Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pakreport Communication Strategy during 2010 Floods in Pakistan

In reality many of the projects that originate during disaster do not have any set project plans. It is still astonishing that without any plans these projects have well defines rules and protocols for getting things done quickly, efficiently and with low budgets - that event businesses with long age lack. We are sharing this document to make things open on how we were communicating during disaster. Some names of person and entities are omitted from the document.

Background: We need a strategy to communicate our message to the disaster affected community.

Effective ways:  still trying to figure out best way but 
  • Internet strategy is out of scope to reach to the flood affected community.
  • Just met --- (Internews), and he mentioned mobile network played an important role in spreading message in haiti. If so then we should focus our energies there.
  • One time interviews on radio and TV do not work. So need to get the message out through repeated messages through public service or paid ads or partnerships.
  • How to spread our message through banners and printed material that should be distributed with the relief goods by the humanitarian agencies and people providing aid.
  • Agree with the George that we should have a clear mission statement and what we are trying to do. to be used everywhere. so we need to work it out. George has given an excellent start.

What has been done at this end
  • Interviews with VOA, BBC and other radios are done but one time programs and interviews are not effective.
  • InterNews has spread our message to the media.
  • Radio ---- ( ----) agreed to broadcast our message but it is not happening regularly and effectively.
  • A (media company) has agreed to build a strategy to spread our message and how they can help us in spreading our message. something concrete has yet to come.

What need to do on urgent basis

  • Need to have a proposal on what we can offer to the media that will support us through public service ads or some other stuff. {Important}
  • Every relief Camp has an in charge. It is important to contact them.  PDMA ( Provinicial disastaer management authority can provide these contact information).
  • Also it is important to get mobile numbers of all the reporters and subscribe them for job alerts.
  • Followup with Internews InfoAsAid program.
  • Internews spread our message to humanitarian and media agencies.  Following are the media contacts to follow-up that were introduced by InterNews and others.

Steps to do immediate following the above ones

SMS Alerts for reporters and camp inchargs

  • Implement SMS alert system with the local vendor. We will buy 28,000 message in $250
  • Do it as category wise instead of subscribing to all the information
  • how to put un subscribe from alerts {do not have this at this time and it can be annoying for subscribers}

Other factors to understand

  • We need to have a budget for the media promotion; as media is hesitating to broadcast public service messages,  and need to actively look for sponsorships to support this activity.
  • Radio is cheap but TV and print mediums are too expensive for us to support.

Communication with the Humanitarian agencies and relief workers+ others. Indirect way to spread our message.

Communicating 3441 to population

As I understood, we have pretty good contacts on local media (either provided by Internews or through other networks) – do we have a final message to population about 3441 and pakreport?  Communication has to be unified and clear, for that purpose we need press release – short version as well as more descriptive version. If there is already voice recording service (and local phone number), all this information should be put together in one promo material.

For print materials, I would also suggest to use as a graphic a screenshot of screen of a cellphone where someone is typing message to 3441 in order to make it absolutely clear to people (I guess we are using “PR” instead of “FL” from now on right?). Print material is already ready, now it will take time to re-do this.

We need success stories and positive quotes – Anahi is compiling them. Blogpost should follow. This success stories are good for “selling” pakreport. As I understood, lot of potential partners (incl Internews) were raising concerns about how the information is being used. Success stories can help to mitigate some of these concerns.

Communication to international community-

Twitter – we need to show what is about, and simply, it is about reports.  So we need more tweets based on actual fresh reports. Every day, we should send AT LEAST two tweets based on some significant report received on pakreport. This way pakreport will be presented as a service bringing fresh reports directly from the ground. And actually, Channel 16 is already doing that:

I think it is very good partnership with Ch16 and it is great that they tweet couple of times a day reports that are coming from Pakreport, but simply, we should be the first ones who tweets such reports.

Would it be possible to have on pakreport site or blog site those little icons “follow us on twitter, facebook,…”?


Thanks ---- for managing this! Could we try to set up a schedule to have at least two-three original posts a week? Anyone from the team can be an author – posts can be related to developments in different pakreport “departments” – authors: --- , ---- , ---- , ---- ,… But it would be also great to have some more personal stories from other people involved in pakreport: especially those of you who are from Pakistan but currently are living/studying abroad: why do you decided to join pakreport team? What is your work about? Posts can be short, but regular.

We should put more “human face” to pakreport – personal stories on blog, pictures of team members, their short bios (the bios are already in the “about” section, do we have the pictures?). This is one of the ways we can distinguish pakreport from other similar projects.

Whenever possible, we should try to push people to subscribe for alerts, or do it for them. What is the status of having alerts subscription by category?

