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What We Do:

Disaster Relief Communications


Disaster Relief Communications

When disasters strike, people need food, shelter, blankets, and medicine. But without an effective communications network, supplies are left undelivered, and relief workers are unable to do their jobs.

The United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Partnership helps emergency relief workers respond more quickly and effectively and reconnects families separated by disaster. The partnership supports the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN’s lead agency tasked with security communications in disaster response, and Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), a humanitarian NGO that deploys lifesaving mobile and satellite technology for UN relief missions. Both groups can deploy to anywhere in the world within 48 hours.

In 2009, the WFP aimed to feed around 100 million people in 80 countries, supported by a wide range of experts and volunteers. In addition, the UN Foundation funds Vodafone employees to work directly with the WFP in their field offices.

With UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation funding, WFP and TSF teams provide vital telecommunication support to the UN and other humanitarian agencies during emergencies. View some examples of these recent deployments by exploring the interactive map below.

To view a full list of deployments since 2006, click here.

Click and drag your mouse over the map to view other regions.

View Larger Map

The UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership has taken its commitment to supporting WFP’s emergency communications capacity in disaster response one step further through the Vodafone Foundation’s “World of Difference” program. In June 2009, this program placed four Vodafone employees in WFP offices around the world, adding human capital to the Technology Partnership’s overall support for WFP’s vital services in emergencies.

STORIES OF IMPACT

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    Mobile Activism: Make Text, Not War

    Area of Involvement: Technology

     

    When waves of political violence swept through Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election, human rights advocates in the country turned to cell phones to help stem the violence. 

     

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    Connecting in the Midst of a Disaster

    Area of Involvement: Technology

     

    Heavy flooding along Mozambique’s Zambezi River displaced nearly 300,000 Mozambicans from their homes in early 2008. Water levels were so high that resettlement camps from a 2007 flooding had to be resettled again.

     

Read more stories »

RESOURCES

  1. mHealth Barriers

    Barriers and Gaps Affecting mHealth in Low and Middle Income Countries

    Issue Area: Technology

    Commissioned by the mHealth Alliance and written by The Earth Institute at Columbia University, the policy paper "Barriers and Gaps Affecting mHealth in Low and Middle Income Countries" provides an in-depth analysis of the current challenges and obstacles hindering the meaningful implementation and scaling of mobile health (mHealth) projects aiming to strengthen health systems and attain global health goals. Still in its infancy, mHealth – the use of mobile technologies for health – runs the risk of not realizing its full potential. This report identifies policy barriers and research gaps that undermine the field of mHealth and offers recommendations on how to strategically maximize its benefits.

  2. New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: The Role of Information and Social Networks

    Issue Area: Technology

    Our latest report -- New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: The Role of Information and Social Networks -- looks at innovation in the use of technology along the timeline of crisis response, from emergency preparedness and alerts to recovery and rebuilding. It profiles organizations whose work is advancing the frontlines of innovation, offers an overview of international efforts to increase sophistication in the use of IT and social networks during emergencies, and provides recommendations for how governments, aid groups and international organizations can leverage this innovation to improve community resilience.

 
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES