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International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Complex to clear communications.


During the Europe migration crisis in 2015, one million migrants fled to Europe, mostly from Syria. Migrants arriving by boat into Greece (and then onward by foot, bus and train) traveled across Europe facing increased barriers to safety as borders closed across the continent. The European Union was put to task: would national governments respect or abandon International Humanitarian Law (which enshrines the right of an asylum seeker to present their case and safe shelter while doing so)? 

Amidst a complex geopolitical landscape, as the Communications Manager for Europe, I developed a compelling narrative and communications strategy to unify Red Cross outreach across 28 countries – from Greece to Iceland and nations in between – and project one voice to the world: “Across the entire migratory trail, Red Cross is witnessing and responding to humanitarian needs.” 

With this clear statement of credibility, we advocated for safe migration to influence policy and funding decisions amongst European governments. At the height of the crisis, Red Cross received daily coverage in global tier one media enabling us to shine light on humanitarian needs, raise millions of dollars to support emergency response, and inform policy decisions and outcomes such as increased access to emergency health care and family tracing services for migrants.

The number of migrants traveling the Syria-Turkey-Europe migration route has declined, yet migration driven by humanitarian needs in other parts of the region and world is on the rise.

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