Innovative knowledge-based communications to help the humanitarian and development sector spark positive change...
With a vision of resilient and sustainable communities.
ABOUT THE STORYTELLERS
The mission of SWC took root
While serving as SEEDS’ media wing
With a passion to write, design, innovate and shoot
We were excited to see what new sector perspectives we could bring
Saferworld Communications (SWC) has been servicing the communication needs of the sector since 2003. We have partnered with a number of UN and government agencies, IFRC, Plan, Christian Aid and Concern Worldwide among others.
Approach and uniqueness
Our approach focuses on telling stories that bring change
For each well-told initiative can make a difference, big or small
That’s why our plotlines cover a varied range
Wherever ‘disaster-related’ humanitarian and development work call
The team combines a passion for communication
With sector knowledge and field skill
This means a multiple-perspective approach is done
No matter which objective we need to fulfil
A range of creative tools: We tell these stories in different ways to stand out; through interaction, through words, through images, through video, through infographics and through innovative design.
Nuanced analysis and translation of data: Turning abstract concepts into actionable items.
Work with and for the entire range of stakeholders: Tailoring communication for diverse audiences - from remote vulnerable communities to NGOs to policy makers.
A storytelling approach: Bringing a unique flavour and breaking down complex ideas.
A learning focus: Helping ensure that materials serve long-term objectives.
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OUR ‘CHANGE SPARK’ METHODS
Documenting to showcase projects and build institutional memory
Knowledge sharing through project documentation
An initiative’s essence caught though cases and photo essays
A testament to the work that’s been done
Helping build future projects and derive new ways
SWC’s documentation initiatives delve into the best practices, learning and conclusions from various projects. It serves both as a testament to the work done and as a repository of learning for similar projects in other areas.
Evaluations for learning
Encouraging us to examine lessons to raise the bar
Evaluations offer insight into the projects, communities and surroundings
They adopt a forward-looking approach that’s more effective by far
Turning lessons into opportunities the next initiative brings
SWC’s evaluations of projects go far beyond the typical templates. They work more as a learning tool; looking at what successes have been achieved and what lay behind the challenges. Knowing that traditional reports are not read, SWC also works to convert these into easily usable formats. This includes video summaries of core findings or guidelines for future projects.
Information for emergencies and disaster risk reduction
Using communication as a bridge is key
For it is more than a tool, it is a means of change and aid
So no matter what or where the information need may be
Fulfilling it can mean a future is made
The right information to the right people at the right time can change the humanitarian landscape. In emergencies, information gaps at critical points affect the response capacity of communities; and the type, use and volume of aid. For disaster risk reduction, hidden knowledge and trends buried within data can influence programmes, policies and long-term focus areas. It actually helps nurture a culture of change.
SWC helps bridge this gap. It works to find and amplify hidden voices and stories. It creates infographics and maps. It works to establish two-way communication on vital information. It also performs nuanced analysis of data that helps identify concern areas, needs and solutions.
Public awareness and advocacy
We embed the idea of ‘involve me and I’ll understand’ in all we do
Helping turn awareness into a change spark
Breaking down complex ideas through stories that get people to talk and think too
And tailoring solutions for various audiences to make a mark
Our public awareness initiatives cover a wide range of solutions. On the one hand, we have developed and disseminated public awareness strategies. On the other, we develop information, education and communication (IEC) products. Many of our educational resources work on the basis of a ‘do and learn’ concept. Interactivity, animation and interesting design help learning in a fun manner.
GLIMPSES OF OUR WORK
The Uttarakhand Floods of 2013 was an immense challenge for aid agencies. Even weeks after the calamity, problems of accessibility and lack of information from the worst hit areas continued.
In order to ensure more informed aid decision making, SWC tried to tap data through the Sphere India NGO network, government and UN sources, local NGOs, CBOs and volunteers. The report provided maps of affected areas; numbers and names of affected villages; access routes and NGOs responding.
While on the ground the criticality of finding these hidden stories was seen firsthand. The stories in the public are usually dictated by the mainstream media…and aid and attention often follow. The findings that emerged pointed very clearly to specific concerns and needs. The report extrapolated critical issues including five priority areas: humanitarian crisis, shelter, schools, livelihoods and WASH. The report also attempted to look at cross-cutting issues of marginalised groups, people with disabilities and children's protection. These needed to be highlighted, verified, detailed and addressed through early recovery and long-term rehabilitation measures.
Partnering with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), SWC created a guideline document for field workers on earthquakes. The guidelines are divided into preparing, responding and recovering; and a section on cross-cutting issues. They are supported with evidence of good practices and examples from across the world. Key actions are summarised in the form of a checklist at the end of each section. This was supplemented by a video on the 10 key messages and a presentation. While intended primarily for IFRC, these guidelines would be of relevance to all humanitarian personnel.
This series of short experiment videos was developed to help raise awareness and build disaster preparedness. This includes experiments on floods, cyclones, tsumamis, liquefaction and landslides. They can be made from easily available resources.
Small Acts Big Impacts was a multi-media campaign which saw climate change through the eyes of a camel and yak. It included a animation film and quiz, activity book and posters for children to get involved in green activities.
Small Acts Big Impacts: Climate change learning kit
Paribartan is a five-year project (2011-2016) of Concern Worldwide aimed at ‘Increasing resilience and reducing the risk of coastal communities to climate change and natural hazards in the Bay of Bengal’. It is supported by a grant from the European Union. This mid-term evaluation reviewed the progress of the Paribartan project to assess the impacts against objectives, to identify lessons learned and to formulate recommendations for the programme strategy for the next phase. It used both primary and secondary data and quantitative and qualitative methods.
