Crucial Equipment Provided to NGOs in the Philippines

When disaster strikes, food, clean water and shelter for those affected are always hailed as top priority. While there is no argument that those basic life-sustaining necessities need to be quickly met, technologies can be overlooked as highest-ranking essentials, even though it often helps victims find aid, shelter or relatives in an emergency; restored communication is paramount to emergency response.

No matter what kind of relief our member organizations are bringing to a disaster area – water, food, shelter, medicine – they require access to reliable information about the situation in the affected areas to make decisions about how much aid is needed and where it needs to be distributed.  This requires access to important data.  In order to share and receive that information, we need to have a way to communication with each other and with affected population.

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Civil drone helps NetHope Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines

In Tacloban, everything was destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan: raised houses, destroyed bridges, blocked roads, disrupted communications; and tens of thousands of people were affected, and needed help.

The international rescue teams who arrived on the archipelago soon after the disaster struck were met with major logistical challenges, as they tried to access areas that had been isolated by the devastation. NGOs needed help that could fly.

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A Case for the Cloud in the Developing World

For many years, it was thought that cloud solutions were out of reach for those working in the developing world. Because many organizations lack the basic connectivity that users would need to access their applications and data, it seemed improbable that it would catch on quickly. However, I’ve been struck by how quickly various innovations are coming together simultaneously making cloud solutions well within reach – and highly desirable – for most organizations working in the developing world today. With today’s announcement from Microsoft that Office 365 for Nonprofits is now available to NGOs worldwide as a donation, it’s likely to become even more appealing.

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DadaabNet: Delivering Sustainable Internet to the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

Since July 2011, the worst drought and famine in East Africa in more than 60 years placed severe strain on the multitude of humanitarian agencies working in Dadaab, Kenya – the world’s largest refugee camp with a population exceeding 500,000 individuals. The unprecedented number of displaced people required a massive scale-up of operations by USAID-funded humanitarian agencies working in Dadaab. To meet mission goals and to save lives, significant improvements and increases in Internet connectivity were essential.

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NetHope and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Join Together for New Health Project

NetHope is pleased to join Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communications Programs (CCP) in a new five-year USAID project called the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3). The project aims to build the capacity of local organizations to evaluate, design and implement communication ideas that will improve health behaviors in their own communities.

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Propelling the Next Generation of Female Technology Leaders

On a global scale, women represent more than half of college graduates, yet only a small fraction of the technology sector workforce.  This is particularly true in emerging economies where men overwhelmingly dominate the field.  Nethope believes that increasing the number of women in ICT will deliver significant socialeconomic benefits for women, their families and entire communities around the world.  At the same time, we strive to engage and empower technical women throughout NetHope’s member organizations by encouraging recruitment, retention and success of women IT professionals.

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The Need for Increased Collaboration

The world we live in is certainly not a perfect place. There are a number of things that need to be done to improve it. Sometimes governments set out on improving it, sometimes non-profit organizations set out on improving it and sometimes concerned citizens set out on improving it. Each of these stakeholders has their own vision of the problem at hand and ideas about how to solve them. That vision is very much dependent upon their own vision of life and what they feel confident in doing.
Lets take an example to clarify things. For anyone who has visited the slums of Africa, you are touched by the hard life of people living in dire poverty, lack access to clean water, education, shelter and livelihood. Yet you also see a magnitude of organizations trying to help. Even the government has their own programs trying to address some parts of the problem. You will see an organization focusing on educating the children. You will see another organization focusing on providing healthcare services. You will see yet another organization focusing on creating sustainable livelihood opportunities. Each one of those organizations provides a small piece in a big puzzle, which is to improve the life of slum dwellers.

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New High-Speed Network Connects Dadaab Aid Agencies For Collaboration

The worst drought and famine in more than 60 years has placed strain on humanitarian agencies working in Dadaab, Kenya and calls for better-coordinated relief efforts. The crisis has threatened the livelihood of 9.5 million people in the Horn of Africa since early 2011. Refugees from Somalia continue to arrive in Kenya by the tens of thousands, making the Dadaab complex now the world’s largest refugee camp ever with almost 500,000 counted and perhaps as many as 100,000 more unregistered. Responding aid organizations are stretched to their limits as they try and provide critical life-sustaining services such as food, housing, sanitation and medical relief to those in Dadaab. To make matters even more difficult, Somali-based terrorist organization al Shebaab recently escalated activities in and around the camps. Security has been heightened to ensure the safety of contractors, staff and refugees.
To answer the pressing challenges encountered by agencies working in the Dadaab camp, NetHope, Inveneo and Cisco came together to create a new collaboration network that enables humanitarian agencies to function better, to communicate better with other organizations and to better support operations.

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The Evolution of Remittances

As a father of four, I am very familiar with remittances.  When my first son went off to college, I gave him an envelope of cash.  My second child got a monthly check in the mail from Mom and Dad.  Never one to wait for the mail my third child opened a joint account with us so I could make deposits locally and he could make withdrawals at the local bank branch on campus.  With my fourth, we moved to the world of interoperable ATMs; deposits and withdrawals then happened on any street in any city and even abroad.  Now, we are in the digital age and any transfers can be done online with immediate effect. 

I have been thinking a lot about this evolution in my own family as I watch the leading role remittances are playing in the growth of mobile money systems around the world.  M-Pesa was created initially to serve the market for remittances in Kenya.  M-Pesa now is used by over 15 million Kenyans and in 2011 Safaricom reported that value of transactions processed through the M-PESA platform was equivalent to 20% of Kenya’s GDP.  In Central America, Tigo Money makes remittances easy and even advertises its service on bags of Frito Lays chips sold in small markets around Guatemala as witnessed by Hamilton McNutt, a member of NetHope’s Payment Innovations team who traveled to Guatemala in March.

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Open Humanitarian Initiative: Improving Disaster Response

Last year was the costliest year in natural disasters that the world has ever seen. According to a report issued by global reinsurance firm Munich Re, world disasters in 2011 caused damages exceeding more than a third of a trillion dollars. And, experts at The World Bank predict that natural disasters will only get worse in the future, largely due to two powerful trends: burgeoning cities and a changing climate.

As the world prepares to cope with the high costs and other devastating effects of future earthquakes, tsunamis and more, it must find a better way to manage the chaotic environment that follows these disasters.

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