • 6. Communication and education for peace in military-controlled South Sudan – Part I
    by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) blogger Kerida McDonald: “Last month, traveling on roads punctuated by armed soldiers, I attended a workshop on Conflict Sensitive Programming and Peacebuilding Message Development in Juba coordinated by the UNICEF South Sudan Communication for Development (C4D) and Education Sections, together with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology as well as the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. South Sudan – the youngest independent nation in the world – recently emerged from decades of conflict only to erupt in an unprecedented outbreak of violence starting in December 2013. Since then, ethnic power struggles and heavy fighting have contributed to the displacement of more than 1.2 million people, including over 900,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and another approximately 300,000 people who are seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Within this precarious context, education is pivotal to mitigate further c! onflict and promote lasting peace. UNICEF is supporting Communication for Development in peacebuilding as a social process that facilitates dialogue and meaningful conversations to reduce and prevent the risk of conflict or relapse into it…” [May 2014]

    * See also: Communication and education for peace in military-controlled South Sudan – Part II

  • 7. The Voice of Children in the Global Arena
    by Manuel Manrique Castro: “Her melodious and now universally renowned name travelled to every continent, and there was virtually no place where the news of the attack against her – in October of 2012 – had not been heard. Malala Yousafzai, a sixteen-year old Pakistani girl, not only survived the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate her, but, even before the grave wounds to her head and throat that had nearly killed her had had a chance to heal, she began once again to speak out in favor of the education of girls and women in Pakistan, a cause she has been championing since she was eleven years old….She was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize in The Hague, and teamed up with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to advocate for Syrian children refugees….Starting next April, children and youth around the world will, like Malala, be able to denounce the violation of their rights before a special United Nations body. This will be possible thanks to th! e enactment of the third Facultative Protocol of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which was approved by the UN General Assembly…” [cross-posted Feb 2014]
  • 8. Schools bring hope to South Sudan’s children
    by Manyang David Mayar – “Earlier this year I blogged about the school children in Jonglei state who were forced mid-exam to flee to the bush in fear of their lives. That was just the start of the widespread fighting that has since led to a severe humanitarian crisis in this country. States that were spared violence are now home to thousands of people displaced by the conflict, many living in camps….As part of our [BBC Media Action] radio programme Our School we have been finding out how schools in relatively peaceful parts of the country are coping with displaced children….Gumbo School has seen an influx of children. They are allowed to enrol even if their parents can’t afford to pay their school fees, a policy that has been embraced by many other schools across the country…” [Aug 2014]
  • 9. Shattered Lives: Challenges and Priorities for Syrian Children and Women in Jordan
    From UNICEF Jordan, this report details the needs of refugees, giving information for the international community to develop a shared response. It is guided by two overarching questions: (i) What are the key challenges in realising the rights of Syrian girls, boys, and women in Jordan? (ii) What are the priority recommendations for action in various programme sectors, including child protection and gender-based violence; water, sanitation, and hygiene; nutrition and health; mental health and psychosocial support; adolescent development and participation; and education. With regard to the latter sector, examples of proposed actions include: Dialogue with the Government of Jordan to eliminate registration requirements blocking admission to public school in host communities, and continue outreach on school enrolment in Za’atari camp, scaling up outreach efforts to Syrian families, school staff, and local authorities in host communities. Involve local child protection co! mmittees and religious leaders in outreach campaigns. [June 2013]

    * See also: Shattered Lives: Challenges and Priorities for Syrian Children and Women in Jordan: Adolescents

