The Sittwe Camp Profiling Report was published in August 2017, and its findings were discussed in a series of analysis workshops with clusters, government bodies and other stakeholders. Each cluster developed concrete recommendations and ideas for future programmes based on the report’s findings.
Shortly after publication of the report, widespread violence against Muslim populations in Rakhine State broke out, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee across the border into Bangladesh. This had a significant impact on the planned use of the profiling results, however much of the information gathered continued to be useful to the humanitarian response in Bangladesh. This included data on population and household characteristics, on former camp structures as well as, data for return planning purposes.
The March 2017 community workshop in particular proved to be highly valuable. It showed that those affected by displacement had significant interest in understanding the profiling exercise and discussing how it could be used to improve their situation. Due to low literacy levels in the camps around Sittwe, it also led to the idea of producing a film on the findings for further dissemination amongst affected populations.
The outcome, a 15-minute video produced by and for IDPs and their hosts, provided them for the first time with comprehensive data on their own situation with the aim of empowering them to act on the evidence base. “This is something DRC has never done before in the camps, and not something I have seen other organisations do either”, said Sophie Everest, the CCCM coordinator in Rakhine and the focal point of the process.
Using video to engage with communities
The video was produced during a joint workshop in which staff from camps managed by DRC, NRC and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) collaborated to create the storylines for each section of the film, which features roleplays and highlights key messages in an engaging and entertaining way.
Outreach workers organised screenings in the camps that were over-attended, so they also uploaded the film on their mobile phones and took it door to door. Some teashop owners also showed interest in playing the video on their TVs. Each screening was followed by a quiz to understand what community members had gleaned from the film and inform future communication initiatives. A Q&A session provided a space for open questions and reactions. The full profiling report was also translated into local languages, and various community feedback activities were planned.
JIPS plans to test and adjust the community participation methodology used in Rakhine in future profiling exercises in other situations. Other lessons learned include:
- The importance of establishing a strong coordination structure from the outset to create linkages with the government and other partners, and to ensure shared ownership of the process. This is particularly important in politically sensitive situations.
- Rigorous and neutral analysis of the data through collaborative workshops with all clusters and sectors helped to establish common ground and secure credibility across a broad range of stakeholders with differing readings of the situation.
- Flexibility in using the data helped to keep the findings relevant and useful, even after a dramatic change in the displacement situation.