Mobile-enabled early warning systems are transforming the way humanitarian organisations deliver aid, and also how we build long-term resilience in concert with affected communities. With the International Telecommunication Union reporting nearly six billion mobile-cellular subscriptions worldwide in 2011 – and a notable 79 per cent penetration in the developing world – the rise of mobile communication continues to shape aid innovation.
The Philippines are currently reeling from the impact of three successive typhoons that have displaced close to 250,000 people and killed at least 50. Being one of the countries with the highest social media penetration, affected communities and disaster responders alike are using Facebook, Twitter and standard Google tools to communicate needs and coordinate the response.
Patrick Meier visited the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C. and got a tour of the brand new Digital Operations Center which AmCross is using to monitor social media during emergencies.
The last three weeks were a mix of very intense ups and downs that left me frequently frustrated, sleepless and banging my head against a table, but ultimately gave me a sense of satisfaction that cannot be found in many other jobs: the knowledge that I had a very real, positive impact on the lives of people – and not just of an anonymous group of beneficiaries, but individuals whose names and histories I know.
A new “serious game” is trying to show what it’s like to be a journalist, an aid-worker or a survivor in a natural disaster. And it’s not doing a bad job!
A while ago I posed the social media staff guidelines that I created for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Since then, I have been asked by a few organizations to talk about the process of getting there. It seems that more and more organizations see the need and usefulness of having such a document. Below you find a presentation I have given on two occasions on that topic. At the bottom of my previous[...]
How useful are Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels for disaster response organizations? I’m looking at the question from three different angles.
Last year, when I heard about World Humanitarian Day for the first time, my first impulse was that this sounded pretty self-righteous. I mean, where is the World Firemen Day or the World Truckdriver Day? Two professions that are very dangerous and that probably contribute more to people’s lives than most professional aid workers do. Since then I have changed my minds slightly. For one thing, there is never anything objectionable about remembering colleagues who have died. But more importantly[...]