8. Prepositioning Relationships and Technology to Better Communicate with Communities in Disaster Response

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Panelists: Ms. Angela Rouse, Senior Programme Manager, CDAC Network Secretariat; Mr. Mike Adams, International Coordinator, First Response Radio; Mr. Gil Arevalo, Communications with Communities Coordinator, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 11:40-12:2007_Arevalo Adams Rouse_IMG_0054

In the days and weeks following a disaster, information and the means to communicate – both with each other and with responders – are crucial for the survival and well-being of communities.  They also play a key role in early warning.  The humanitarian response system has the know-how and technology to enable this to happen as a matter of course, and yet it persists as a major challenge.

Gil, Mike and Angela discuss the communication needs of communities and what it means for the humanitarian system: looking at how we can address this systemic challenge early and collectively, through partnership across traditional boundaries and with genuine commitment to put people first.

Ms. Angela Rouse, Senior Programme Manager, CDAC Network Secretariat

07_Prepositioning Relationships and Technology to Better Communicate_photo_Angela RouseAngela is currently Senior Programme Manager for the Secretariat of the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network. The Network is a unique collaboration between NGOs, UN agencies, media development
agencies, technology providers and others that crosses traditional boundaries to leverage improvements both in information sharing for communities, and two-way communication between humanitarian responders and disaster-affected people, as well as between disaster affected people themselves.  Angela leads the implementation of the Network’s capacity strengthening work and manages the programme team.  “Ultimately I want to see humanitarian responses where community voices truly shape programmes and decisions, and where communities, duty bearers and responders work together to implement the responses.”

Prior to joining the CDAC Network in November 2013, Angela was the Emergency Capacity Building Manager for CARE International and brings rich experience of interagency collaboration across various initiatives, accountability in practice, training design and delivery, and evaluative work. Angela has a strong programmatic background, having spent many years working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya across various sectors, including primary health care, gender-based violence, and water, sanitation and hygiene.  She has worked in the humanitarian sector for over ten years, prior to which she worked in scientific research following an education in biology and public health.

Mr. Mike Adams, International Coordinator, First Response Radio07_Prepositioning Relationships and Technology to Better Communicate_photo_Mike Adams

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Mike started his career as an aircraft radio technician. He has worked as a broadcast engineer since 1987 with experience in SW transmitters, antennas, studios and Mike’s favorite – AM radio remote broadcasts. In 2003 he received Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) certification as a Professional Broadcast Engineer for 20 years experience in radio.

Mike began working as a consultant with Health Communications Resources (HCR) after the 2004 Asian tsunami where they worked together with a local partner to put an Emergency FM radio station on the air in Indonesia.   After seeing the value of radio after a disaster, he has worked to develop the Rapid Response Radio Unit (RRRU) that can be deployed anywhere in the world within 72 hours of a disaster.

The network of participating stations is called FIRST Response Radio and Mike has been serving as the international coordinator since the start. Since 2007, Mike has led Rapid Response Radio Workshops and field trials in the Philippines, India and Indonesia teaching teams to use radio in humanitarian relief for the affected communities following disasters.

A RRRU team was led by Mike into the flooded Kosi river region of Bihar, India in 2008 to establish radio broadcasts to assist the 3 Million people affected by the flood.  He also led a team into Sumatra Indonesia following the Sept 2009 Earthquake, establishing an FM station within 5 days of the disaster. Mike most recently took a team into the most affected community in Tacloban, Philippines following typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda where all radio and TV stations were off the air.  The team arrived on the 5th day and were broadcasting on the 6th day after the powerful typhoon.

Mike received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from Washington State University in 1984. Mike is married, has two daughters and currently lives in Cambodia.

Mr. Gil Arevalo, Communications with Communities Coordinator, UN OCHA

07_Prepositioning Relationships and Technology to Better Communicate_photo_ArevaloGil Francis Arevalo has twelve years of experience in the field of media, communication, humanitarian and emergency response, community engagement, youth development, disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation. Since 2003, he has worked in different capacities with various organizations like the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Save the Children-US, YMCA-Japan, Oxfam-GB, UNFPA and UNDP.

Currently,  he is with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – Philippines as Communications with Communities (CwC)/Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP) Coordinator, establishing and leading a CwC/AAP preparedness working group at the national level, which is designated to facilitate coordination for communications with disaster-affected communities practitioners in partnership with the Government of the Philippines, CSOs, INGOs, media, private sectors, telecommunication companies, and faith-based groups.

