Mobile phones can be a great tool to help people in emergencies. To help organizations or activists decide when and how to use SMS, the GSMA recently published a draft “Code of Conduct for the Use of SMS in Natural Disaster”.
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.
I just finished a four-week online course called “Tech Tools for Emergency Management”. The course is run by TechChange and covers some of the new digital tools that have been much talked about in the context of emergency response, such as Ushahidi, Open Street Map, Frontline SMS and social media in general.
I just noticed a post on Mobileactive.org on how technology was used by different organizations to follow the 2011 presidential elections in Liberia. The article focuses on the differences between election monitoring and crowd sourcing and also give some insights in the specific challenges that the organizers were faced with in Liberia. It’s worth reading: Technology in the 2011 Liberian elections: mobiles, monitoring and mapping
Liberians will go to the polls on 11 October 2011 to vote for a new house of representative, a new senate and – most importantly – they’ll decide who will be the president for the next six years. Ushahidi has set up a website to monitor the elections.
How useful are Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels for disaster response organizations? I’m looking at the question from three different angles.
You have probably heard of ”Ushahidi“. Right after the Haiti earthquake, the near impossible to pronounce organization set up a service that allowed people in Haiti to submit reports and requests for help by SMS. Those messages were then geo-tagged, categorized, displayed on a website and distributed to relief workers in Haiti. It’s a really impressive system and it was up and running only four days after the earthquake struck. And what’s more: it worked in the local language, Haitian[...]
To say that the last days were“intense” would be an understatement. From the minute the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement pulled out all stops to help the people on the ground.
Communications is only a small part of that response and social media an even smaller part. Nevertheless – here are my observations: