WhatNow Service Toolkit


The WhatNow Service is a global platform of Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies’ localized key messages on how individuals and households can prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards. Any media partner can access the messages and broadcast them across their networks, all with the National Societies’ name and logo. Developed by the Global Disaster Preparedness Center in partnership with Google, the WhatNow Service aims to increase the scale in the dissemination of harmonized, trusted, actionable guidance. Through this harmonization of trusted messaging, communities can receive messaging across different communication channels and learn how to act safely.

This toolkit is for Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies interested in learning more and implementing the WhatNow Service in their communities. Media partners interested in learning more and connecting with their National Society - contact Nathan.Cooper@ifrc.org

To learn more, visit the activity page, download the one-pager and slide deck, and watch this video. Check out the portal and contact Nathan.Cooper@ifrc.org for an account if you are a National Society focal point.

How does it work? 

The GDPC provides the global platform and a template of globally-applicable key, actionable messages for 20 hazards in 78 languages. These messages are across six urgency levels: Midterm Forecast, Forecast, Watch, Warning, Immediate, Recovery. 
The WhatNow Service then follows a five-step, circular process:
  1. National Societies adapt key, actionable messaging to their context
  2. National Societies engage with media partners for the implementation of the service
  3. Media partners access National Societies’ WhatNow Messages through an open API and broadcast across their networks
  4. Communities at risk receive WhatNow Messages
  5. National Societies engage with communities for feedback on the process and further adapt accordingly
1 (2)

Why use it? 

The WhatNow Service provides many benefits, both for National Societies and communities.

  1. Strengthens National Society capacity in early warning early action 
    • Provides a set of evidence-based, hazard-specific key messaging
    • Creates a hub of messaging for National Societies and partners
    • Provides a tool for teams across DRR, preparedness, response, recovery, and communications
  2. Strengthens partnership-building capacity
      • Positions National Societies as a national convener around key message adaptation, harmonization, and dissemination
      • Provides an opportunity to partner with governments as co-adapting messages
      • Provides media with trusted key messaging for broadcast
  3. Supports communities to safely act in the face of alerted hazards through messaging that is:
      • Understood: localized, clear, and actionable
      • Accessible: sent through many communication channels
      • Trusted; from a source the community trusted - the Red Cross Red Crescent

How did this begin? 

Lombok, Indonesia, 2019. 
School kits for the kids in Lombok island. Almost 6 months after Lombok  was struck by multiple earthquakes, many damaged schools have been rebuilt and repaired. Some schools still need time to be completely repaired or rebuilt. PMI staff and volunteers trained in pyschological support continue to visit children to help them cope with their fears following the series of earthquakes.  As well as distributing school kits, volunteers are actively  and creatively integrating care in their work, engaging children in games and role playing, while at the same time introducing best hygiene practices.
The WhatNow Service is founded on IFRC's Public Awareness and Public Education (PAPE) for Disaster Risk Reduction: Key Messages. This resource is designed to support National Societies in scaling up their work in disaster risk reduction education and partnerships by offering a process of contextualizing evidence-based, hazard-specific messaging. It offers guidance on how RCRC National Societies can work with partners to adapt multi-hazard key messages to their local risks, language, and context to ensure consistency, clarity, and safety across communities. It is critical that stakeholders promote consistent actions to the public and reinforce credibility, legitimacy, and strong impact.
The WhatNow Service provides a template of key messages drawing from this resource and categorizing the messages across six urgency levels - ranging from disaster risk reduction to recovery. National Societies may not have a set of key messaging for their local hazards that are consistently used across programming and early warning systems. The WhatNow Service provides this set of globally applicable key messages for National Societies to adapt to their context along with accompanying behavior-change communication guidance. It can provide National Societies with the opportunity to work with a core set of localized messaging across all programmatic efforts.

The WhatNow Service’s adaptation process is also rooted in PAPE’s core component of working together with other key stakeholders in crafting messaging together. It is this partnership and contextualization process that provides the foundation for the WhatNow Service messages, and guidance is provided for partnership-building.

How has it been used?


The WhatNow Service was developed in 2018 and being used by 25 National Societies. 

Google Safety Tips - Q&A with the Red Cross (blog post)

Scroll to Top