International Committee of the Red Cross

Bringing people’s voice at the centre: ICRC signs two MoUs with Fondation Hirondelle and Internews

News release 05 September 2018

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the media development organizations Fondation Hirondelle and Internews, respectively, to foster future collaborations and meet the information and communication needs of people affected by conflict and violence.

Accurate, relevant information is fundamental to saving lives in times of conflict.

These two MoUs – signed with Fondation Hirondelle in December 2017 and Internews in August 2018 – aim at institutionalizing ongoing partnerships to facilitate the design and functioning of future projects between the organizations. The agreements outline a number of areas of collaboration, in particular community engagement and accountability. By engaging communities about aid services and basic rights and entitlements, the ICRC seeks to empower people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence to take an active role in their own preparedness, relief and recovery. Fondation Hirondelle and Internews share in this effort by ensuring access to trusted, quality information that allows people to actively participate in their social and civic life.

Together, the ICRC, Fondation Hirondelle and Internews have agreed to collaborate to strengthen and ensure broader and more inclusive partnerships and collaboration both at global and local levels.

Jennifer Hauseman, ICRC director of communication, said:
"Today's humanitarian challenges are immense and complex, and to navigate them effectively we need continual and varied connections to the people at the heart of our work. These partnerships are a strong and logical step in this direction, with the ever-growing objective to empower people when it comes to the humanitarian decisions that affect them. Having worked with Fondation Hirondelle and Internews in the past, we know that they share this objective and are uniquely suited to bring it forth. We are glad to develop these partnerships into a long-term collaboration to further benefit the people the ICRC serves."

Caroline Vuillemin, general director of Fondation Hirondelle, said:
"All human beings have the right to access the information they need to make decisions about their lives. In times of crisis, information is key to making humanitarian services more effective and more relevant. A parent with a sick child needs to know which hospital is functioning, and reporting on the problems of parents and children allow humanitarians to adapt their programs accordingly. Our media work is thus complementary to the work of the ICRC and we at Fondation Hirondelle are committed to working together to serve the populations who most need it. This partnership is built on shared values of independence and impartiality and the common acknowledgement that we are stronger together."

Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Internews senior director for Humanitarian Programs, said:
"Communication with communities is a legal and moral obligation. The right to information and expression is well-established and enshrined in international human rights law. By upholding the right to information, humanitarian actors ensure that people are treated with dignity and respect, that they know their options, and that they can make informed decisions. Internews has been working in this field for the past 30 years and we see this partnership as the natural outcome of our long-standing collaboration with ICRC. We are looking forward to creating more robust and sustainable synergies that will bring both organizations closer to their beneficiaries."

About the partner organisations

The ICRC helps people around the world affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence, doing everything possible to protect their dignity and relieve their suffering, often together with its Red Cross and Red Crescent partners. The ICRC also seeks to prevent hardship by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

Fondation Hirondelle is a Swiss non-profit organization founded in 1995 that provides information to populations faced with crisis, empowering them in their daily lives and as citizens. Fondation Hirondelle has over 23 years of experience creating or supporting independent media in conflict, post-conflict or humanitarian crisis contexts.

Internews works to ensure access to trusted, quality information that empowers people to have a voice in their future. For close to 35 years and in more than 100 countries, Internews has worked with local partners to build hundreds of sustainable organizations, strengthened the capacity of thousands of media professionals working in emergency contexts, and reached millions of people with quality, local information to allow them to protect themselves and their families, and to hold humanitarian organizations accountable.