Haiti

Using Technology for Social Good. An Exploration of Best Practice in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development

Title: Using Technology for Social Good. An Exploration of Best Practice in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development
Source: United Methodist Communications
Date (accessed): 21/03/2014
Type of information: case study
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract:
This discussion paper captures best practice in the use of mobile phones and other low-cost communications technologies through a series of interviews with experts and practitioners. Interviewees include:
- The head of the mobile solutions team at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who describes the agency’s efforts to use mobile phones to pay teachers in Afghanistan, reducing money lost to graft;
- The founder of FrontlineSMS, one of the most widely scaled mobile text messaging-based information sharing program, who provides his top 10 tips for effective use of technology for social good;
- The chair of the Health Board of The United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who describes how using FrontlineSMS is changing the way information is shared in the context of acute health emergencies, such as cholera outbreaks; and
- The program manager of the Thomas Food Project in Thomas, Haiti, who describes how low cost solar power is being used to power a new computer center and generate income that supports a school feeding program.

Teaching Frontline SMS to UMC Mission Workers in Haiti

Title: Teaching Frontline SMS to UMC Mission Workers in Haiti
Author: Neelley Hicks
Source: Storify
Date (published): 20/02/2013
Date (accessed): 05/03/2013
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes
Abstract: Frontline SMS is facilitating United Methodist messaging for healthcare, spiritual development, and community empowerment in developing countries. The possibilities are endless as those without Internet access learn how to couple the power of mobile phones with the organizational tools of computers.

Ann Kite Yo Pale or Let Them Speak : Best Practice and Lessons Learned in Communication with Disaster Affected Communities: Haiti 2010

Title: Ann Kite Yo Pale or Let Them Speak : Best Practice and Lessons Learned in Communication with Disaster Affected Communities: Haiti 2010
Authors: Imogen Wall with Yves Gerald Chéry
Pages: 88 pp.
Publisher: infoasaid.org
Date (published): 08/11/2011
Date (accessed): 14/12/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"New report published by infoasaid captures practical case studies and best practice in communications with affected communities during the 2010 responses in Haiti.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the south of Haiti on January 12th 2010 triggered the largest humanitarian response since the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004. But the earthquake was unfortunately not the only serious emergency to strike Haiti in 2010. The outbreak of cholera in the town of St Marc on October 18th 2010 brought a new, highly infectious and deadly disease to a country with weak sanitation and health systems, and no knowledge of this illness.

Throughout these responses, a number of organisations tried to operationalise ways to fill a long-acknowledged gap in humanitarian response: the way in which aid agencies share information with and listen to those affected by the disaster. At the same time, a whole range of other actors – Haitian media, local private sector actors including technology companies, telecoms companies and Haitians in the overseas diaspora also started working to share information and to improve communication. Of particular note was the Haitian use of mobile phone and web based technology (more Haitians own mobile phones than own radios), and the experimental efforts by aid agencies to understand and engage with this new dynamic.

Aid agencies also found themselves grappling with many practical challenges in delivering better communication: the need for in house skills, securing funding, how best to position this work and what the cost benefit analysis was of investing in communications.

In February 2011, an infoasaid team began two months of detailed field research in Haiti in an effort to discover which of these efforts had borne fruit, map and capture Haitian led initiatives, look at how theoretical models had delivered in practice and most importantly of all, to look at the viewpoint and user experience of those affected by these disasters when it comes to communication. Through a series of focus groups, face to face interviews and collating existing monitoring and evaluation efforts, the team – Yves-Gerald Chery and Imogen Wall – worked to identify models, projects and approaches that had delivered and present them in a format of practical use to professional humanitarians looking for support in engaging more with communications. What models work best? Where should aid agencies invest for the best cost-value outcomes in communications work? How can the impact of a communications project be judged? What actually is the value of mobile phone technology, and how can this emerging phenomenon be meaningfully understood and engaged with? And what are local actors doing, and what implications does that have for responders?

The findings were striking. Firstly, although the evidence is anecdotal, the demand for information from survivors of the earthquake and the cholera outbreak was high, with Haitians desperate for knowledge and information especially practical updates on finding loved ones, sourcing assistance. Those affected by disasters also stressed again and again the importance of communications as a process, not just the transfer of information. They placed huge value on being listened to, being able to contact humanitarian organisations and were very sensitive to and appreciative of efforts by agencies to communicate..."

Peacebuilding in the Information Age: Sifting Hype from Reality

Title: Peacebuilding in the Information Age: Sifting Hype from Reality
Editors: Daniel Stauffacher, Barbara Weekes, Urs Gasser, Colin Maclay, Michael Best
Pages: 48 pp.
Publisher: ICT4Peace Foundation
Date (published): 10/01/2011
Date (accessed): 14/01/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML + pdf)
Abstract:
"Going beyond the current debate and positive hype about ICTs, this paper probes difficult questions and provides concrete recommendations concerning:

* the effectiveness of current systems of crisis information management;
* the need for a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of the use of ICTs in crisis response by the academic community;
* the need for better coordinative mechanisms amongst the key players, including the UN and its various agencies;
* the humanitarian responsibility of various actors, in particular new players such as crowdsourcing providers and social media;
* the serious challenges that still need to be overcome in terms of underlying political, hierarchical and traditional resistance to information-sharing amongst diverse organizations;
* the negative potential of ICTs in compromising the security of persons at risk in conflict situations;
* the lessons learned from the earthquake in Haiti on the use of new ICTs in disaster response situations and,
* the big picture of what this shift to an ICT-focused approach really means for existing humanitarian response systems."

