Presented on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 at "Mobile Technology & Social Change" by Michelle Fanzo of Four Corners Consulting. Event was organized by the New York Technology Council and held at Microsoft. www.nytech.org
Sahanahelped plot the location of medical infrastructure by asking Haiti-based volunteers to help in discerning their precise coordinates from raw data. Commonly called crowdsourcing, this was a key feature of Ushahidias well, which used volunteers based in the US to sift through thousands of SMS’s from the ground in order to prioritize and categorize incoming information. The non-profit media outfit Internews and Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Emergency Information Service helped humanitarian agencies communicate directly with those affected through a local network of radio stations and SMS feedback from victims. UN andUS Southern Command use SMS, Twitter and other internet based solutions as well.
Data is captured by a visiting health assistant and sent via mobile phone to Cell Life offices, where the information is uploaded to a database.- Goals; all at a much more affordable rate than in a hospital, and in a much more accessible way than asking patients to get themselves to a clinic for a check up.
Manysm farms = livlihood; 5,000 elephants .north central Kenya known as worst area for such conflict. both of whom benefit from tourism. Meanwhile, communities suffer. Farmers get killed. Elephants get speared or poisoned."
The situation: Due to location and geological characteristics, Panama is exposed to very intense and long lasting rainfalls, windstorms, floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, tropical cyclones, tsunamis and El Niño-La Niña episodes. Who’s at risk? High proportion of the low-income population lives in areas most exposed to natural hazards and resides in inadequately built structures. What’s needed?: an affordable system to keep local communities informed during disaster, facilitate communication, evacuation, and avoid loss of life. What happened?: Set up an early warning system with simple technology: mobile phone, radio broadcasts, light systems. Monitored weather and water conditions, sent data to central place. 2 pronged: local and central, info over radio.
The situation: in poor countries in northwest Africa drought and desertification are making it very hard to grown food. Increasing costs of food mean more people cannot afford it = food insecurity. In Mauritania: Sahara desert is advancing 3 miles per year; increased crop failures, wind erosion, reduction of tree and grass vegetation, and depletion of the water table. Who’s at risk? Poor Liberians: 41% classified as food insecure and chronic malnutrition levels estimated at 42%. Two-thirds of food is imported and 64% of the population lives on $1 per day or less. What’s needed?: improve understanding of food access situation by developing an integrated, centralized approach to data collection, and to allow more players to participate and understand what is being done. What happened?: 36 food markets around Mauritania, and many as well in Liberia, are monitored for food prices, and food availability. Data sent my SM Sot central database. Government and NGOs see the data, can see trends and upcoming shortages to target humanitarian interventions – what exactly is need, how much. Data is about to be made available on website for public access.
The situation: Many people live in rural areas with exceptionally bad roads, or no roads, and hospitals are few and far between. People’s access to healthcare is limited and when emergency car is needed, it is often out of reach for people on many levels. Who’s at risk? Women of childbearing age: 2nd highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Children under five: frail, under nourished, often heart and respitory failure. What’s needed: transport to hospital. In the absence of anything like an ambulance service we had to find local solutions for transport and alerting the hospital that someone was coming. Basically filling the gaps in a nearly non-existent system. What happened?: Got phones from Afghan telecom; showed people how to use them. First mistake: didn’t think about short vs. long term need/thinking (phone card/car). Didn’t alert hospital. Then did, but didn’t think about limited capacity of hospital. Didn’t consider the scope of the problem. Need a system, and way to keep it going.
How Telecom Tools Address Some of the World's Toughest Challenges
How telecom tools addresssome of the worlds toughest challenges: OR HOW MY PHONE SAVED THE WORLD
How mobile tech makes a differenceAreas in international development and humanitarian assistance where mobile tech is used: to provide a rapid and coordinated response to emergencies and disasters; to develop health data systems that help combat disease; and as an agent or tool for international development activities.
Emergencies and disaster relief: Haiti Ushahidi: a platform first used in Kenya that allows anyone to gather distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or timeline. Was first to deploy its platform in Haiti to determine the needs of victims and other relief and aid requirements on the ground. Sahana: a Sri Lankan engineered web based collaboration tool designed to address common coordination problems among actors involved in relief work - was also quick to deploy its platform in Haiti.
Health: Cell-Life in South Africa Uses mobile phones for home care of AIDS patients receiving ART treatments. Mobile tech facilitates individual patient care, but also builds a database of information on the severity and prevalence of the AIDS epidemic by region used for prevention and improved treatment. Goals: reduce treatment errors, increase the volume of patient data, and increase comfort for the patients,
International development Conflict prevention and management: SMS system collected alerts about violent outbreaks during civil unrest during Kenyan elections a few years ago. Provided real-time info about actual and planned attacks between rival ethnic and political groups. Resolve human-wildlife conflict in Africa: small farms, big elephants. More than 3,000 incidents occur annually in northern Kenya. Mobile comm. inexpensively pinpoints the elephants location (tags) and text messages the coordinates back to a central location.
International development Panama: disaster risk management: The situation: country prey to massive rainfalls, windstorms, floods, droughts, wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, tropical cyclones, tsunamis and El Niño episodes. Who’s at risk? Many people live in areas exposed to natural hazards. What’s needed?: an affordable system to keep local communities informed during disaster, facilitate communication, evacuation, and avoid loss of life. What happened?: Set up an early warning system with mobile phone, radio broadcasts, light systems. Monitored weather and water conditions, sent data to central place.
International development Liberia and Mauritania: Food Security and mobile tech: The situation: drought and desertification are making it very hard to grown food = massive food shortages. Who’s at risk? Poor Liberians: 41% food insecure; 42% chronic malnutrition. 2/3 of food is imported; 64% of the population lives on $1 per day or less. What’s needed?: early warning of food situation by developing centralized data collection. What happened?: food markets monitored for food prices and availability. Data sent by SMS to central database. Government and NGOs see the data, can target interventions
International development Afghanistan: emergency health access: The situation: access to emergency healthcare is very limited. Who’s at risk? All, especially pregnant women and children under five. What’s needed: transport to hospital. Wanted to fill communication gap with phone. What happened?: didn’t think about short vs. long term need/thinking (phone card/car). Didn’t alert hospital, or think about limited capacity of hospital.
Trends/ Benefits/ Shortcomings Trends: How UN/ NGO staff use mobile tech: voice calls, text messaging, mapping, data analysis and inventory management, photo and video, data collection or transfer, and multi-media messaging. Benefits: real-time response, access, affordability, accountability, transparency, public participation. Shortcomings: can facilitate change, but change to what? Need context for info receiving, need to standardize reporting, open data sharing policies, sustainability, training, cost.
What’s it all mean? Sharing knowledge = power Who’s paying, who’s benefiting, who’s controlling the info? Burma: biggest BarCamp in the world yesterday.