Web Communication for UNICEF-led Clusters Aliocha Salagnac, Cluster Project Officer, Global Cluster Unit, last updated Sep. 2013 Contents Introduction: ..........................................................................................................................................1 What is web communication?: ..............................................................................................................2 What is a web communication strategy?: .............................................................................................3 Web communciation per cluster: summary: .........................................................................................4 Child Protection Working Group........................................................................................................5 Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility..................................................................................5 WASH .................................................................................................................................................5 Nutrition.............................................................................................................................................6 HumanitarianResponse.info and the role of OCHA................................................................................6 Analysis ..................................................................................................................................................7 Recommendations .............................................................................................................................. 11 Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................... 12 Introduction The Global Cluster Coordination Unit under the Office of Emergency Programmes in UNICEF initiated a review of the existing web-platforms of each UNICEF-led and co-led Cluster and Area of Responsibility1 at global level and their related web communication strategies in the future. An interview of each Global Cluster Coordination Unit took place in September 2012 in order to: map out where Clusters stood with their web presence at global level; what resources are currently available; what resources are needed in the future and; how each Cluster sees web communication as part of their respective work plans. The purpose of this exercise will therefore aim at having a clearer view on what the differences and similarities are between each Cluster in the area of web communication. 1 UNICEF-led and co-led Clusters and Areas of Responsibility will be referred to as the ‘Clusters’ in the interest of brevity for this report. These interviews objectives are to also have a better understanding and information on the feedback Clusters have received regarding their web presence at global level. Some of them have gone through some review processes, through different surveys and analytics and some others haven’t. It is essential to note here that all available feedback, reports, surveys and reviews have been additionally considered to complement this analysis in order to provide the best common route that Clusters can take in this regard in the future. What is Web Communication2? Web Communication can be defined here as all communications that take place in an electronic environment (minus simple and individual emails). It allows an exchange of information in different formats (text, audio, video, images) through specific tools. These tools can be divided through three main areas: -Social Media - That which we use to create an engaged community of users. Examples: blogs, wikis, social networks, communities of practice, webinars, bulletins and regular designed electronic messages, evites, etc. -Global Web Based Content - Web communication is more than just creating social media content. It is also about creating an environment that is a global reference tool for specific target audiences. -Analytics – These are crucial for web communication and not only to measure the traffic but to have a proper review system on how users behave on a web platform and eventually search, find and share the information. Email, web and social media analytics combine to create real actionable results. In order to do this, you need full understanding of the web, campaigns, departments and the broader mandate of the organisation. 2 Inspired from: Enhancing Interactivity in Web-based Instruction: A Review of the Literature. Liaw, Shu-sheng; Huang, Hsiu-mei, 2000 These tools altogether allow the creation of linkages and promote instant communication regardless of time or place. It also facilitates simultaneous communication between multiple users and becomes a powerful tool for marketing and broader communication. There are similarities between traditional communication or marketing and digital or web communication. For example an advertisement becomes a banner, partnerships are made in the form of exchange of links and feeds of information between websites and eventually search engine referencing becomes a proper public directory3. What is a web communication strategy? The main objective of a web communication strategy is to unite communities with specific activities and therefore promote learning amongst practitioners of this community. The entry point to develop a web communication strategy is consultation. The first step in the development process is to determine the audience and its needs, the objectives and the project scope. Eventually it should be considered as part of a broader communication or knowledge management strategy, which is usually the case for UNICEF-led Clusters. The second step will be to design the tools that are needed and enhance search engine returns and placements, analyse and report on the effectiveness of the web sites or tools by using analytics, and help create and implement proper web dissemination. In