Haiti One Year On: Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Aid

Title: Haiti One Year On: Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Aid
Author:Mark Leon Goldberg
Source:UN Dispatch
Date (published):12/01/2011
Date (accessed):14/01/2011
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The disaster response operations of 2010 taught the humanitarian community hard lessons in how to communicate more effectively both with each other and with disaster affected communities. In reports reflecting on the year since the Haiti earthquake, key members of our community (see Internews and the ICT4Peace Foundation) are pointing to the need to adapt practices in the humanitarian response system to new realities, including policies to protect the security of data about vulnerable populations.
Turning these recommendations into implementable practices is going to require input from many stakeholders, including humanitarians from large agencies as well as representatives of the volunteer technical community. The United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have partnered with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative to conduct these consultations and propose both a framework developing this long-term dialogue and defining how new tools and practices can be integrated into the realities of the work in the field."

New media helped, but radio delivered for earthquake-struck Haiti

Title: New media helped, but radio delivered for earthquake-struck Haiti
Author: Matthew Lasar
Source:Ars Technica
Publisher:Condé Nast Digital
Date (published):12/01/2011
Date (accessed):14/01/2011
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"When Haiti's devastating earthquake hit last January, the world responded with a wave of humanitarian relief efforts. But unlike previous disasters, they also deployed new communications systems—text messaging, digital crowd sourcing, and social networking, among other platforms.

The Haiti earthquake "marked the beginning of a new culture in disaster relief," notes a report on the phenomenon just released by the Knight Foundation. "Occurring several years into a revolution in communications technology, the event attracted legions of media specialists bearing new digital tools to help."

Yet the electronic medium most successfully deployed was not the newest, but one of the oldest. "Although much of the attention has been paid to new media technologies, radio was the most effective tool for serving the needs of the public," Knight concludes."

Empowering Haitian women through digital tools

Title: Empowering Haitian women through digital tools
Author: Abby Goldberg
Source: United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI)
Date (published): 08/05/2010
Date (accessed): 10/05/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
We at Digital Democracy received a request from the Protection Officer for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse working on behalf of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, who relayed the enormous and immediate need for mechanisms to streamline protection, documentation, and service provisions around gender-based-violence. Her mandate was to create this mechanism and she asked whether we could join an “interagency working session”, meeting with thirteen local women leaders from five different organisations in Port Au Prince, to provide technical expertise at the meeting.

The Haiti catastrophe: lessons learned from previous operations

Title: The Haiti catastrophe: lessons learned from previous operations
Author: Ben Ramalingam
Source: Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Blog
Publisher: Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Date (published): 19/01/2010
Date (accessed): 21/01/2010
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
In ALNAP, we have worked towards such real-time learning for many major emergencies over the past few years. Our research on earthquakes suggests a number of important considerations for agencies in the operational setting in Haiti.

These include:

* the importance of recovery starting as soon as possible, without prolonging the relief effort;
* the longstanding issue of coordination, within specific delivery sectors such as health, water, shelter and food, and also across the response as a whole;
* the importance of not overstating the risk of disease or perpetuating other ‘disaster myths';
* the value of using cash as a form of assistance;
* the importance of involving local populations in the response, and of taking longer term perspectives on restoring livelihoods;
* to not rebuild vulnerability, but to try to upgrade new constructions to resist future hazards;
* to not expect disaster response to resolve the political problems in Haiti – aid cannot be expected to solve issues such as corruption, poor governance, underdevelopment and social inequalities which made Haiti's population so vulnerable in the first place.
__________
The Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP)
http://www.alnap.org/

Crisis Mapping and Collaboration Between Western and African ICT Developers for Haiti Quake Response

Title: Crisis Mapping and Collaboration Between Western and African ICT Developers for Haiti Quake Response
Author: Tadias Staff
Source: Tadias Magazine
Date (published): 19/01/2010
Date (accessed): 20/01/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
In Haiti relief organizations were facing bottleneck at the airport, but mobile phones and online crisis mapping tools have enabled tech developers and volunteers to collaborate in other unprecedented ways.

via http://twitter.com/kvashee

Engineers Race to Restore Communications after Haiti Quake

Title: Engineers Race to Restore Communications after Haiti Quake
Author: Harry Goldstein
Source: IEEE Spectrum
Publisher: IEEE
Date (published): 19/01/2010
Date (accessed): 20/01/2010
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
With thousands of doctors, nurses, aid workers and troops descending on Port-au-Prince in the last week to join more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) already there, reporters on the ground have observed that the damage done to the telecommunications infrastructure is hampering coordination efforts. But in an ironic twist, it turns out that Haiti's Internet connectivity is robust precisely because its telecommunications infrastructure is so underdeveloped. Specifically, most Haitian ISPs connect to the Internet via satellite and are not dependent on the country's lone undersea fiber optic cable link, which was knocked out the during the quake. The challenge for engineers now is the proverbial last mile--getting local connections to satellites restored so NGOs can get online.

via http://twitter.com/ICT_Works

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