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Funding collective approaches to communication and community engagement in humanitarian action

Research report

Written by Oliver Lough, Alexandra Spencer

Hero image description: Abacus Image credit:Freepik

Since the early 2010s, a collective approach to communication and community engagement (CCE) has been an increasingly common feature in humanitarian crises worldwide. Collective CCE aims to improve the quality of humanitarian responses by providing consistent and accessible information, improving response-wide understanding and analysis of affected people’s priorities and needs, and fostering two-way communication. It does this by breaking CCE out of agency or sectoral silos and fostering collaboration across a wide range of actors.

However, even a decade after collective approaches to CCE were first piloted, many still struggle to secure sufficient, good quality funding. This has negatively impacted their ability to set up quickly in new emergencies, to function at scale and gain political traction once established, and to develop or adapt over time in line with the evolution of a crisis.

This report, the first study of its kind, identifies ways to strengthen collective CCE through better resourcing. It does so in three parts:

  • First, it provides a practical overview of the costs of different components of collective CCE, providing greater transparency on how much is needed for collectives to function effectively in different contexts, and seeking to address potential misconceptions about the scale and scope of costs.
  • Second, it explores trends in the current funding landscape around collective CCE and highlights blockages.
  • Third, it identifies how collective CCE can be better supported through a range of funding mechanisms.

Oliver Lough and Alexandra Spencer