addition, it is essential to evaluate and adopt new technology in parallel, knowing that a website is always work in progress and communities of practice or information sharing platforms evolve all the time. Ultimately, it is also crucial to assist in evaluating websites and web tools for compliance with UNICEF or any other Inter-Agency or organisation guidelines. In order to contextualize this and give some background information, it is essential to mention what Clusters have been doing in the past in this area. The OneResponse Component OneResponse was a collaborative inter-agency website developed by OCHA in 2010 and designed to enhance humanitarian coordination within the cluster approach, and support the predictable exchange of information in emergencies at the country level. The website had been supporting Clusters and OCHA fulfil their information management responsibilities as per existing IASC guidance. In this regard, Global Clusters had developed their websites on OneResponse, but due to several site crashes, loss of data and an unsecure hosting environment, they decided to move their global websites to other platforms. Currently, none of the Clusters use OneResponse and all of them have been creating or are looking for better web hosting opportunities. However, it is important to note that a new global inter-agency web platform called HumanitarianResponse.info has been created by OCHA and replaces OneResponse. HumanitarianResponse.info has been developed, learning from the mistakes of OneResponse and offers 3 Reproduced and Emergent Genres of Communication on the World Wide Web, Kevin Crowston, Marie Williams, pages 201-215, 2003 a safe hosting environment. How this new platform can serve Global and Field level Clusters in the future will be discussed a bit further in this document. Web Communication per Cluster: Summary Many of the Clusters have been or are currently launching or migrating their global level websites. It is essential to present what initiatives Clusters have been taking (through partners or external support) and how they plan to resource their planned web communication activities in the future – those plans are currently individual to each Cluster and AoR. A further objective of this review is to plan the resourcing requirements for having potential, continuous support to manage global level websites in a harmonized way. It is intended to identify where Clusters could share initiatives and resources or benefit from other Clusters’ work to achieve their goals. Another key point is not only to look at how to harmonize current plans in this area, but also to identify what should be done differently and what the quick wins for Clusters would be in the area of web communication. The first step in this mapping exercise was to review the Clusters’ web presence at global level and how web communication is addressed in their work plans. The entire interview is presented in ANNEX 2 Web Communication Cluster Interviews; below is a summary by Cluster. Child Protection Working Group The Child Protection Working Group launched its global web-platform cpwg.net in November 2011. Since then, a mid-year review has taken place and will lead to a yearly review that was presented during the CPWG Annual Meeting on 1st November 2012. In parallel, a web communication strategy has been drafted to enhance communication and learning, to strengthen support to the field and is included in the Global CPWG 2013-2015 work plan. The draft strategy focusses on five main points: the review and strengthening of the tools and resources section for CP practitioners; the development of online databases for Training materials as well as a Starter Pack for CP Coordinators the translation of the platform in other languages (French, Arabic and Spanish); the creation of an offline, downloadable version of cpwg.net; the systematic integration of social media as a tool of web communication Resources available so far: In 2012, the CPWG team has had the support of approx. 50% of one person, an Information management (IM) and Web Assistant (80% from Sep 2011 – February 2012 during the website launch phase and 20% for maintenance). Resources needed: Following the draft version of its Web Communication Strategy (September 2012), the CPWG identified the need for a full-time IM/Knowledge Management (KM) Officer in order to fully implement the activities of the web communication strategy and other KM components in 2013 and beyond. Additionally a dedicated knowledge management task team should be gathered to oversee the implementation of the web communication strategy. Gender-Based Violence Area of Responsibility The Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Area of Responsibility (AoR) has recently launched its own web platform at gbvaor.net. Common initiatives and sharing of resources with the CPWG have allowed the GBV AOR to create a sister-site (similar structure and design than cpwg.net) and therefore develop this platform at reduced costs. Due to lack of resources, no web communication strategy has been drafted yet beyond the launch of the new website. Resources available so far: Over the past year, the GBV AoR has had the support of approx. 