Aid agencies urged to do better at talking, listening to recipients

Aid agencies can improve their international relief response in Haiti by doing a better job of listening and talking to the people there, a new report is suggesting.

The report by infoasaid, a U.K. government-funded group of aid groups and media organizations, says there is a lack of “any kind of systematic approach” to sharing information, listening to, gathering feedback and collecting and responding to complaints from Haitians.

“Humanitarian agencies overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster — and for many the impact on their own staff and offices — mostly did not prioritize communication with affected communities,” the report adds, according to Reuters. “Surprisingly few of those with a long-term presence had local Creole-speaking spokespeople.”

Imogen Wall, one of the authors of the report, noted communication with communities should become part of the humanitarian system and its funding mechanism.

“The value-added of communication on the ground is proven. It leads to smarter and more nuanced aid. It leads to a better relationship with the people you are trying to serve,” Wall explained.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.