Listening to affected populations to understand humanitarian priorities for the Somalia HNO 2020 (UN OCHA)

An innovative approach to delivering accountability to affected populations.

Informing the UN Humanitarian Needs Overview for Somalia

for two consecutive years

In the latter part of 2019, for the second consecutive year, Africa’s Voices collaborated with UN OCHA and the NGO REACH to ensure that the voices of citizens inform the 2020 annual UN Somalia Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). The 2019 HNO specifically commended our work, identifying Africa’s Voices interactive radio approach as an effective way to consult citizens, even from the most vulnerable communities.

As in 2018, our intervention was conducted in parallel with the Joint Multi Cluster Needs Assessment (JMCNA). The process deployed Africa’s Voices’ Common Social Accountability Platform (CSAP) to disseminate findings from the JMCNA back to communities, spark a wider national public dialogue on priorities for the humanitarian response in Somalia, and gather feedback from affected populations to inform the 2020 HNO.

CSAP is based on Africa’s Voices’ interactive radio methodology – radio debates, shaped by audience feedback sent in by SMS – and is designed to be a large-scale, independent and system-level platform for engagement with affected communities that also provides credible insight on their perspectives, needs and experiences. CSAP enables citizen views to impact and shape humanitarian decision-making to better meet citizens’ needs and priorities. This way, it builds citizens trust in and accountability of decision-makers. The platform functions cross-sectorally and collaboratively – seeking to impact an ecosystem of decision-makers.

What we did

In August 2019, we conducted a two-week nationwide radio consultation to explore humanitarian priorities suggested by Somali citizens and to bring them at the heart of the design of the 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overview. A total of 8,251 people sent in their views from across the country. Of these, 84% reported that participating in the radio dialogue had made them feel they had more of a voice in humanitarian decision-making processes.

Broadcast across a national network of 26 FM radio stations, the consultation built on the similar process that took place in 2018 in tandem with REACH. In 2018, 8,955 citizens participated (and over 100,000 are estimated to have listened to the shows). The 2019 intervention was designed to allow for direct comparisons of community priorities between both 2018 and 2019 consultations.

The use of radio has proven particularly efficient and effective in Somalia, especially in hard to reach areas. {…} Interactive radio programmes and SMS messaging by African Voices Foundation additionally garnered feedback from 8,955 individuals across every region in Somalia. An extremely high proportion of respondents (87 per cent) indicated that they felt the consultations had made them feel more included in decision-making, and the same proportion further reported that they would like to see this process repeated in the future.

UN Humanitarian Needs Overview
Somalia 2019