Mobile Technology Use in Humanitarian Organizations:
To better serve the needs of people affected by disasters, humanitarian organizations must be able to make use of new technologies, having the mobile nature of operations, there is an increasing need to enable humanitarian staff with tools and information that they can access on-the-go. In addition, staff and volunteers need to be equipped with tools to access real-time information on disasters, even before they hit.
Moreover, Mobile technology can become a core tool in effective emergency response, and address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges, by providing instant communications and fundraising support over our networks.
Mobile technology could be used before, during and after the disaster strike, since it provides an early warning system, aids in emergency coordination, and improves public communications. Fortunately solutions needless to be complicated; simple text services can have a huge impact in sharing information and re-connecting families.
Mobile Technology for Disaster Preparedness:
The mobile uses for disaster preparedness range from the common uses of raising public awareness and reaching to vulnerable population about disaster risks and preparedness or dissemination early warnings of impending danger to developing community-specific and country-specific parameters in designing and implementing mobile-enabled awareness and preparedness programs or engaging in protective behaviors such as obtaining information about location and availability of preparedness services.
Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) Mobile Apps:
As the Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) is promoting creative uses of technology and innovative approaches in disaster preparedness programs. The GDPC has created a platform to facilitate the adaptation and localization of mobile applications, through the Universal App Program, which provides first aid and hazard information for use in countries across the globe.
Besides the First Aid App and the Hazard App there is also a disaster preparedness educational mobile game designed for kids and families called Tanah. Tanah is the Tsunami and Earthquake Fighter game that offers hazard awareness for youths and help them learning key concepts of disaster risk reduction.
The GDPC in collaboration with SIMLab, conducted a workshop on Feature Phones to explore extending the project to reach portions of the population who have not yet gained access to smartphone technology, and considering ways to get the First Aid app or its content onto feature phones. You can find more information about the workshop here.
Mobile Data Collection:
At this time many RC/RC National Societies, ICRC and IFRC are widely using mobile devices to collect data on a global scale. Many projects have successfully reduced the costs of data collection by a factor of ten and the time to gather and analyze data from up to twelve months to less than two weeks!
There are number of tools used by National Societies for data collection such as:
- ODK – Open Data Kit: An open-source suite of tools that helps organizations author, field, and manage mobile data collection solutions. The goal is to make open-source and standards-based tools which are easy to try, easy to use, easy to modify and easy to scale.
- Magpi – An easy to use data collection application for field data collection needs. The new version includes advanced features such as the Text to Speech functionality, sub-form integrations, automatic device synchronization, as well as scheduled broadcast messages. The application works on various mobile platforms, and data collection with SMS and web-based entry can be integrated
- UReport – A free opt-in, SMS-based system where individuals communicate experience and interest and receive information and access to a web-based dashboard of aggregated data and analysis.
- MPharma - A mobile app for managing pharmaceutical prescriptions and consumption in developing countries and is helping to create an end-to-end health information system. MPharma can adapted.