Using new technologies to foster information systems in complex emergencies

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Presentation given at the Communication with Disaster Affected Communities Network Conference in London in 2012.

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  • Hello my name is Anahi Ayala Iacucci and I work for Internews Network as Media Innovation Advisor for the Africa Region. Internews is an international media development organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard.
  • In January 2011 Internews create an Innovation Center for Research and Learning with the scope to harness the potential of digital technologies and innovative approaches to better meet the information needs of communities around the world. The Center aimed at becoming a hub to inform and engage others in the fields of media, information technology and development.
  • But why and organization that deals with Media decided to create an Innovation Center? The reason is that while some time ago media was the main channel for information collection, sharing and distribution around the world, today the landscape is a bit different. Media is not anymore then only actor and the landscape of information systems looks like this one. Media is not anymore the only actor and the focus needs to shift from traditional media to alternative information systems.
  • In August 2011, Internews led a communication and information needs assessment conducted with Radio Ergo/International Media Support (IMS), Star FM of Kenya and with support from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). This assessment aimed at understanding the information needs of refugees in Dadaab and exploring ways to improve the flow of communication between refugees, aid agencies, and host communities.
  • Our goal was to better understand and document the local information ecosystem (i.e. how the information flows, the main and most trusted sources of information, the local media scene, how people share information: it is radio, phone, friends and family, TV…), and provide humanitarian agencies, ourselves, and radio stations with recommendations to communicate better, 2-way, with affected communities.
  • The assessment team trained a group of local volunteers from NRC, young men and women, on using smart phones with data collection software designed by Episurveyor to conduct the interviews for the survey. This was a pilot, and we wanted to get rid of stacks of papers and hundreds of questionnaires and, more importantly, be able to provide data and analysis in real time.
  • “Do we collectively know what the so-called beneficiaries, what their problems are or what they really think and want? We need to include them in the conversation. Otherwise we are blindly assuming we know the right answers.”
  • Using new technologies to foster information systems in complex emergencies

    1. 1. Using new technologies to foster information systems in complex emergencies Anahi Ayala Iacucci Media Innovation Advisor Internews
    2. 2. Why an Innovation Center in a media organization?
    3. 3. Central African Republic
    4. 4. Putting local media in the center COMMUNITIES LOCAL AUTOHORITIES (gov/churches) HUMANITARIAN COMMUNITY COMMUNITY RADIO
    5. 5. Getting information in..and out
    6. 6. “Technologies” used
    7. 7. Humanitarian Media: Dadaab, Kenya
    8. 8. The technology
    9. 9. Where is the humanitarian community?
    10. 10. Be ready, do not be scared!
    11. 11. Lessons Learned Keep it real and simple Invest in local capacity, local innovation and local technology The most innovative project is the one that will work even when the technology will not Go back to the basics: human interactions!
    12. 12. Innovation comes from within Information comes from within People will find ways to communicate no matter what
    13. 13. Do not re-invent the wheel! Anahi Ayala Iacucci Media Innovation Advisor @anahi_ayala aayala@internews.org

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