I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to apply and develop my content management and communications skills in the humanitarian sector, a field that demands a more accelerated workflow to communicate effectively during crises and emergencies. Comms work in the humanitarian sector uses a wide variety of tools to suit the different strategies required to provide key audiences and actors the right information at the right time. Under these premises, the fact is that information saves lives.
Some examples of my work in the humanitarian sector:
Here are some publications for the global website for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), highlighting Red Cross action in the Americas and the Caribbean during emergencies and preparation for emergencies, as well as institutional news.
When disaster strikes, gathering accurate and relevant information has to be communicated right away in order to save lives and position the organizations dedicated to doing so as reference points, thus building the necessary credibility to intervene and work with those affected.
Geneva, 20 April 2016 – As search and rescue operations continue following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, the Red Cross is providing life-saving health support to tens of thousands of survivors many of whom are vulnerable children under five. Aftershocks can complicate search and rescue efforts, and put pressure on already stretched health services.
Panama/ Geneva, 22 April 2016 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today launched an 18.4 million Swiss franc (19 million US dollars) appeal to support the Ecuadorian Red Cross deliver assistance to an estimated 100,000 people in urgent need following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Ecuador’s central coast on the evening of 16 April.
Given that social media is often the first place people turn to during emergencies, effective use of social media in humanitarian communications requires timeliness, accuracy, and strong integration with information management. Though there may not always be an emergency, social media is the most logical platform for public outreach concerning emergency preparation, information on risk reduction, raising awareness on emerging vulnerabilities or silent disasters (drought, el niño, migration, etc.), celebrating milestones and key global dates, among other things.
Audiovisual reporting is one of the most effective tools in humanitarian work. Not only can they be used to show situations in need of solutions, they can also be used to measure implemented solutions for either emergencies or building resilience.
Due to the World Health Organization's declaration of the Zika virus as a global public health emergency in February 2016, the 2016 Olympc games were held with an increased focus on public health and safety - the Brazilian Red Cross organized a campaign to raise awareness about the Zika virus, with adverts throughout the public transport system during the 2016 Olympics. #BeatZika
Information design/editing - Marc Belanger
The Zika Operation was launched in February 2016 in response to the international emergency appeal for Zika virus intervention. Since then, we have worked with 12 National Societies in the Americas, reaching nearly 5 million people in the fight against Zika. This video is an overview of our impact in the region and the work that we do.
Information design/Post-production/Animation/Translation - Marc Belanger
On Sunday April 24th, the Panamanian Red Cross and IFRC delegates took to the streets of San Miguelito, Panama to conduct Community Based Surveillance activities for the Zika Virus. The objectives were to map breeding sites at the household level, identify suspected and confirmed cases of Zika, monitor rumors and misinformation from community members and sensitize, inform and empower families to adopt Zika prevention and control measures.
Filming/Editing - Marc Belanger
High maternal and infant mortality is a global concern. In 2011 the world´s states asked the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to mobilize their staff and volunteers to address this global challenge. Since 2013, Red Cross community programs in Guatemala and Honduras have responded to mother and child health emergencies. In 2015, no maternal deaths have been registered in the municipalities benefiting from the programs.
Research/Filming/Editing - Carolina Ángel Idrobo/Mauro Colombo
Institutional liaison - Marc Belanger
Bolivian Red Cross volunteers and IFRC delegates visited the Riberalta community in northern Bolivia to raise awareness on the Zika virus that has affected the Americas, as well as learn about the knowledge and perceptions about Zika in Riberalta. Community members from a local school, a maternity centre and a local neighbourhood shared their thoughts on Zika in their community and what they have been doing to prevent it, their concerns and the difficulties the community faces in accurately identifying the volume of cases.
Editing - Marc Belanger
Donor and partner communications
There are multiple actors and organizations working together in the humanitarian field, including the donors whose funds make operations and projects possible. Sharing information between all actors and providing timely updates is vital to a coordinated effort and helps measure the progress and effectiveness of actions taken.
Operational summary of ecuador earthquake - 1 month
Visual document with relevant facts and figures such as timeline, need analysis, death toll, number of people rendered homeless, funding provided and funding gap, priority needs, number of beneficiaries that have been attended, item distribution, organizational actions, and other important elements.
Design and publishing - Diana Arroyo
Information management support - Marc Belanger
Epidemiological update - regional zika operation
Visual document with relevant facts and figures such as epidemiological analysis by country, links to other areas of humanitarian concern, funding received and funding gaps, country activities, audiovisual updates, informational links, and relevant contacts.
Design and publication - Diana Arroyo
Information management support/Photo/Video - Marc Belanger
The 2010 Haiti Earthquake is widely regarded as having established certain benchmarks in standard practices in the humanitarian sector. Most notably, the widespread use of telecommunications technology supported two-way communications with thousands of beneficiaries during the recovery phase. This ensured a communications cycle where feedback was collected and processed and access to information could be tailored to the beneficiary's needs. I detailed this in a case study for LA Vision magazine, published by the GSMA. GSMA is the telecommunications carrier's association in Latin America and the Caribbean.