You arrive at Bangui airport in the Central African Republic (CAR) from headquarters, you switch on your smart phone to tell your family and colleagues that you’ve arrived and nothing happens: ‘there is no network’, said Jean-Luc Mootoosamy, Programme Manager for CAR for the media development organisation Foundation Hirondelle. ‘One of the closest elements to us here, our phones, doesn’t work. It is the first reality check.’
Mootoosamy was speaking at the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network’s first Annual Forum last July, where ‘reality checks’ were a key theme. Since it was established in 2009, members of the CDAC Network have made significant progress in setting up two-way communications with communities affected by natural disasters, ‘but do we really know what to do in conflict environments like Yemen, CAR or South Sudan?, asked the chair of the panel,Gregory Barrow, Head of the World Food Programme (WFP) in London.
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By Jacobo Quintanilla, Community Engagement Advisor at the ICRC