13,005 The Drum Beat 717, August 17 2016, Connecting (with) Refugees

The Drum BeatConnecting (with) Refugees – The Drum Beat 717
August 17 2016

In this issue:


From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
LIKE The CI on Facebook; FOLLOW The CI on Twitter; VIEW this issue online; READ PAST ISSUES of The Drum Beat; and ask your colleagues and networks to SUBSCRIBE to The Drum Beat.
Thinking strategically about communication is an essential response to any humanitarian emergency. This is particularly the case in the wake of the European refugee crisis, which began in 2015, when a rising number of refugees and migrants made the journey to the European Union (EU) to seek asylum. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the top 3 nationalities of the over 1 million Mediterranean Sea arrivals between January 2015 and March 2016 were Syrian (46.7%), Afghan (20.9%), and Iraqi (9.4%) citizens who have fled their homes because of war or persecution. For more on this crisis, see, for example, “Migrant Crisis: Migration to Europe Explained in Seven Charts”, “Quick Facts: What You Need to Know about the Syria Crisis”, and “Europe, Don’t Let Us Down: Voices of Refugees and Migrants in Greece”.

While there are many communication-centred facets to the refugees’ experiences and the development community’s response to it, this issue of The Drum Beat focuses specifically on the roles that information and (the) media play.


  • 1. Voices of Refugees: Information and Communication Needs of Refugees in Greece and Germany
    by Theo Hannides, Nicola Bailey, and Dwan Kaoukj
    “The social, cultural and ethnic diversity of refugees passing through the region, highlighted by their diverse languages and dialects and their differing levels of literacy and ability to access technology, has added to the complexity of their communication needs.” A total of 66 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq participated in this BBC Media Action qualitative study in formal and informal camps in Greece. The research found that these refugees had one overriding communication requirement: timely and reliable information on how to get to their next destination safely, quickly, and without being detained – a need that humanitarian actors were often not able to fulfil. Many refugees feel their voice is not being heard, and that they have no one who can provide them with answers. [July 2016]
  • 2. Mass Communication Assessment of Syrian Refugees in Camps
    “In order to better inform humanitarian mass communications in Syrian refugee camps across the KRI [Kurdistan Region of Iraq], REACH has identified the following suggested priority interventions in collaboration with the UNHCR: (i) Share more information on employment opportunities, provision of aid and refugee rights… (ii) Ensure information shared with Syrian refugee populations is available in Kurdish and Arabic in each camp across the KRI… (iii) Strengthen coordination and collaboration between refugee community leaders and aid workers. According to this assessment, word of mouth and face to face conversations were the most frequently used methods of communication in camps. The majority of households in camps in all three governorates seemed satisfied with their primary method of communication and would not change it. (iv) Consider establishing a radio programme for refugees… (v) Consider increasing the support for provision of internet in camps….[T]he possi! bility of hosting capacity-building training workshops for internet usage in camps could be explored.” [Oct 2014]
  • 3. Gender Assessment of the Refugee and Migration Crisis in Serbia and fYR Macedonia
    In October and November 2015, UN Women’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (ECA) commissioned a gender assessment of the humanitarian response in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, through which the vast majority of the over 1 million men and women seeking asylum in Western Europe transited. Some suggestions based on the assessment include: (i) Share information about rights, including to minimum standards of care with asylum seekers as well as officials, ensuring that messages and modes of delivery are tailored to the different information needs of women and men and to their different access to and different ways of receiving information. (ii) Establish opportunities for asylum seekers, including women and girls, to voice their concerns, register complaints, and provide feedback about services in a safe and confidential manner. (iii) Consult with women and girls when developing information materials and tools – both in terms of the content of th! e messages, as well as in terms of the medium or mode of delivery. (iv) Increase the number of Arabic/Farsi translators operating on the ground and approaching women and girls refugees to share critical information. (v) Carry out media, communication, and advocacy campaigns with a focus on the rights and needs of refugee women and girls in order to promote tolerance and local community acceptance of asylum seekers. [Jan 2016]
  • 4. Migration Media Usage Survey
    MiCT Briefing #1 6.2016: Information to Go
    From November 2015 to February 2016, the Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT) research unit conducted in-depth interviews and focus-group discussions with 88 refugees from Iraq and Syria in Berlin, Germany. The central aim was to investigate which sources of information refugees were using before, during, and after their transit, in order to find out more about their routes, their risks, and their destinations, as well as any other relevant information. This report describes the results of this study, which MiCT contends can be used as starting points for media development and humanitarian projects inside the refugees’ own countries as well as in transit and destination states. [June 2016]
  • 5. Aware Migrants
    “Migration is a decision often based on false expectations: many migrants leave their home without a concrete project of precise idea of the socioeconomic and political situation of their country of destination.” Aware Migrants is a social media campaign launched on July 28 2016 to try to dissuade African refugees from making the treacherous journey to Europe over the Mediterranean. Featuring video videotaped stories and accounts narrated by migrants who have made it from Africa to Italy but endured abuse in transit, it was jointly developed by the Italian Ministry of Interior and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) – organisations that feel a social responsibility to inform potential migrants in detail about what the journey is really like so they have the right to make a more informed decision.

