Revision #12ForkRecommend a Solution
- Version in French is here: http://www.slideshare.net/rhokMtl/security-alert-app-for-humanitarian-workers-in-haiti-fr
- Receiving accurate and timely information about safe and unsafe areas within Haiti is still a challenge for humanitarian workers. Many organizations have their own codification systems and requirements for determining safe zones, and this information is not necessarily consistent between different humanitarian organizations.
- There is a need to coordinate information about security incidences amongst humanitarian organizations, so that an incident reported by one organization is communicated to other organizations in a timely and easy to understand format.
- Setting up a simple system for humanitarian workers to crowdsource information about safe/unsafe areas within Haiti, based possibly on the Ushahidi, could be a way to enhance current security practices used by humanitarian organizations, and also explore the effectiveness of using crowdsourced information in security decision making.
- The goal of this challenge is to establish a reliable, dynamic and timely resource for humanitarian workers to enhance and extend the utility of official/traditional data sources.
- An individual working for a humanitarian organization can send/receive information about a security incident via SMS or email.
- A security officier working within a humanitarian organization is able to receive data points about safe/unsafe areas not only from their organization,but also from collaborating humantiarian organizations (e.g. Oxfam-Quebec, MSF, Red Cross). This information can be used to enhance and extend the utility of official/traditional data sources.
- Knowledge and capacity within humanitarian organizations to use crowdsourced information.
- Protection of the individuals is a concern in any emergency response and has been identified as a general risk associated with the use of social media. So secure information channels are required.
Similar Projects and Resources:
- The Ushahidi Haiti Project (UHP) was a volunteer-driven effort to produce a crisis map after the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It was set up two hours after the earthquake by volunteers based at Tufts University. Soon after, a short code (4636) was created for incoming text messages and spread via local and national radio stations. Witnesses could text information about what they were seeing or experiencing. If the message was actionable, e.g.: "there are people trapped in a building located on Border and Smith," then a volunteer would map the GPS coordinates and provide the information to rescue teams on the ground.
- There was a very positive response to UHP in the media and among stakeholders, largely attributed to its relevance in early response to emergencies.
- However, there were many significant barriers to its use. Primary among these barriers was a general inconsistency of the dynamic “event data” provided by UHP, with the information requirements of traditional responding organizations. The traditional responding organization which typically require certain types of information at certain times and organized around certain response sectors and geographies.
- Information overload remains an issue in general for these responders. Use of UHP was also limited due to apparent low awareness of the project within the humanitarian community in Haiti, along with low knowledge of and capacity to use the crowdsourced information.
Next Steps and Sustainability:
- Develop a prototype during the RHoK Hackathon.
- Identify the barriers and opportunities to deploying a pilot with Canadian NGOs working in Haiti.
Information about unsafe areas can easily be tracked and mapped. This information can then be integrated together with other sources of information to develop a safety assessment of the situation on the ground. Individuals working in all humanitarian organizations within Haiti can then quickly receive security alerts.
Problem Definition Category: