Humanitarian communication needs assessment in Dadaab, Kenya

This humanitarian communication needs assessment is aimed at understanding the information needs of refugees in Dadaab and exploring ways to improve the communication flow between refugees, aid agencies, and host communities. This is part of a global effort to increase focus on humanitarian communication needs.

Historically, little to no systematic attention has been given to this crucial issue; Inter-Agency Needs Assessments, for example, have not specifically looked into the communication needs of the people the humanitarian community is there to serve, which results in major gaps in aid effectiveness and downward accountability.

The Dadaab Assessment Team conducted an extensive survey of over 630 refugees in all three of Dadaab’s refugee camps, Ifo (including the informal Ifo Extension), Dagahaley, and Hagadera between August 07–14, 2011. Surveys targeted new arrivals (less than 9 months) and long-term residents; as well as strong sample numbers of men and women. The Assessment Team also interviewed a number of humanitarian workers, and a follow up team visited Dadaab from August 22-27, 2011, to present the preliminary findings of the assessment, work on immediate next steps including the design and budget for the construction of a local radio station as per the MoU between UNHCR and Star FM, and to continue the conversations with some of the humanitarian agencies.

The information needs assessment in Dadaab, therefore, aims to both support better local humani- tarian communications on the ground, and to keep building the global body of evidence around the importance of effective and efficient communication with affected populations. Understanding more and better the local information ecosystems is vital for humanitarian agencies to save lives and to be more effective in the delivery of aid.