NHN Guidelines for Humanitarian Advocacy during Humanitarian Crisis

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    To streamline NHN response to emergencies in Pakistan following guidelines are prepared for immediate or first line of steps. These are suggested ‘guidelines’ to take initial steps and are not comprehensive in any aspect; also each emergency situation may require specific steps.
    For the initial steps to be effective, CEC may consider having a 5 member Emergency Response Leadership Committee (ERLC). Three members from the CEC (experienced in emergency decision making) and 2 members from the provincial or state Executive Committee (who represent in the CEC), where emergency occurred. In nomination of the committee, women representation must be ensured (at least 2 members). For permanent CEC members of the committee, a replacement must also be nominated so that a replacement is available in case the nominated CEC member is out of contact.
  • National secretariat from its available information sources including: Media, OCHA, PHF etc. will issue ‘Alert’ based on available information (which does not need to be full or comprehensive) about the emergency situation. The Alert should be brief not more than 2 pages, telling what, where, when the emergency happened, nature of emergency, what is brief information update. Better to mention sources to track back the information. Suggested template for the Alert is given at the bottom of this document.
  • If the emergency happened during the official working hours Alert need to be issued same day. If the emergency is out of office hours, Alert should be issued to all members of CEC on the next day, irrespective of weekend or other holiday. Every effort shall be made to check/ascertain the available information with relevant provincial / state / regional chair of NHN.
  • The Alert shall mention a reasonable time (preferably within 48 hours of issue of the Alert) for a conference call between the 5 members of ERLC. The conference call shall be initiated by the National Secretariat. In the conference call, the relevant provincial / state chapter and National Secretariat will update all about the emergency situation. For this the provincial coordinator may get information from the NHN members from the affected district(s) or from other field sources.
  • In the call, as per the NHN mandate, discussion shall take place on what are the major issues with regard to people affected with the emergency and response. The focus shall be on issues with regard to humanitarian principles, people’s rights to relief, people’s participation, handling people with dignity etc. Based on the initial information, the ERLC shall develop list of advocacy issues to further get information with specified timelines. A follow up conference call of the ERLC shall also be agreed to report on the issues identified. Sample issues are given below:
    • Provincial and District government response preparedness and actual response after the emergency,
    • Has relief work started (by Government or other agencies) and satisfactory?
    • Are there any restrictions on humanitarian aid agencies to access the area?
    • Is there any political or other favoritism in emergency response?
    • Can affected people access relief services?
    • Is there any coordination mechanism in place for relief work to avoid duplication and make sure that relief services reach to all? Are civil society organizations (and NHN members) coordinating on response effort?
    • What are the various challenges faced by the civil society humanitarian actors?
    • Are women, girls, boys, elderly and handicapped people taken care of?
  • Provincial and national secretariats with help from relevant NHN district and provincial members, from government and other sources shall find information on the identified advocacy issues within the mentioned time. On the follow up calls, the ERLC shall be informed about the situation on ground and any new issues which have come up since last call. The ERMT shall define, develop and take positions or directions and will require national and provincial secretariats to develop advocacy initiatives/ activities to address the issues at relevant levels.
  • ERLC shall also decide representation at provincial and national levels (HCT, PHF, NDMA, PDMA etc.) in various coordination meetings with aim to present NHN positions on various issues identified by NHN.
  • After the second call, ERLC shall decide does it like to continue the conference call, if yes, how often it likes to have calls.
  • Depending upon the nature of emergency the ERLC shall decide how often it would have follow up calls with the national and provincial secretariats on progress, updates and knowing new issues or challenges on the ground.
  • National Secretariat shall issue periodic progress updates on the identified issues. Frequency of the update as advised by ERLC depending on the nature and scale of emergency. The progress update shall include efforts of national and provincial secretariat. Responsibility of issuing updates shall be with national secretariat for which relevant provincial chapter shall provide timely input about the provincial progress. The frequency of progress update may change keeping in view the length of the emergency situation and efforts by NHN. The progress update shall be sent to all NHN members via e-mail. And updates will also be posted on NHN website.
  • Updates on the emergency situation, response efforts and situation of affected populations may also be issued to media. Media communication preferably shall be led by the provincial chapters to provide field up to date information. If National Secretariat is approached by media, queries may be directed to provincial secretariats. In case the view is sought from the national secretariat all efforts must be taken to make sure that situation updates are taken from the relevant provincial chapter(s).
  • In case the emergency situation is affecting more than one province, CEC may decide to expand ERLC membership above 5 members by inviting 2 members from each province.
  • Upon completion of activities as indicated in the planning process, NHN secretariat with help from the provincial secretariat shall develop a brief final report and share with all NHN members via e mail and through NHN website. The report must mention lessons learned for future.

The ERLC may add additional steps necessary to handle any specific emergency situation. This document may be revised at any time based on learning and requirements.

NHN Emergency Alert Format

1. What happened?
2. Where (District, UCs etc.)?
3. When (time, day and date)?
4. Estimate of people affected, injured and dead.
5. Initial Government Response
6. Major coordinating agency (Govt or other)
7. What is state of affected people (briefly describe)
8. Initial Government Response
9. Initial Actions by NHN members
10. Initial response by other agencies
11. Immediate issues
12. Security situation in the affected areas
13. Any other useful information