He provided proper coordination through the Community of Practice of CwC/AAP and technical support during successive emergencies and disasters in 2013: Zamboanga armed conflict, Bohol earthquake, and typhoon Haiyan; and also as part of preparedness initiative during typhoon Hagupit in 2014 and typhoon Maysak in 2015.

Links to related material:

The CDAC Network
First Response Radio
First Response Radio Tacloban Deployment
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Philippines


9. Multi-Channel Mobile Crisis Response Platforms: Lessons Learned in the Middle East

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Presenter: Mr. Yazeed Sheqem, Director of Business Development, MENA & Africa, Souktel Inc.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 13:50-14:2008_Multi-channel Mobile Crisis Response Platforms_presentation Souktel_screenshot

When humanitarian disaster strikes, rapid response–at scale—is crucial to saving lives and minimizing damage. But in many crisis zones, a shortage of ex-ante population data means that aid providers often lack a clear understanding of local demographics. As a result, NGOs and aid agencies fail to develop effective communication and outreach strategies, and communities fail to receive critical life-saving information.

Multi-channel mobile platforms help address this challenge—by providing a range of simultaneous options for transmitting information to and from disaster-affected populations. Yazeed Sheqem spoke about lessons that Souktel, based in Ramallah, Palestine, has learned in the Middle East.

Mr. Yazeed Sheqem, Director of Business Development, MENA & Africa, Souktel Inc.

08_Multi-channel Mobile Crisis Response Platforms_photo_Yazeed SheqemYazeed Sheqem leads Souktel’s strategic outreach to clients and partners in the Levant, Gulf, North Africa and Sub-Saharan African regions. He also drives Souktel’s consulting practice which advises clients in the fields of ICT4D and M4D. Yazeed has extensive experience in the area of technology utilization for disaster and emergency response as well as economic growth and employment.

Yazeed holds a Master’s degree in economics from the Goethe University in Frankfurt-Germany as well as a higher degree in urban planning from New York University. He is based in Amman-Jordan and is fluent in Arabic, English, and German.

Founded in 2006, Souktel is a provider of end-to-end technology solutions that support the projects of 30+ development funders and implementers across the globe. Additionally, Souktel delivers strategic consulting services in the fields of ICT4D and M4D. Souktel is mainly engaged in the areas of disaster and emergency response, economic growth and employment, education and youth, as well as democracy and governance. Based in Ramallah-Palestine, Souktel helps change lives in more than 20 emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Link to related material:


17. Communication Technology: Challenges and Opportunities for Humanitarian Security

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Presenters: Ms. Lisa Reilly, Executive Coordinator, European Interagency Security Forum (EISF); Ms. Raquel Vazquez, Researcher, EISF16_Lisa Reilly and Raquel Vazquez_Keep Calm_stage shot 3

Thursday, 30 April 2015, 14:00-14:30

The speed with which technology is developing and changing humanitarian programmes means that organisations are simply not keeping up from a security risk management perspective.

To date, few efforts have been made to understand the specific nature of the security threats created by the digital revolution, and the implications for security risk management. In the last decade, humanitarian organisations have been investing in more proactive acceptance strategies, but often forgetting to look at the impact that digital interactions have in the security of staff when we replace the traditional ‘tea in the market’ by Skype meetings with beneficiaries. Nor have there been many efforts to understand the ways in which communications technology is creating new opportunities for humanitarian agencies to respond to emergencies and the impact that new programmes have on how we manage security.

The session looked at these issues, highlighting that to gain and maintain safe access for humanitarian assistance we need a security risk management approach that takes account of the risks associated with developments in communications technology.

16_Communication Technology Challenges and Opportunities_screenshot

Ms. Lisa Reilly, Executive Coordinator, European Interagency Security Forum (EISF)16_Communication Technology Challenges and Opportunities_photo_Lisa Reilly

Lisa has over 16 years experience in the development and humanitarian response sector, working overseas in a variety of programme management roles in both Africa and Asia. Returning to the UK in 2009 Lisa took up a position with RedR as Security Trainer developing and implementing personal and security management courses, as well as undertaking a number of short-term consultancy projects backstopping and evaluating humanitarian response programmes. Starting as an engineer, Lisa’s security knowledge comes from implementing programmes in various conflict and post-conflict countries, subsequently enhanced through working with a variety of sector experts and on a number of research projects since her return to the UK.