Humanitarian partnerships

I was always saying that should be presented primarily as a platform for local reporting as well as local response. However, we obviously need also buy-in of the international humanitarian actors such as UN agencies and major INGOs. As I understood, couple of links were already established (UNICEF, IFRC,…), but should be continuously present on the decision-making meetings. Currently I am not aware about other coordination structure than UN cluster system. Pakreport representative should be personally participating on the cluster meetings. They take place in Islamabad, a most probably there are also clusters in the affected regions.

One of the critical meetings is Information Management Working Group held probably once a week by UNOCHA. The schedule is not online but it will be possible to get it personally in Islamabad.

But also other cluster meetings (Food, WATSAN, Camp Management, Logistics,…) are important, for following reasons:

Major humanitarian NGOs and government reps are used to participate on these meetings
It is a place to get fresh updates about what is the situation on the ground, what assessments are undergoing, what strategic decisions are being made and what the plans are, who is doing what and where

It is a great place to make personal contacts!!!

If we want some hum NGOs to distribute pakreport materials in their areas of work, cluster meetings can be a good place to start

Most probably (for security reasons) pakreport representative will have to register first with UNOCHA in order to get access to meetings (but maybe not, I don’t know).

Participation in all of these meetings is extremely time consuming, usually without quick results. I would suggest to try to attend each of these meetings first and than decide which ones are more relevant than the others. It is not necessary to be there always personally, but it is important to register yourself personally first, provide contact information in order to receive meeting minutes in the future.

After initial contacts with clusters I would suggest to ask the cluster lead to get a 10-20 minutes space for Pakreport representative to do a presentation about during one of the cluster meetings.

And most important thing: Pakreport representative has to have a Pakreport/3441 T-Shirt in this meetings!!! It really helps for making connections with people who A)know about pakreport B)don’t know, but are curious what kind of service it is.

If we decide to have a person who is in Islamabad and willing to participate on UN cluster meetings, I can immediately train such person in how the UN cluster system works, what he/she should expect etc.

Other citizen reporting projects

There are currently number of citizen reporting initiatives. Here is the list of those I know about, but there might be more:

Channel 16 –
Seen Report –
Geo Dost -
Hunza Landslides -
Hamari Awaz

Channel 16 – partnership established, they have longcode, but not many reports and I think they don’t have any public campaign in Pakistan

BBC/Internews – call center, we need to find out more about their project, but in general it reminds me their project in Haiti, reports coming to their call center could be also mapped on pakreport, it would be invaluable source of data. Establishing partnership would be desirable.

There are two options in general – 1. Taking the reports from them on a regular basis (lets say once a day as an excel file) and having our volunteers to submit them to pakreport, or, 2. Training their people to submit those reports directly to themselves. We need to find out more about their capacity and structure.

Seenreport – they have longcode and claim that they have thousands of reports. Looking at their site, they are not mapping the reports, I believe partnership would be desirable, for us it would be another great source of data. can follow-up this

Geo Dost – ran by seen report team, shortcode 436 GD and people can also call 0900, however, in order to submit report, you need to be registered, would be interesting to find out more – what is their capacity, how many reports are they receiving? Can we use their data? – we don’t know who is it. Looking at their site, there is no way how to submit a report – neither email, web form, nor sms. Interesting, I wonder what is their goal and capacity.

Sahana – we already have a partnership, I would be very much interested how it works so far
Hunza - not sure how active they are today

Hamari Awaz – shortcode 7111, according to Faisal, they are not based in Pakistan and it is a question how active they are. Funded by State Department – that can be actually disadvantage for them in Pakistan. Their alert service is paid – I really wonder how many people will be actually willing to pay for alerts. Anyway, if they are active, again, lets try to set up some kind of partnership.

In general, I think these initiatives can be a good source of data – would be a place where all these streams of information are aggregated and mapped. Another source are radio stations such as Radio Pakistan that are collecting reports from their listeners. We could train their people to submit reports to pakreport.

We can do this at least until there is potentially a huge increase of incoming sms reports and the capacity of volunteers needs to be focused primarily on processing those sms reports.

Situation reports

Probably it is too early, but we should also keep in mind that at some point we shoud try to start producing lets say weekly situation reports based on some basic analyses of incoming data – this reports would be primarily for media and humanitarian actors – the focus would be following:

Most significant trends in various fields – health, watsan, security,…
Aggregated report about situation in remote/unsafe areas
Aggregated report about underserved areas
Highlighting any significant issues being reported to

So that’s all for now, I am looking forward for discussing this further and preparing some more concrete action points…

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