Paribartan Mid-term Evaluation: Concern Worldwide
Winner of the Influencing through Research and Communications CDKN award
The Catalysts of Change was a SEEDS’ action research project supported by START-CDKN; implemented in Barmer, Rajasthan and Leh, Ladakh. Documentation and communication products were created for broader dissemination and advocacy of the issues.
This study commissioned by Christian Aid undertook a broad-brush review of the overall approach and lessons of CA shelter responses in India and Bangladesh. Detailed assessment was carried out in three project locations in India – one in Rajasthan and two in Tamil Nadu. Assuming a people-centric focus, it aimed to inform future action in the shelter arena. Specific pointers were derived to determine whether shelters have survived the test of time in keeping with recognised local and international standards. Key informant interviews, focus group discussions, case studies and observation studies were used to assess the projects.
Improving Shelter Response to Humanitarian Crisis: CA Research Study in India and Bangladesh
The Saferworld Point of View series looks at critical issues by analysing invisible data in an effort to capture priorities on critical principles for humanitarian response.
These simulations set the context for an exercise on urban disaster response at an Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) conference in January, 2012. They explore urban risk and the post-disaster situation.
A series of videos have been created for the International Day for Disaster Reduction over the years; including on the elderly, women and SEEDS’ work in Ladakh.
International Day for Disaster Reduction
How do you create adaptable solutions for the urban context, including the urban poor? The community explores appropriate technologies on housing, water, sanitation and waste management issues. It serves as a platform for discussion, looking at options that can get replicated and scaled up. This initiative is led by National Foundation for India and Saferworld Communications.
This documentation campaign for Plan India highlighted their water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) initiatives across 6 states in India. It involved extensive field research that culminated in an overview, series of photo essays, case studies, digital story and report.
As part of the Government of India’s NCRMP project, we developed a comprehensive public awareness strategy on DRR. This was approached from a behavioural change perspective and was designed for use by a variety of stakeholders. Methods to sensitise journalists, PROs and PROs were also created with a toolkit and training modules on the principles of disaster reporting.
Strategy for national public awareness campaign on disaster risk reduction and disaster reporting toolkit for journalists
Documentation of Concern Worldwide’s ‘Paribartan’ project that’s helping communities across the Bay of Bengal region cope with climate change impacts and adapt to the new normal.
The fury of floods has been on a significantly disturbing trend across South Asia in recent years. Economic losses and human hardship are mounting significantly. Yet much of this remains under the radar since the communities are poor and the economies informal. Humanitarian flood responses therefore usually take place in particularly challenging settings with very limited resources and in the face of detrimental policies.
This lesson learning study was a unique initiative that went beyond mere evaluation. Rather, it looked at challenges, innovations and initiatives that can inform future response. These were drawn from a number of Christian Aid (CA) and partner emergency responses on floods and cyclones from 2007-2012 across India and Bangladesh. The study was commissioned by CA South Asia.
This regional synthesis report created for UNISDR explored the progress made on implementing the HFA goals since 2005, with emphasis on the 2009-11 period. The report was based on the analysis of 27 national progress reports, those of regional organisations and interviews.
How can the local community be involved in making their city safer? The Urban Dreams, Urban Realities video offers 10 recommendations on building a safer and more sustainable Agra from the ground up.
Urban dreams, Urban realities: Building a safer Agra
Children are among the most vulnerable citizens in South Asian cities and their voices are especially important. This kit produced as part of a UNICEF supported project aims to empower children to take action; pushing disaster risk reduction for children, by children. It localised the international children’s charter on DRR for the Indian Sub-continent with a poster and booklet. The kit also allows for fun ways to learn about fires, road safety, floods and eco-friendly behaviour; as well as checklists to evaluate their safety at home and school.
‘Be a Risk Ready Champion’ kit
Partnering with the Institute for Development Studies, SWC helped simplify their Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management Tool to be more easily understood by stakeholders at the ground level. Graphic representations, step-by-step unveiling of the information and a user-friendly mindset were integral to this process.
Climate Smart Disaster Risk Mitigation
A number of communication materials have been conceptualised and designed for SEEDS Asia for their work on Mobile and Water Knowledge Resource Centres in Pakistan and Myanmar. These travelling exhibitions showcase miniature models, posters and videos to allow communities in remote locations to easily understand the hazards they face and safety tips to mitigate disaster risks. A truck and boat were designed for this purpose.
Mobile and Water Knowledge Resource Centres
The TERRA Learning Project involves the collaboration of a number of leading humanitarian agencies, prominent individuals and academia. It aims to use the tacit knowledge and practical wisdom of communities to discover solutions for today.
AT SWC, we believe mapping is an effective way to draw visual connections. It provides a consolidated view of complex issues, helping identify key focus areas.
This paper argues the case for building safer, more resilient communities using evidence-based inclusive approaches to Disaster Risk Management through multi-stakeholder engagement; based on the learning from the INCRISD South Asia project, implemented in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka by ActionAid, Handicap International and Oxfam with support from European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department, under the 7th DIPECHO Action Plans. The paper is based on South Asia experiences, recommendations and approaches are meant to have a universal application.
Making Disaster Risk Management Inclusive
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