IOM, Partners Launch Burundi Community Hotline

Burundi -  A national hotline for Burundians has been launched in response to a growing need for timely and accurate information for affected communities. The hotline is a joint initiative of IOM, the Burundi Red Cross, World Vision and UNOCHA and is designed to enhance two-way communication between communities in Burundi and aid agencies.

The hotline will allow affected communities to receive information about humanitarian aid, request assistance, and provide feedback on the humanitarian agencies’ services and outreach activities.

"The hotline, supported by an inter-agency  online platform, the Community Response Map, enables multiple humanitarian actors to collaborate effectively in community engagement. This is progress," said Pete Manfield, Head of UNOCHA’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa.

An online data visualization platform, Community Response Map, will allow call centre operators to map community feedback and inform the humanitarian community on the needs and gaps recorded through the hotline by geographic region, sector and gender.

The Community Response Map is a multi-use tool that provides real-time updates, which can also be viewed remotely. It is designed to track two-way communications and ensure follow-up and referrals take place in a timely fashion.

“The need for timely, accurate information in Burundi is critical,” said IOM Burundi Chief of Mission Kristina Mejo. “All too easily, misinformation and rumours can spread. This hotline will provide a reliable information source that is confidential to help people make informed decisions during times of uncertainty.”

Since April 2015, Burundi has seen the outflow and displacement of over 200,000 Burundians to neighboring countries, as well as internal displacement.  Scant information is available to populations on the move, and affected communities and their voices are not reaching most of the humanitarian community.

A Multi-Agency Rapid Assessment conducted in May 2015 identified Communications with Communities (CwC) as a priority need for IDPs and affected communities. Many displaced people are living in hard-to-reach areas and are in need of assistance and information about available services.

“The call centre serves as a quick and easy way for people in Burundi to get critical, lifesaving information during uncertain times. The hotline has been a truly collaborative effort not only by the agencies that established it, but also with the many NGOs and UN agencies who are regularly supplying and updating the information we provide to callers,” said hotline supervisor Jean Marie Vianney.

The Burundi hotline is being piloted in Bujumbura and can be accessed via phone anywhere in Burundi on: +257. 2227 4010 or on http://burundi.communityresponsemap.org. It is currently open from 6:30 am – 6:30 pm Monday to Friday, but plans are in place to extend the working hours and add additional operators as needed.

IOM’s Community Response Map is designed to be a common service platform for agencies to pool and leverage their communications efforts when working with affected communities. The platform has been used in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, in Sri Lanka to assist stranded migrants, in support of an Iraq call centre and in Niger to support informed migration decision-making.

For further information please contact Kristina Mejo at IOM Burundi, Tel. +257 7125 6332, Email: kmejo@iom.int or Amy Rhoades at IOM HQ, Tel: + +41 22 717 9948, Email: arhoades@iom.int