The humanitarian–development interface of communication and community engagement in Fiji

CDAC Network and Ground Truth Solutions
Publication language
Date published
30 May 2022
CDAC Network
Research, reports and studies
Accountability and Participation, Capacity development, Community-led, Comms, media & information
CDAC Network

Fiji is regularly affected by disasters, in particular tropical cyclones. In the 2021 World Risk Index, Fiji was ranked 14th highest worldwide in terms of disaster risk.

In such a context, reliable information is key to saving lives and livelihoods. But this is not a one-way, top-down process. Two-way communication and community engagement (CCE) defines a commitment to ensure that communities are able to provide information on their disaster risks and disaster impacts to governments, NGOs and international organisations, so that their opinions and concerns can be clearly understood by relevant decision-makers. Thus, local, accountable leadership and governance mechanisms must be strengthened from the bottom up if CCE efforts are to be sustainable and to function during disasters.

In Fiji, citizen participation and community engagement are already entrenched in daily life. CCE is contextually linked to social and institutional settings, from public policymaking to climate change action, to efforts at intentional inclusion.

This working paper is part of a jointly facilitated CDAC–Ground Truth Solutions systems-level innovation project on CCE in Fiji and Vanuatu, funded by Australian Aid. The project seeks to draw links between the humanitarian relief and longer-term development spaces and will provide evidence to the wider humanitarian community of the merits of investment in systematic two-way CCE for locally led responses.

The paper provides a snapshot of various humanitarian and development CCE/participation frameworks and systems in Fiji. It aims to discuss entry points for effective CCE in crises and inform scale-up and use of findings to better link humanitarian and development planning, implementation and impact.