20% of an IM and Web assistant; this has been increased to 50% to support and develop the new platform. Resources needed: The GBV AoR will need support for the maintenance and updating of its website, but also for promoting and globally managing the future web-platform. Currently, the GBV AoR has very limited support in the review process of their website. Education The Global Education Cluster website has also just launched its new website at: education.humanitarianresponse.info. The website was launched at the end of 2012 and a 3-month review process took place to review the content, structure and layout of the platform. The Education Cluster is currently addressing the changes to its global platform in collaboration with OCHA and the HumanitarianResponse team. There is currently no proper web communication strategy apart from maintaining and reviewing the website as well as using web communication tools (MailChimp and Facebook) to send out regular messages and updates. However there is a plan to integrate the review of the global website into a broader web communication strategy in the near future. Resources available so far: A support person (Lisa Sabot Schmidt) from Save the Children is currently the focal point for the global level website (maintenance and updates) and a Knowledge Management Adviser (Lauren Burns) is also working on the website and looking at broader KM initiatives (i.e: Communities of Practice). Resources needed: The Education Cluster has no required resources for maintenance neither for any broader KM activities. However, sporadic web development time will be needed to address some of the major changes identified in the review of the platform. WASH The Global Wash Cluster website (washcluster.info) was launched in May 2012. A Knowledge Management and Learning (KML) strategy has been drafted. RedR and ACF will be responsible for drafting a proposal and implementing it during 2013. Within that strategy, there is a clear component to review the global website and develop further tools and platforms to strengthen information sharing between Wash Cluster partners. Resources available so far: the Wash Cluster has had no dedicated resources to manage their website. The maintenance has been assigned mostly to Rapid Response Team (RRT) members when they were not deployed. Resources needed: The Wash Cluster is planning to recruit a knowledge management advisor through the KML strategy. However, in the meantime and pending implementation of this strategy, the WASH Cluster would need 20% of a support person’s time to revamp, maintain the global level website and develop a web and communication strategy for the Global WASH Cluster (this is an approximation from the previous months’ maintenance operated by RRT WASH members who have been updating the website.). Nutrition The Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC) website has been hosted under OneResponse until now, but a new website has been launched in November 2012 under the UNICEF website at www.unicef.org/nutritioncluster. However the GNC would like to create an independent website since the UNICEF one will not be able to provide a few essential features, e.g. password protected areas, dynamic calendars, maps, a discussion forum and perhaps the possibility for Clusters in the field to create their sites out of a global template generated from the global GNC website. The GNC does not have a web communication strategy and this was recognised by the GNC team as a gap. However, a component on the new website and related developments is mentioned in the GNC workplan. Resources available so far: during the past year, the GNC has been updating the website on OneResponse through the Deputy Coordinator of the Cluster. Since then, a consultant has been hired to implement the new website hosted by UNICEF. Her contract has now ended and a consultant has been maintaining the website since December 2012. Resources needed: the GNC will need someone to maintain the website in 2013. If resources are available, the GNC would also like to migrate their website to an independent platform in the future. Target Audiences The 5 Unicef-led Clusters have a set of defined target audiences for their global level websites. All primary target audiences across Clusters include: 1) practitioners in the field, national coordination units including cluster coordinators and information managers in the field. Secondary target audiences are also usually the same across Clusters. They include: 2) broader Cluster members, practitoners in the sector and eventually; 3) donors, academics and broader humanitarian workers. HumanitarianResponse.info and the role of OCHA Web communication amongst Clusters needs to be explored against the background of web communication and information management activities at the inter-agency level that are being carried out by the Organization for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The platform is mainly focused on supporting countries and national clusters to create their own websites, but also has a template to accommodate global level websites. It has now replaced OneResponse. The new HumanitarianResponse.info platform offers a dynamic content management system along with a secured hosting environment (server) called Blackmesh. This “managed hosting solutions” company offers high-level performance and flexibility in hosting websites, but it is also recognised as one of the leading companies in providing security and stability for a number of famous organisations and companies (www.blackmesh.com). This makes HumanitarianResponse.info technically very different from the previous inter-agency platform OneResponse. It uses a content management system called DRUPAL, which is used by the widest community of web-developers and can provide the following: a framework: a reusable set of software libraries that speed up development. This allows full flexibility for software developers who can pick up someone’s work and adapt it to their context without doing the work from scratch. an api (application programming interface): specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other. This is the cement of the platform: it systematically allows developers to make linkages with their software developments and others that have already been created. Rather than developing new tools independently, it systematically tries to build as many linkages as possible with existing software developments. a huge community: people providing bug fixes, documentation, tests, themes, modules etc... open source: anyone can look at the code, modify and use it freely. This allows sane competitivity in the area, meaning