Accountability to Affected Populations and Sensitisation Materials: A collaboration with IRC Uganda Country Programme and UNHCR Uganda field office

 

Identifying a need

As part of the research study on Accountability to Affected Populations in Displacement Contexts, conducted by the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI), University of London, in collaboration with IRC Uganda, the RLI proposed developing client responsiveness sensitisation materials aimed at clients based in Uganda.

The aim of the sensitisation materials for clients is to increase awareness of the Interagency Feedback Referral Response Mechanism (FRRM) among affected populations served by the IRC, UNHCR and partner organisations in Uganda. Discussions with the IRC Uganda country office and UNHCR based in Uganda, and research conducted by RLI with IRC Tanzania indicated that many clients are not aware of feedback channels available to them. Greater awareness of such channels will strengthen the client responsive approach of the country office and Uganda humanitarian response overall.

 

Why we proposed audio podcasts?

The RLI proposed audio podcast as format for the sensitisation material. As reported in our research on IRC Uganda Client Responsiveness during the pandemic, IRC Uganda invested significant resources in communication with clients by expanding radio shows and Boda Boda broadcasts. This proved a strong basis to reach communities, and increased the effectiveness of information communication by minimising the risk inherent in pictorial images that the message may be unclear or not interpreted correctly.

Reliance on text-based communication in humanitarian settings may be problematic. While printed materials such as leaflets, posters, banners and notice-boards are useful to share and disseminate information, these materials assume that people are literate and mobile and, for this reason, may not be accessible to everyone. Given their storytelling traditions, many communities also prefer listening to audio messages. This makes audio one of the communities’ main preferred source of information and a trusted channel.[1]

 

Where will the podcasts be played?

Discussions with IRC Uganda and UNHCR revealed there is currently a lack of awareness of FRRM and of the AAP concept among displaced communities in the West Nile region of Uganda. In addition to this, while posters on FFRM are available, podcasts to share information with affected populations on how the FRRM works, what channels are available to them and how they can influence humanitarian programming have never been developed before.

The podcasts will be used to pilot the dissemination of information on feedback and complaint mechanism and on basic principles of AAP in early 2022. The piloting of the initiative will take place in the West Nile. If successful, the initiative can be replicated in other areas of interest within Uganda refugee hosting areas communities and beyond.

 

Languages

As discussed with IRC Uganda staff and UNHCR staff, the podcasts have been produced in 6 different languages. These include: English, Aringa, Lugbara, Achioli (Luo), Juba Arabic and Kakwa. The languages are spoken by both refugees and host communities served by the IRC and UNHCR.

 

Content

The messages have been developed on the following themes:

  • ‘Why giving feedback is important’
  • ‘Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse’
  • ‘Fraud and corruption’
  • ‘Know your rights’

Some of these messages are developed with one voice explaining how FRRM works, the importance of affected populations’ feedback for the relevance and quality of humanitarian programming, and how communities can respond to cases of fraud, corruption or sexual exploitation and abuse. Some of the messages have been developed as a dialogue between two people. This was deemed as potentially more culturally appropriate.

The pilot will be useful to also understand the format of messages preferred by communities (re: one voice as opposed to the use of a dialogue and storytelling).

The English versions of the podcasts are available here:

 

Podcasts in Aringa, Lugbara, Achioli (Luo), Juba Arabic and Kakwa are available upon request from RLI@sas.ac.uk.

 

This research was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) as part of the RECAP Project: ‘Research capacity strengthening and knowledge generation to support preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and epidemics,’ grant number ES/P010873/1.

[1] Drew, K. (Undated). ‘How to control the ‘CTRL+P’ urge: Embracing Audio’, UNHCR Innovation Service, at https://www.unhcr.org/innovation/using-audio/ and Drew, K. (2016). ‘Innovation or Imitation in Uganda’, UNHRC Innovation Service, at https://www.unhcr.org/innovation/innovation-imitation-in-uganda/