I have been in communications for 40 years, 25 of which in UNHCR. During that time I worked numerous communication related positions many of which were related to campaigning. In 2016 and 2017 I established and developed the Communicating with Communities (CwC) Unit at UNHCR. Retired in January 2018.
I hold a PhD in communication and media sciences and am a regular lecturer at the University of Vienna teaching courses on non-profit PR.
Dr. Melita H. Sunjic
During my career I worked on countless interesting CwC projects.
Some of the most creative ones were:
- 2016: Designing the interactive Campaign Dangerous Crossing to sensitize people crossing into Yemen about the dangers ahead.
- 2015: Introducing the systematic monitoring of social media in the languages of the refugees/asylum seekers to understand sentiment, needs and problems of Afghans and Arabic speakers. (The project, initially started be by me and my team has been transferred to EASO and is now seen as their flagship product)
- 2015: In Serbia during mass influx and ever changing entry routes and procedures used movable outdoor signage of road constructing variety to guide newly arriving refugees through registration and assistance procedures
- 2014: First designing and later running the campaign Telling the Real Story, which reaches out to Eritreans and Somalis in the Horn of Africa to counter the narrative of smugglers. It is an innovative community2community approach that reenacts traditional oral communication traditions with 21st century tools. The campaign is by now considered as setting new standards in CwC. In October 2017 alone, the campaign reached 1,8 million persons, thus keeping an intra-community discourse alive.
- 2012: Devising a toolkit for UNHCR offices and training staff on using information tools suitable for illiterate populations, helping develop national strategies in Lebanon, Jordan, Northern Iraq, Egypt and Turkey.
- 2004: Advising UNHCR Angola in the use of local theater traditions to overcome witchcraft beliefs that prevented women form using mosquito nets for children.