that nobody has full ownership of a development or tool and that anybody can improve it or challenge it. DRUPAL is used by thousands of websites, from small non-profits to “the economist” through to the whitehouse.gov. With its 15,000+ modules, DRUPAL offers complete flexibility for web design and practically seamless compatibility with other systems. HumanitarianResponse.info also has an open-source environment for developers and web managers called “Open Atrium”. This is a highly stimulating inter-agency developer environment to share resources, tools and information and provide potential for collaboration and harmonisation. Practically speaking, HumanitarianResponse.info is less ambitious than OneResponse. It presents a set of web templates that are managed and maintained by Clusters and not OCHA. Most of the features identified by Clusters for their global level websites should be available on hr.info, however, there is a possibility to customize any of them provided that the Clusters and not OCHA are able to resource it. HumanitarianResponse.info has currently rolled out 16 field level websit in addition to the presence of the Global Education Cluster website. This said it is highly recommended to consider this platform as a potential centralized tool for Clusters at global and field level to share information under the same platform and content management system. Analysis Web Communication Strategies Given the complexity of the situation and the fact that Clusters are all at different stages in the area of Web Communication, it is highly recommended for the GCCU to lead on this initiative and sit with Clusters in order to draft clear web communication strategies for the ones who need it or complement existing broader initiatives for specific Clusters. It is important to raise awareness and inform Clusters of ongoing developments in this area and to identify where and how Clusters can collaborate, not only to share resources and technical developments to make a cost-effective impact, but also to tackle crosscutting issues and overlapping areas of knowledge management across Clusters. The main objective would therefore be to harmonize initiatives in order to promote learning amongst Clusters practitioners. Creating Global Level Websites Global Clusters should be provided with a clear range of options to create/revamp/migrate their global websites under guidance of the GCCU. Based on existing web-platforms and content management systems used by Clusters at global level, here are the three main suggested options in order of priority. However, please note that both A and B options have a lot in common and that a proper consultation process and meeting are recommended to make this decision. The Inter-Cluster Unit can advise Clusters in this process: A. Create an independent and partly customized dynamic website following the initiative and general layout of the CPWG (cpwg.net), the GBV AoR (gbvaor.net) and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Network websites (mhpss.net). The previous work done by those three entities allowed significant cost effective impact in the development of the two global reference websites (cpwg.net and gbvaor.net). The existing structures and available templates have been shaped according to the needs of Global Clusters and AoRs such as GBV and CPWG. This includes ready-to-use taxonomy systems and a set of page templates reflecting the organizational structure and needs of those Clusters/AoRs. Unlike Humanitarianresponse, the core structure of those templates has been designed for Global Reference Websites and not country-level operational websites as on hr.info. There is therefore an opportunity to share web and design resources and benefit from those ready-to-use templates. Another component is the free use of style sheets and the customization of the layout (this is restricted on hr.info) which means that there are almost no boundaries in using any layout possible and therefore this complies with the Cluster’s style guide or existing visual identity. A letter of understanding has been the initial point of collaboration between the MHPSS and the CPWG; however the GBV AoR will be added to this agreement and so can any other Cluster who wishes to join in order to share initiatives and new developments. It was recognised that according to the needs of Clusters for their global platform (see ANNEX 2 - Web Communication Cluster Interviews), the set of templates available and the content management system would fully meet the requirements. Both templates and CMS are user-friendly and easy to maintain (WordPress, blog-type content management system) as there are no professional skills required to maintain the websites–In addition, proper communication and automatic feeds to hr.info are easily made available. Web core development costs= btw 4’000 and 8’000USD B. Create a global level website under humanitarianresponse.info in collaboration with OCHA. The advantage is that it is free of charge and one can directly benefit from any tools and developments created by OCHA and developers sharing resources in the Open Atrium on HumanitarianResponse.info. The templates and design for global level websites are set and cannot be customized; therefore, additional features such as a customized repository of resources, password protected pages, Cluster discussion forums or any specific layout is not provided by OCHA. Additional costs should be considered to customize layout and specific features that are not initially provided by HumanitarianResponse.info. The content management system (Drupal) for global websites requires advanced IT knowledge and eventually some training for maintenance. OCHA will not provide any support in the maintenance of this website. For the time being, the global Education Cluster website has been launched under hr.info and 16 Country websites (with a page for each country Clusters) have been created