See also:

section_separatorSee also:


  • 6. Media as a Form of Aid in Humanitarian Crises
    by Jeffrey Ghannam
    This report from the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) examines how humanitarian crises around the world have led to a major change in the priorities and approaches in media development efforts. Jeffrey Ghannam, an expert on news media in the Middle East, argues that traditional efforts aimed at building sustainable media systems and institutions have had to give way to the more pressing needs of these crises. In this context, Ghannam contends, “[c]reating humanitarian information systems requires a focus on the interplay of technology, word-of-mouth, and offline information using platforms such as Facebook, the mobile real time message application WhatsApp, or even printed banners with directions for migrants crossing into Europe.” [Apr 2016]
  • 7. Humanitarian Broadcasting in Emergencies – A Synthesis of Evaluation Findings
    by Theodora Hannides
    According to this research, since 2012 – when, along with other media and humanitarian actors, BBC Media Action helped to establish the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network – communication support in disaster-affected communities has improved. Thus, this evaluation seeks to develop of a theory of change and identify good practices. This report focuses on a re-analysis of audience research from 4 interventions of BBC Media Action in the contexts of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the 2014-2015 response to the Ebola epidemic, the 2014 Gaza conflict, and the ongoing (since the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprisings) Syrian refugee crisis. [Oct 2015]
  • 8. Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in the Syria Crisis: Good Practices in the Media
    The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) developed this best practices guide for journalists and media professionals as part of the regional gender-based violence (GBV) media programme to enhance the quality of reporting on GBV in the Syrian crisis. With the goal of demonstrating how 9 established principles can be evoked and put into practice, the guide offers real examples from media reports published between January and October 2015 of good journalism that demonstrate the principle and actions needed. For example, the reader learns that, in “Syria: The Hidden War on Women”, a report that reveals unspoken facts about sexual harassment, which is considered taboo in Syrian refugee camps, the writer starts with a geographical and statistical introduction to prepare the readers for sensitive material. In the second section of the book, the reader can find full-length articles developed by UNFPA-trained journalists, followed by a note highlighting where and how they! succeeded in capturing the essence of good GBV reporting. [Mar 2016]
  • 9. Moving Stories: International Review of How Media Cover Migration
    ed. by Aidan White
    Produced by the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), this is a review of how media in selected countries reported on refugees and migrants in 2015. [Dec 2015]

See also:


  • Transit Europe: Mobility, Communication & Governance conference at Malmö University, September 22-23 2016

