2014 Humanitarian Hero Amy Rhoades

DUTY STATION: Philippines
POSITION: Communications manager

"Stand up, let us unite. Because in unity, we are stronger!"

Amy went into humanitarian work because she believes that communities affected by crises should be actively consulted rather than viewed as passive bystanders. After all, “they are the experts on the needs of their communities,” she says.

Amy works to establish communications-and-feedback mechanisms to ensure that crisis-affected people have timely, accurate information and can have an active voice in the humanitarian response. This is often achieved through using print and radio media, community consultations, SMS/phone feedback and other means.

Awareness is increasing that communication with crisis-affected communities is essential in emergency response. However, the lack of communications tools among affected people does not make this work easy. But it is rewarding to be able to respond to a tangible need for information and communication among displaced communities following a crisis. Doing so helps communities become better informed and more resilient. It helps ensure that humanitarian assistance is transparent and efficient.

Amy’s most memorable moment came when she was walking down a street in Tacloban in the Philippines. She heard two children singing Tindog Kita (Rise Together), a song that IOM wrote and disseminated about how to build back safer after Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in November 2013.

“They had all the words right, so I know the communications campaign was working,” says Amy.

“We’ve been through a storm but we’re not defeated.

We all carry pain but must move on.

We’ll build a new life together, a safe place for everyone.

Building strong foundations so we can stand.

Stand up, let us unite. Because in unity, we are stronger!

Stand up, brothers and sisters, everyone.

Stand up, stand up, let us rise!”