and are hosted under hr.info. There is therefore a clear opportunity to link in global and field level websites and harmonize the flow of information under the same system and inter-agency platform. C. Create a free hosting environment website such as a Google site. D. Create a web page hosted by UNICEF (like the nutrition Cluster). E. Develop a stand-alone Global Cluster website. Global level websites vs. Field-level operational websites on hr.info It is advantageous not to duplicate efforts when tackling issues related to web communication for Clusters at global level but also when considering the support and guidance that could be provided to the field. In this regard, there are different potential strategies including the HumanitarianResponse.info component across Clusters. Most of the Clusters think it is essential to have a page on their global website that would show where Clusters or coordination bodies are active with a reference to the corresponding country websites. This could be the entry point and the interface that links global level cluster websites with country operational websites and provides modules, data and geographical information that can be shared across those platforms. Before going any further, it is essential to understand the difference and potential linkages between a global Cluster website and a field-level operational website. Please refer to the table below that draws from the experience of each Cluster to have a clearer picture on the scope and elements of those two platforms: Global level cluster website: main features Country level operational cluster website: main features A homepage presenting the Global Cluster, its A Homepage with featured key resources, reports, mandate, scope of work, workplan, etc… meeting information, maps, key contacts and links to the other Country Clusters. A set of endorsed resources, usually guidance and A resources section with detailed access to policies, training materials and resources ordered reports, evaluations, assessments, dashboards by thematic issues. and training materials. A page presenting events and trainings A page dedicated to financing, with links to the CAP, the CERF, etc.. and also a link to the Financial Tracking System. A page for vacancies in the broader sector A page with links to all the other Cluster websites in country A space for advice and support, forums or A page for IM tools and systems (4W’s, COD/FOD, commmunities of practice Humanitarian Profile and maps). Specific project customizable pages A space dedicated for media resources, news, photos and videos or press releases. A repository of contacts within the global Cluster A repository of detailed contacts in country Due to the lack of resources, it seems unlikely that Global Clusters and the two Protection Cluster Areas of Responsibility (CPWG and GBV) will be able to provide the option for countries to develop and maintain their operational pages under their global websites. The idea would rather be to provide guidance and advice for countries on the various options they have if they wish to create a country operational website. The most suitable option would be HumanitarianResponse.info given the fact that OCHA is currently leading in this process and should be developing 16+ country level websites in 2013. On an opposite note, WASH and Nutrition have expressed their interest in providing that option to field Clusters if they wanted to create a page under the Global Cluster website. Other key points to take into account are the tools and geographical information produced by HumanitarianResponse.info. Ideally Global Clusters will benefit from all the data created by Clusters in the field if they create or link their websites under HumanitarianResponse.info. Global contact databases and other tools will be automatically updated and information will be centralized more broadly. Some tools and maps have been and will be developed by OCHA in this regard and Clusters will be able to benefit from it at no costs (this is expected to be developed and provided to Cluster in MarchApril 2013). As a global recommendation, it would be essential to provide Clusters in the field with a range of technical options (one-pager) when they want to create a website and to let them know that the most relevant and cheapest option would be HumanitarianResponse.info. The other recommendation would be that the GCCU Unit should keep a close collaboration with OCHA in any future developments on HR.info and have full access to the Open Atrium (see above chapter on HumanitarianResponse.info) to strengthen collaboration and stimulate innovative initiatives for UNICEF-led Clusters. Staffing and Maintenance Referring to the interviews of Cluster coordinators (ANNEX 2: Web Communication Cluster Interviews), the situation of staffing for web communication is complex. Some Clusters will recruit staff or consultants to support web communication (WASH and Education) but also their broader knowledge management mandate, some others have a web communication strategy including request for staff (CPWG), but it has currently not been vetted or funded yet. The other Clusters (Nutrition and GBV) that do not have a strategy at all will still require some support in house. In ANNEX 3 – Global Clusters Web Presence and Staffing Needs, you will find a quick overview of how Clusters are willing to staff web communication or what support they will/might need. The document provides a quick overview on where Clusters stand with the issue of staffing in the area of web communication. As a general remark, it was noted that during the past years, the issue of maintenance of websites has never been fully tackled. In fact, most Clusters did not have the sufficient resources to have somebody dedicated to maintenance, uploading documents and editing the content. Most Clusters have had interns, volunteers or sporadic support from other members within their team. The