Skip to content

UNICEF Communication for Humanitarian Action (CHAT)

Emergency communication is employed during periods of acute stress, such as during bushfires or cyclones, and is designed to save and protect lives. Emergency communication informs affected populations of risks, appropriate ways to mitigate risk and any necessary changes to behavior before, during and after emergencies, for example, safe water and sanitation practice after flooding. In response to the need to develop guidance that could be used to rapidly generate emergency communication strategies UNICEF teamed with the University of Adelaide to develop and informative, yet accessible, resource that offered a number of practical emergency communication strategy development steps to follow.

The Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit (CHAT) Project was a collaborative effort among a number of partner organizations, with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) leading the process. Constructive contributions were provided by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities Network (CDAC), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Health Organization (WHO), High Frequency Coordination Conference (HFCC), and subject matter specialists (SMS) from UNICEF Offices in India and Pacific Islands. The publications were developed and written by A/Prof. Andrew Skuse of the University of Adelaide’s Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit (ACCRU). The work included: (i) a desk review of the evidence and reports of communication for development strategies and available tools for use in emergencies; (ii) a number of meetings of the collaborating partners in New York to define the scope of the toolkit; (iii) field-testing and validation of the toolkit through a consultative process in Fiji.


Output 1 - A desk review of existing emergency communication literature, with a focus on identifying material that promotes the use of practical tools for emergency workers.

Communication for Development and Emergencies: A Review of Existing Approaches and Tools

Output 2 - The Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit (CHAT) is a comprehensive resource for emergency workers and C4D practitioners charged with rapidly developing communication responses to a wide range of emergencies.

Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit (CHAT) - English Language Final Version (2015)

Output 3 - The Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit (CHAT) Spanish Language Version.

Communication for Humanitarian Action Toolkit (CHAT) - Spanish Language Final Version (2015)

Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit



T: +61 8 83134285
M: +61 409 699305