    Organised as a collaborative event between ComDev, the Malmö Institute of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), and the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER), the September 22-23 Transit Europe international conference explores the current refugee situation in the framework of media, communication and governance – in particular, humanitarian technologies and communication. Örecomm invites papers on any aspect of the overall theme. Abstracts (maximum 300 words) can be submitted to orecomm@gmail.com and more information is here


  • 10. Mapping Refugee Media Journeys: Smart Phones and Social Media Networks
    by Marie Gillespie, Lawrence Ampofo, Margaret Cheesman, Becky Faith, Evgenia Iliadou, Ali Issa, Souad Osseiran, and Dimitris Skleparis
    The “Mapping Refugee Media Journeys” project investigates the parallel tracks of the physical and digital journeys of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. It documents the media and informational resources that refugees use from the point of departure, during their journeys across different borders and states, and upon arrival (if they reach their desired destination). This report, which concludes with a best practice guide for organisations seeking to provide digital resources for refugees on smartphones, summarises the first of 3 planned phases of research. Various recommendations are offered, such as: “Find ways of making best use of key influencers in refugee social network to express solidarity and build trust, plug communication and information gaps and in so doing contribute to a more effective settlement process for refugees in their new homes.” [May 2016]
  • 11. A Social Informatics Analysis of Refugee Mobile Phone Use: A Case Study of Za’atari Syrian Refugee Camp
    by Carleen Maitland and Ying Xu
    Based on field research conducted in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, this paper analyses data gathered through interviews, observation, and survey research to shed light on the social, technical, and demographic factors shaping refugee mobile phone use. Social Informatics views ICT use as an outcome of complex and interconnected social and technical systems. In this analysis, the social systems include the camp-based organisational and social milieu of the refugees’ lives, including refugee service providers, the host country government, and mobile network carriers. [Mar 2015]
  • 12. ICT4Refugees: A Report on the Emerging Landscape of Digital Responses to the Refugee Crisis
    by Ben Mason and Dennis Buchmann
    In the efforts to respond to mass migrations and to support refugees, there has been a proliferation in digitally focused projects, indicative of a “new eco-system [that] is emerging internationally with a speed, intensity and diversity that has not been seen before” in the field of information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). This research report focuses on ICT projects designed to help receive and support refugees who have fled their homes and are staying elsewhere in camps or among host communities. The scope of the discussion is around projects using personal computers, smartphones, and tablets that can access the internet. The paper was published by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. [May 2016]

See also:

section_separatorInterested in looking beyond information and the media in the context of the refugee situation? See, for example, these titles on projects using art, dance, personal stories, and film to enhance refugees’ lives and connect their stories to us:


