When beneficiaries are clients — and communication is aid

The host of nearly 120 internally displaced people in Libya talks to an ICRC delegate about their needs. Photo by: S. Dabbakeh / ICRC / CC BY-NC-ND

BANGKOK — Information hubs, surveys, call centers, and anonymous ballot boxes have existed for years as ways for aid groups to communicate with and receive feedback from affected communities. Now, they’re being called into question — along with the strategies that presented them as catch-all communication solutions in the first place.

None of these mechanisms are obsolete, and each has had a role to play in the decades of progress on feedback and accountability in global aid work. As groups race to respond to the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, it’s lessons from communication and engagement with communities in West Africa they take with them. In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees are currently bracing for cyclone season inside bamboo and tarpaulin shelters, communication alone can be life saving.  

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About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.