What to share: when and how

When an emergency hits, there will be precious little time to think or plan. This section provides detail on the different aspects of handling communications in an emergency; this is intended to be read before the emergency hits. In the midst of an emergency, our Number One resource will be the Critical first steps in emergency media management checklist. This summarizes the critical first steps in emergency media management. The following sections provide additional detail on each of those steps.

There are 3 main email lists for the sharing of humanitarian communications materials. Some are much bigger than others, so it is important to think carefully about who needs what information when choosing which list to use and also making sure to group as much content together as possible before sharing, to limit the number of different emails CARE staff receive.

CI – Emergency Information – your main list in an emergency

  • For ALL signed off communications materials including photos/video
  • N.B. contains programme staff (i.e. water, sanitation & hygiene experts) so try not to overburden and group content into as few emails as possible!
  • Also contains CI-Media and CI-COMWG mailing lists so no need to cross post

CI – COMWG – all communications/fundraising staff

  • Meant more as a way of sharing, updating and asking questions
  • Can send material you think would ONLY be of interest to comms/fundraising colleagues. i.e. a press release on local issues further into a protracted emergency

CI – Media – media focal points

  • Restricted list: only a small handful of key media focal points from each office. Used for embargoed press releases/op-eds, heads up on sensitive issues/potential spokesperson opportunities and media pitches


It is critical to obtain proper sign off before sharing any media or communications materials with the CARE membership.

Sign-off protocol:


  • Country Director (CD) or Officer in Charge

N.B. CD may choose to delegate to another team member (i.e. emergency team leader) but check first


  • Also the relevant CO line manager from CARE Lead Member
  • CI Secretariat’s Head of Global Communications


  • The CD or designated approver from each country and someone from regional team if this exists

You may also want to copy CI Secretariat communications or Lead Member communications in.

CARE International’s full sign off process can be found in the Global Communications Handbook (page 14)