Learn about SBCC and Emergencies

8871-13Before you begin the process of creating your emergency preparedness communication strategy, it is important to gain a better understanding of what is meant by emergency preparedness and the process to developing an SBCC intervention.

Take time to familiarize yourself with the key concepts, programmatic approaches and technical considerations for emergency preparedness communication. The information will be used and referred to throughout this I-Kit.

Key Concepts

Emergency Preparedness: A continuous process of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and taking corrective action to ensure effective coordination during a response.

Emergency Response Plan: A plan that specifies the actions taken in the initial hours and days of an emergency to reduce human and economic losses. A communication plan is a crucial component of the overall response plan.

SBCC Implementation Plan: A plan that specifies the critical steps and procedures for responding to an emergency to ensure that communication is done through the proper channels and reduces public anxiety, fear, panic and the spread of rumors.

SBCC Strategy: A guidance document that defines key program components for SBCC activities prior to, during and after an emergency.

The following terms are all used to refer to an acute and dangerous situation that happens suddenly, and/or unexpectedly, and requires a quick response in order to avoid harmful consequences:


  • Emergency
  • Outbreak
  • Crisis

The following terms are used interchangeably to refer to communication related activities and messages that support the response to an emergency:

  • Communication response
  • SBCC Strategy

The following terms are used to describe work with communities to achieve individual and/or collective change and the broad spectrum of activities undertaken to support communities in determining and improving their own health and well-being.

  • Social mobilization
  • Community mobilization
  • Community engagement

For definitions of technical terms, see the Glossary of Key Terms.