Timely, trusted, and actionable information shared in a crisis response is a recognised and critical form of aid, with the potential to significantly save and improve people’s lives in difficult circumstances. In the past, a traditional aid response might have checked this box by diligently providing regular updates to local communities. Today, innovative national programs for Communication and Community Engagement (CCE) set far more ambitious goals, seeking to fundamentally transform the nature of the collaboration between communities and those working to serve them in a crisis.
Building effective CCE capabilities is particularly important in Vanuatu, a Pacific nation spanning 83 islands, which is vulnerable to natural disasters ranging from tropical cyclones and volcanic eruptions, to disease and agricultural threats. 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for its 300,000 citizens, with the landfall of Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold in April and the concurrent rise of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last two years, the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has sponsored a programme to build a sustainable next generation CCE capability within Vanuatu. This initiative is a systems level innovation that pursues two big objectives. The first is to establish the foundation for resilient two-way collaboration between people facing crisis and the many organisations that seek to support them. The second is to build this capability as a “platform” that broadly integrates communication capabilities across the diverse ecosystem of organisations responding to a crisis (government, private sector, international actors, and civil society).
This short video presents a snapshot of how the platform works, and is presented by Bronwyn Olul, CDAC’s senior national coordinator in Vanuatu.