Voices of Refugees

Since 2015, more than a million women, men and children have undertaken perilous journeys to reach northern European countries, using unofficial migration routes across the Mediterranean Sea and south-east Europe.

Watch: Your phone is now a refugee's phone [view on a mobile]


Publication date: July 2016

Authors: Theo Hannides, Nicola Bailey, Dwan Kaoukji

This study provides a snapshot of refugees’ experiences regarding communication and information at different points on their journey, based on interviews with 79 refugees and 45 humanitarian actors. Intended to inform humanitarian agencies responding to the refugee crisis in Europe, it examines the communication behaviours and priority information needs of refugees in three areas: on their journey, in “transit” camps in Greece, and in Germany.

The findings highlight refugees’ need for critical information about how to survive in their current situation, and what their future will hold. Broader communication needs are also presented: refugees expressed their need to be listened to and tell their stories, and participate in dialogue that provides them with physical, social and psychosocial support.

In April 2016, humanitarian agency staff in Greece reviewed the research findings and discussed how they could better meet refugees’ current information and communication needs in this constantly shifting context. The report shares recommendations from agencies and refugees, and concludes with reflections of how media and communication can support in this crisis.

The report is accompanied by a film that shows the importance of communication and information during humanitarian crises, inspired by stories from the research. 

This research – conducted in partnership with DAHLIA - has been funded by UK Aid from the UK government and commissioned by the START Network European Refugee Response Programme, through the CDAC (Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities) Network.


The content of this report is the responsibility of BBC Media Action. Any views expressed in this report should not be taken to represent those of the BBC itself, or any donors supporting the work of the charity.