Photo: Ecuadorian Red Cross

Photo: Ecuadorian Red Cross

Humanitarian Communications

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:

Web Stories

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.

 Bolivian Red Cross and IFRC visit border brazilian border to work on zika   Bolivian Red Cross and IFRC work in Riberalta near the border with Brazil. Riberalta is a priority community in the regional Zika operation.

Bolivian Red Cross and IFRC visit border brazilian border to work on zika

Bolivian Red Cross and IFRC work in Riberalta near the border with Brazil. Riberalta is a priority community in the regional Zika operation.

 Boxes of Hope for Ecuador    ...The Ecuadorian Red Cross, however, is also doing its part to restore something critical to the people of Ecuador, something that can’t be measured – hope.

Boxes of Hope for Ecuador

...The Ecuadorian Red Cross, however, is also doing its part to restore something critical to the people of Ecuador, something that can’t be measured – hope.

 First aid flight arrives in Ecuador carrying 60 tons of aid    The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has sent a major aid delivery into Ecuador following the 16 April earthquake which has killed hundreds of people and left thousands more in need of emergency shelter.

First aid flight arrives in Ecuador carrying 60 tons of aid

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has sent a major aid delivery into Ecuador following the 16 April earthquake which has killed hundreds of people and left thousands more in need of emergency shelter.

 The Future of Disaster Management in the Caribbean   “With resilience, our goal is for communities to no longer rely exclusively on organizations to help them.”    With these words,  Carlyne McKenzie, Resilience Project Coordinator for the Bahamas Red Cross, explained the purpose of the 9th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management.

The Future of Disaster Management in the Caribbean

“With resilience, our goal is for communities to no longer rely exclusively on organizations to help them.”

With these words,  Carlyne McKenzie, Resilience Project Coordinator for the Bahamas Red Cross, explained the purpose of the 9th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management.

 panamanian red cross nearing 100th anniversary of founding (spa)    “¿Qué significa cumplir 100 años?” preguntó Elías González Solís, Segundo Vicepresidente de la Cruz Roja Panameña.    “Significa mirar el pasado para estudiarlo, pero también refleja un reconocimiento de calidad como organización…  Han sido 99 años de formación de carácter y grandes aportes, conforme el lema institucional - salvando vidas y cambiando mentalidades.”

panamanian red cross nearing 100th anniversary of founding (spa)

“¿Qué significa cumplir 100 años?” preguntó Elías González Solís, Segundo Vicepresidente de la Cruz Roja Panameña.

“Significa mirar el pasado para estudiarlo, pero también refleja un reconocimiento de calidad como organización…  Han sido 99 años de formación de carácter y grandes aportes, conforme el lema institucional - salvando vidas y cambiando mentalidades.”

 Chilean Red Cross Initial Report on Earthquake    On September 16 th  2015, at approximately 7:55pm local time, an earthquake measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale occurred off the coast between the Atacama and La Araucanía regions in northern Chile.  

Chilean Red Cross Initial Report on Earthquake

On September 16th 2015, at approximately 7:55pm local time, an earthquake measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale occurred off the coast between the Atacama and La Araucanía regions in northern Chile.  

Press Releases

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.

Ecuador: An estimated 10,000 children under five years in need of assistance following earthquake

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.

Ecuador: IFRC seeks CHF 18.4 million to assist 100,000 earthquake survivors

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.

social media

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.

video

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

Case Study

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.