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Decolonizing Information Access for Crisis Affected Communities - Who holds the microphone?

Presentation Description

Information is power. Access to information allows a community to ask questions, make decisions and contribute fully to the design, implementation and assessment of humanitarian services. As the humanitarian system looks to decolonize, we consider how information, communication and accountability contribute to this aim.  
 Over 35 years, Internews has worked in 100 countries to improve access to quality information. This is an important element of decolonization of the humanitarian ecosystem and one that in continues to be a challenge for the industry. In this session we will bring together a panel of our local partners and industry leaders to discuss the following challenges, and to propose steps to truly decolonize information access.  
In the humanitarian system, traditionally information is held tightly and shared cautiously: 
                                                         - When rumours and misinformation contribute to confusion within a community, humanitarian experts decide what information the community should have, often with little reference to the beliefs that may be a key driver behind the misinformation. 
                                                       - Rather than overcoming considerable informational power imbalances, the typical approach to evidence-building, reporting and learning is for analysis and meaning-making to be done according to limited and non-contextualised values. Reports are produced in languages inaccessible to community members and organisations typically hold results tightly and do not prioritise feedback loops with communities and local partners.  
                                                     - Media is held at arm’s length, with journalists given little opportunity to genuinely engage with the humanitarian response. Journalists are a key part of communities and are well placed to contribute to accountability mechanisms if humanitarian actors engage with them in this way. 

Join us along with representatives from Signpost (Global), IDEALS (Philippines) and Internews to explore these challenges and discuss how information access could be at the heart of an equitable and accessible humanitarian system.  

This session is moderated by Irene Scott

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