Ms. Raquel Vazquez, Researcher, EISF

16_Communication Technology Challenges and Opportunities_photo_Raquel VazquezRaquel coordinates projects and conducts research to help humanitarian organisations gain safer access to communities affected by conflict and emergencies. She is also a member of the Justice Rapid Response Roster for the rapid deployment of experts in war crimes and mass atrocities investigations. Prior to joining EISF, Raquel worked in Libya, Israel, Bangladesh, Cambodia and the UK for different humanitarian and human rights organisations, and in two international prosecutions, the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal and the International Criminal Court.

Links to related material:

The European Interagency Security Forum

18. Innovative Communication Systems for Situational Awareness during Crises

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Presenter: Mr. Hassan Abouwafia, Senior Manager Wireless Business Development, Alcatel-LucentMr. Hassan Abouwafia, Senior Manager Wireless Business Development, Alcatel-Lucent presentation

Thursday, 30 April 2015, 14:30-15:00

Situational Awareness (SA) during Crises requires Communication Systems able to timely provide to authorities and citizens all the information they need for the perception,  comprehension and projection of the situation.

This session presented the experience of a multiyear Research program (and relevant field trials) focused on Emergency Telecommunications carried out by Alcatel-Lucent, where the requirements for SA during different types of crises have been assessed: hydro-geological calamities, earthquake, volcano eruption, air pollution, terroristic attacks… On the basis of these requirements the proper strategy / approach for effective “Communications with Communities” has been assessed and gradually implemented. The outcome has been an innovative Communication System  that can be used for several applications for humanitarian response and to bring benefits to communities. Specific models are being assessed in order to facilitate the access to the solution from all the countries, in order to use it for humanitarian aid.

Mr. Hassan Abouwafia, Senior Manager Wireless Business Development, Alcatel-Lucent

Mr. Hassan Abouwafia, Senior Manager Wireless Business Development, Alcatel-LucentAs Senior Manager Wireless Business Development, Alcatel-Lucent, Hassan works with a regional team to define and develop Wireless/LTE business strategy and opportunities throughout META towards carrier customers; to support Key account teams in penetrating new Wireless/LTE segments.

Prior to his current position at Alcatel-Lucent, Hassan held various positions in Project Management, Marketing, Sales and Business development functions across service providers’ and equipment vendors’ domains. Hassan has more than 15 years’ experience in telecommunications, He holds a Bachelor degree in Telecommunications Engineering and Master’s degree in Engineering Management. Hassan has been appointed as official speaker in various Telecommunication conferences across Middle East & Africa, as well as some personal appointments for delivering Technology lectures for the American University in Cairo, Helwan University & IEEE

Links to related material:
UE Research Project with Alcatel-Lucent: ESS-Emergency Support System

19. Citizen Engagement During a Crisis

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Mr. Tom Malanfant, CSR Product Manager, Motorola SolutionsPresenter: Mr. Tom Malanfant, CSR Product Manager, Motorola Solutions

Thursday, 30 April 2015, 15:40-16:10

Communities all across the globe are being faced with more frequent crisis-type events ranging from major weather events such as hurricanes or large-scale disease outbreaks such as Ebola in Africa.  Citizens need to feel as safe as possible during these events and staying connected provides some comfort as communities prepare, react and respond to these emergencies. Communities are sharing more and more information with citizens to enable them to make better decisions during these critical moments.

Technologies today allow communities to keep citizens engaged and connected by utilizing best practices in communication, emergency preparedness and response, thereby satisfying the ever increasing thirst for information through multiple channels which can assist in keeping residents safer as they plan and respond to these events.

This session explored technologies and best practices that are used in the municipal space and how they may apply in humanitarian and disaster response scenarios.

Mr. Tom Malanfant, CSR Product Manager, Motorola Solutions

Mr. Tom Malanfant, CSR Product Manager, Motorola SolutionsTom has been a Senior Product Planner with Motorola for approximately 5 years.  Prior to joining Motorola, Tom worked for over 25 years in Municipal Government and was Manager of the Customer Service Division for the City of Windsor, Ontario Canada which included the City of Windsor’s 211/311 Call Centre.  He has facilitated customer service sessions for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Strategic Institute Summit on Municipal Government, numerous National and Provincial conferences as well as many Municipalities throughout Ontario.

Tom was a member of a team of Customer Service Leaders from across North America who assembled at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard to study the history of 311 and identify ways to further enhance and sustain the 311 service throughout North America.

Tom is a graduate of both St Clair College and the University of Windsor and also holds a Level 3 designation as a Certified Municipal Manager from the Ontario Municipal Management Institute.

Link to related material:
Motorola Solutions