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Antigua and Barbuda
ICT in Conflict & Disaster Response and Peacebuilding Crowdmap
The importance of technology in crisis and post-crisis situations is increasingly being recognised. The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) recently announced proposals to allocate over £48.5 million to technology for crisis response and early warning, including investments in mobile phone and satellite technology, examining the use of twitter and other social media channels, support and development of gaming technology for crisis training, promoting mobile money & supporting the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology; the American Redcross with the support of Dell has developed a new Digital Operations Center, which aims to monitor Social Media Outlets in the onset of crisis; and previously in Haiti, following the earthquake in 2010, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHA recognised and utilised the truly remarkable and new crowd-sourced response effort that was happening there:
Through the support of the US state department and a massive coordination effort from various open source tech companies and non-profits, along with Haiti's major mobile provider Digicel, a mobile text number was made available, and advertised via local radio, to the people of Port-au-Prince to text crisis reports and pleas for help. The reports, which arrived by the thousands, were translated into English by members of the Haitian diaspora community in the US and fed back to a team of volunteers at Tufts University who mapped the reports on the Ushahidi mapping platform which helped first responders reach out to some of the victims who would otherwise have remained voiceless.
Not only is the ubiquity of mobile telephony globally coupled with the internet and GIS enabling the victims of crisis to become more active in their own recovery, making the delivery of aid a truly participatory process, semantic web tools such as Ushahidi are empowering the globally connected 'crowd' to engage in crisis response and support. Everywhere technology is being used in many different ways to help with disaster & conflict early-warning, management & resolution and for peacebuilding in the aftermath of crisis.
The idea behind the ICT in Conflict & Disaster Response and Peacebuilding Crowdmap was to get a picture of who was doing what worldwide. Through the use of the Ushahidi Crowdmap platform we have been able to capture the large variety of activities carried out in projects, programmes and initiatives at various levels of society and decision-making within this field. The map illustrates the role of civil society organisations, states, multilateral organisations, academia and companies in the field, the difference ICT can make and the impact it can have.
As the project has grown we have begun to consider how the resource might be used for networking and information sharing within the field: Ultimately aiming to examine who is doing what, where and how we can learn from these experiences. And it is this 'learning' from the experiences of others, getting to know the feasibility of the technology, understanding the benefits and shortcomings of ICT in disaster and conflict situations generally and implementing useful collaboration, which will help us to make more effective decisions for crisis affected communities in the future.
Here are some examples of the projects involved in support during and after the Haiti earthquake of 2010 that have been included in the map:
This project itself is an experiment in crowd-sourcing and anyone can contribute information to this map. If you know of a relevant resource then you can add this information by going to the Submit a Report page on the map or alternatively by emailing email@example.com. The ICT in Conflict & Disaster Response and Peacebuilding Crowd Map was produced by Christine Broenner, a spatial information management consultant and myself, Laura Morris, an independent researcher in crisis communication. For suggestions, comments, adjustments and additions you can contact Christine or myself at the email address mentioned.
By Laura Morris with contribution from Christine Broenner
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