  • 13. Understanding the Information and Communication Needs among IDPs in Northern Iraq
    by Jacobo Quintanilla, Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque, Madara Hettiarachchi, Rocco Nuri, Henrik Ahrens, Shereen Dbouk, and Susan Megy
    To understand the communication needs of Iraqis and Syrians who have been displaced by the violent advances of ISIS, an inter-agency team comprised of UN agencies, World Vision International, Internews, IOM, and the Norwegian Refugee Council carried out a rapid assessment from August 17-22 2014 with displaced populations and host communities. “The key finding of the assessment is that displaced people in northern Iraq live in an information vacuum which is hindering their ability to cope with the catastrophe in which they find themselves.” [Aug 2014]
  • 14. Understanding Information and Communication Needs among IDPs in Eastern Ukraine
    by Jacobo Quintanilla, Oksana Parafeniuk, and Vitaliy Moroz
    This Internews report includes the results from a January 2015 rapid assessment with displaced populations and host communities in Ukraine to understand their information needs and access to communication channels. One finding: “In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, keeping communities informed about what’s happening around them, how to reconnect with their families and friends or what aid services may be available for them, goes beyond saving lives. It is about restoring people’s dignity and respect, it is about fulfilling people’s rights and the right to know, ask questions and participate in their own relief and recovery and, very importantly, holding stakeholders to account.” [Feb 2015]
  • 15. Zamboanga Learning Review on Post-Conflict Community Engagement
    Conducted by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication and commissioned by the Community of Practice on Community Engagement, this report seeks to capture the lessons learned from a humanitarian communication response to the Philippines’ Zamboanga conflict, at the height of which (September and October 2013), over 80,600 people from 14 barangays were forced to leave their homes and to seek shelter in 59 evacuation centres and displacement sites. “Critical here was how we engaged the displaced populations to understand their experiences and listen to their feedback as regards access to life-saving information, as well as opportunities for dialogue, connectivity and community participation. The learning review helped build a framework of what a successful communication, accountability and community response looks like in an armed-conflict context and mapped what was needed from different actors to achieve this.” [Jan 2015]
  • 16. Internal Migration: A Manual for Community Radio Stations
    by N. Ramakrishnan and Venu Arora
    Noting that community radio (CR) is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for creating community conversations around key developmental issues and that CR helps build on these conversations to mobilise community members and promote social inclusion, this training manual supports community radio personnel in their capacity and potential to produce and broadcast migrant-sensitive programmes. Developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Ideosync, this manual lays out the basic concepts associated with internal migration, highlights the main challenges faced by internal migrants across India, stresses their rights and entitlements, and showcases existing migrant-friendly audio programming. [Mar 2015]
  • 17. Impact of Communication Campaigns to Deter Irregular Migration
    by Evie Browne
    This report, provided by the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), examines the evidence on the impact and effectiveness of campaigns to communicate about irregular migration, which the IOM defines as the movement of people that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. Some of the factors that may improve effectiveness of information campaigns are: trust in the information received (many potential migrants do not trust information disseminated through mass media/official channels); focus on specific groups of migrants (e.g., women and girls); inclusion of real-life testimonies from returned migrants; repeated messaging rather than one-off campaigns; and integration of the campaign into broader migration policies and campaigns, including directing migrants to legal opportunities. [Jul 2015]
  • 18. Building Communities of Practice for Urban Refugees: Workshop and Roundtable Reports
    “Horizontal partnerships in the form of networks or other collaborative structures provide a better platform for service provision and information dissemination.” This is one insight from a series of reports sharing outcomes from UNHCR workshops and roundtables designed to broadcast and replicate good practices for urban refugee programmes. The workshops are an opportunity for UNHCR staff and their partners in each region to learn from each other through sharing their good practice examples, as well as the challenges and lessons learned along the way. [2015-2016]

Advertise Your Consultancy Organisation or Services through The CI

If you wish to position your services and skills relative to the 75,000 people in The CI network, please consider an entry in the Consultants section of the Development Classifieds website and e-magazine. You can directly submit online or contact vmartin@comminit.com for assistance.

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.

Full list of the CI Partners:
ANDI, BBC Media Action, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Breakthrough, Citurna TV, Fundación Imaginario, Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Heartlines,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), MISA, Open Society Foundations,Oxfam Novib, PAHO, The Panos Institute, Puntos de Encuentro, SAfAIDS, Sesame Workshop, Soul City, STEPS International, UNAIDS, UNICEF, Universidad de los Andes,USAID, World Health Organization (WHO), W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

Chair of the Partners Group: Garth Japhet, Founder, Soul City garth@heartlines.org.za

Executive Director: Warren Feek wfeek@comminit.com

The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
Please send additional project, evaluation, strategic thinking, and materials information on communication for development at any time. Send to drumbeat@comminit.com

To reproduce any portion of The Drum Beat, click here for our policy.

To subscribe, click here.

To unsubscribe, please send an email to drumbeat@comminit.com with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.



Por favor, inicia sesión con uno de estos métodos para publicar tu comentario:

Logo de WordPress.com

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de WordPress.com. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Google photo

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Google. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Imagen de Twitter

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Twitter. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Cerrar sesión /  Cambiar )

Conectando a %s

Este sitio usa Akismet para reducir el spam. Aprende cómo se procesan los datos de tus comentarios .