  • 10. Child Migration Research Network
    The CMRN’s work focuses on further investigation of girls’ migration in developing countries, with research findings intended to inform migration and social protection policy recommendations. A search function on the site provides summaries of and links to downloads of documents such as “Assessment on the Situation of Iraqi Refugees in Syria”, which shows that (at the time of this report) there are as many as 30% of Iraqi children between the age of 6 and 11 are not enrolled in schools – mostly due to poverty and insecure legal status. The report also provides evidence from focus group discussions and discussions with NGOs that these refugee children are increasingly getting involved in the informal labour market.
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  • 11. Elembo Radio Drama
    Broadcasting from February 2015 to October 2016, Elembo is a 156-part serial radio drama that uses entertainment education to address issues such as adolescent reproductive health, child and maternal health, refugees, and deforestation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Population Media Center (PMC), their entertainment-education approach is designed to engage audiences with authentic characters and culturally appropriate challenges and opportunities. Produced by PMC in collaboration with a local creative team, the series, which airs on 11 community radio stations, includes storylines such as that of Pole, a 40-year-old trader living in the Camp Eleka refugee camp. Pole’s wife was raped, and two of his five children were killed in the armed conflict. In the refugee camp, Pole lives in the same tent as his mother, who mistreats his eldest daughter and despises his wife. Pole, who is distraught by his mother’s cruel behaviour but has no money and feels p! owerless in the situation, finally goes to his friend Toba for help. The United Nations estimates that there are some 2.3 million displaced persons and refugees in the country.
  • 12. Delivering High-Quality Family Planning Services in Crisis-Affected Settings: Program Implementation and Results
    by Dora Ward Curry, Jesse Rattan, Shuyuan Huang, and Elizabeth Noznesky
    This article describes lessons learned during the Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care in Emergencies (SAFPAC) initiative, led by CARE, which supports government health systems to deliver family planning (FP) services in 5 crisis-affected settings (Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Mali, and Pakistan). SAFPAC draws on strategies that have shown success as public health best practices in more stable settings, such as community mobilisation to raise awareness and shift norms via radio, participatory theatre and songs, and large mixed-group dialogue about barriers to women accessing FP and actions to reduce those barriers. SAFPAC also works closely with religious leaders across Christian and Muslim faiths. In Chad, due to a law ensuring reproductive health as a right, religious leaders have rallied as champions of FP, including going house-to-house to counsel couples and working in refugee camps to organise meetings and counseling sess! ions. Recommendations for establishing comprehensive FP in crisis-affected settings are provided. [Feb 2015]
  • 13. Emerging Good Practices in Migration and HIV Programming in Southern Africa
    by Obrien Fungai Nyamucherera
    Published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as part of the IOM’s Partnership on HIV and Mobility in Southern Africa (PHAMSA), this report describes a bottom-up, rights-based approach to social and behavioural change centred around change agents, who are members of the community that the programme seeks to reach who are recruited and oriented in all sites and are the core of the face-to-face communication and empowerment process. They: disseminate HIV/health-related information and promote adoption of healthier and positive behaviours and practices amongst their peers and communities; engage in dialogue with peers to identify challenges in the community; develop strategies to address the challenges; and promote action for change. The report found that addressing gender-specific vulnerabilities to HIV/AIDS within a migration context by using such communication strategies encouraged both men and women to promote action to address harmful gender practices! , and identifying cultural gatekeepers has been key to supporting and promoting social and behavioural change at the community level. [Mar 2011]
  • 14. Communicable Disease in Humanitarian Emergencies: Polio Outbreak Syria
    Author: Jawahir Habib, November 14 2013 – “…Experts fear that the polio outbreak in Syria may spread to Europe and the neighboring Arab countries. The virus knows no borders; it will travel, attack the most vulnerable and spread where the immunity levels are low. This outbreak is not only a setback for the GPEI [Global Polio Eradication Initiative] but it’s also a major challenge for humanitarian efforts in Syria.”
  • 15. Refugees from MENA to Northern Europe: Pressures & Solutions
    by Mubarak El Eldaw
    This manual is written for Asylum Seekers in Northern Europe, especially recent arrivals and those living in Asylum Centers. It lays out their legal rights and obligations and gives practical and mental health approaches that will assist them in surviving and adapting. For instance, “two conditions are linked particularly to the experience of being a refugee: depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD. In all cases when someone has a mental illness, their community needs to remember these points: There is no shame in admitting such a problem and seeking help. Group therapy or individual therapy combined with medication helps with most of them….If the group has other people from the same geographic area it may help recovery.” [Jan 2012]
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This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries.
The Drum Beat is the email and web network of The Communication Initiative Partnership.

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