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Community Engagement and the Participation Revolution are big buzzwords in the humanitarian space, largely products of the Grand Bargain – an agreement between the largest Western donors and big INGOs from the Global North. How do such concepts translate however to the realities of humanitarian contexts in the Global South, and what do they mean to national actors often at the forefront of humanitarian responses? An Australian government-funded project in the Pacific has been working with National Disaster Management Offices and national agencies to find out. The project is jointly implemented by the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities Network (CDAC) and Ground Truth Solutions (GTS), and is taking a bottom-up, locally-led approach to embedding two-way communications and community engagement systems into emergency responses. More specifically, the project attempts to document and disseminate learning from the ground up, drawing on local challenges and experiences to create broader sector-wide knowledge products. The panel will reflect on the experience–of establishing locally led, collaborative approaches to communication and community engagement with disaster affected communities in Fiji and Vanuatu, and share lessons learned across the humanitarian sector. In doing so, the influence of Pacific traditions, cultures, and politics on the process will be explored with a view to supporting similar community engagement approaches elsewhere.