result of this is that all of them have experienced gaps in their website management due to lack of continuous maintenance support. One recommendation would be for Clusters to have a clear plan on how to resource this in the future and most of all on how to share these resources amongst Clusters. Based on the common content and purpose of global Cluster websites and also in consultation with colleagues from all Clusters, an estimation of half a day to one day per week is needed to fully maintain a global “reference” website. The recommendation would therefore be to have dedicated and ongoing staff support for web maintenance for all Clusters. Another solution would be to make a continuous plan to have interns or volunteers for core technical maintenance. However this might be an issue depending on the scope of the tasks as broader web management can be considered as core permanent staff functions rather than short-term targeted tasks for volunteers or interns (see UNICEF HR Guidelines). Recommendations The GCCU should support Clusters in drafting their web communication strategies OR in including web communication within their broader knowledge management/communication strategies. Global Clusters should be provided with a clear range of options to create/revamp/migrate and review their global websites under guidance of the GCCU and work towards harmonisation of approaches where appropriate. The guidance of the GCCU will assist in assessing Clusters needs for their global websites and identify the adequate solutions, from full web-development projects to the collaboration with existing consultants or dedicated staff in this area. An inter-cluster forum and content management system should be developed in order to harmonize Knowledge Management practices and more particularly how Global Clusters structure and display their knowledge on their various platforms. Often, consultations (see ANNEXES) have shown that there is no systematic way to tackle cross-cutting issues when managing the knowledge of each Global Cluster. Under supervision of all Global Clusters, proper guidance should be sent to field-level Clusters on the various options available for them to create operational websites. This should be done in close collaboration with OCHA, Cluster partners and current initiatives like humanitarianresponse.info. In parallel, a framework for the support and short trainings to set up, manage and maintain operational sites on hr.info should be defined by the GCCU for fieldlevel coordination bodies if needed. Clusters should address the issue of resourcing maintenance of their global websites in order to ensure continuity. The GCCU can support in assessing and quantifying the resources needed across Clusters. An estimate of 100% of a person’s time would be needed to maintain all UNICEF-led Clusters global websites. The GCCU should continuously and proactively inform and brief Clusters on innovations in the area of Knowledge Management & Web Communication in Humanitarian Action. In this regard, there should not only be continuous consultation with Cluster partners, OCHA and UNICEF in the area of web communication, but there is also a need to further look for innovative thinking and technical initiatives that could benefit UNICEF-led Clusters. A good example for this is getting involved in open-source forums or platforms and reach out to communities of freelance developers, academics and other professionals in the area of Web Communication. Until now, there has not been any systematic approach to reach out for innovations in this area for Clusters. Conclusion The minimum components of a web communication strategy that are common to all Clusters following the interviews would not only include the management and maintenance of the global Cluster website, but also include clear objectives and measures on: how to reach out to the target audience(s). how to use analytics and surveys to review and monitor the global level platform and other web tools (social media, CoPs, e-learning platforms, etc…). how to disseminate bulletins and news from the Cluster at global level. how to use innovative and web-based tools for capacity-building initiatives, webinars and training video modules. what is available or should be done to make a strong visual impact on the outside world. how the Cluster can address cross-cutting issues amongst Cluster in the area of web communication. In other words, how can Clusters be more systematic in exchanging information and resources between platforms? Global Clusters are therefore strongly encouraged to develop a web communication strategy under guidance of the GCCU to ensure constant communication between Clusters in this area in order to make an effective use in sharing resources, information and initiatives. The on-going collaboration with OCHA is another key piece of work in ensuring that field level Clusters are properly supported and represented through operational emergency websites if needed. Proper guidance should be disseminated under guidance of the GCCU to field-level Clusters to support them in the area of web communication. The GCCU unit should then also support Clusters in the creation of a new knowledge management platform that can support the deployment of global Cluster websites and be the technical foundation and content management system to strengthen inter-cluster web communication. Depending on the needs, the GCCU unit should fully manage the projects or collaborate with the support already in place under supervision of each Cluster Coordinators. Clear messages should therefore be provided and opportunities shared in the area of web communication across Clusters. Instead of outsourcing webrelated projects and in order to have a cost-effective impact, it is essential that initiatives related to producing effective web communication tools and other media are brought together and addressed from all angles through the GCCU unit.