Advocacy - Public information
In emergencies, OCHA communications officers at headquarters and in disaster or conflict situations play a key role in ensuring the humanitarian community speaks coherently and sends appropriate and consistent messages through the media. This helps OCHA rapidly mobilize the political will, funding, supplies and equipment to relieve suffering and help people rebuild their lives.
Our spokespersons coordinate with partners to develop key messages that define the overall impact, needs and required response – whether in terms of advocacy or practical aid provision. Key messages are developed in consultation with colleagues in-country, to ensure that the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and others convey up-to-the-minute, clear and consistent information.
OCHA also assists the media by ensuring that regular joint press briefings are held, bringing together representatives from across the humanitarian community. It also ensures that speakers are available for interviews in various languages, and helps media access key decision makers and aid operations, especially in hard-to-access locations.
Through our communications network, OCHA works with a variety of partners in local, regional and international media to ensure that decision makers and the public read, hear or watch balanced coverage of current relief operations, brewing emergencies or forgotten crises.
Increasingly it is not enough to communicate only to media, governments or other relief agencies. Therefore, Communicating with Disaster-Affected Communities (CDAC) provides a coordinated service to enable humanitarian operations to get life-saving information to populations, and to channel their voices back to the providers of assistance. OCHA is a key member of the CDAC Steering Committee. In 2010, it helped ensure connections between media partners and relief agencies to reach people in Haiti and Pakistan.
More>> OCHA Media Centre