Humanitarian Information Service (HIS)

When South Sudan shifted from a developing and fledgling nation to a country in the midst of a widespread humanitarian crisis, so did Internews' strategy for bringing critical news and information to communities. As insecurity forced some stations off air, Internews developed a number of new Humanitarian Information Service (HIS) projects around the nation to continue bringing life-saving, trustworthy information to the millions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing conflict.

HIS interventions range from emergency “Radio-in-a-Box” kits, to hyper-local projects such as Boda Boda Talk Talk, an audio information program, which is played for community audiences via a system of mobile speakers.

"Boda Boda Talk Talk has become the main source of our communication. We send our greetings to friends, family, and relatives through BBTT. The program gives us general awareness of what would take place in next few days like new distribution of food, shelter, resumption of classes, and preventing diseases." – BBTT Listener at UN House PoC 2 in Juba

These projects currently operate in UN Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites in Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu, providing vital information in areas where more conventional media may not be able to reach. Communities are able to access the information they need, and at the same time give invaluable feedback to humanitarian organizations, making them more accountable to the people they serve.

“I remember the time we first came here there was no communication between the community and the NGOs [non-governmental organizations], but today we have an easy way of communicating.” – BBTT Listener at UN House PoC 2 in Juba

In order to measure the impact of this groundbreaking, yet low-tech innovation in humanitarian communications, Internews has been conducting multiple assessments at each site. Surveys are typically conducted prior to or at the beginning of an HIS launch and are followed up a few months later to gauge the effectiveness of messaging. In particular, these waves of quantitative surveying among the target population assess to what extent the HIS is reaching the most possible listeners, with the most critical and relevant information, through the most effective and trustworthy means. Surveys pay special attention to languages, access to media, interactions with aid providers or community leaders, and trusted sources of decision-making information.

The 20-minute programs broadcast from the backs of quad bikes and the emergency radio stations have proven to be relevant, impactful, trustworthy, and adaptable for the South Sudanese people. Operated and produced by members of the affected community, much of the success of the program comes from its role to not only broadcast life-saving information, but also function as a communication platform that allows voices on the ground to be heard by the rest of the community.


Research & Publications