In our latest experience, we have found out that new technologies increased the capacity for affected communities, diaspora groups and ordinary citizens to access, communicate and disseminate useful and actionable information, and also demand accountability.
@tedxdeusto from our point of view not so much because the MDG are UNDP not UNOCHA but I think it's a very good question. Part of the answer is also that everyone is only just waking up to how essential connectivity - not just information and communication - is essential to commmunity self organisation and resilience. So I hope things will move in the direction you suggest.
True, @aidlabs & AxelleBasselet--when done correctly, new technology deployment can lead to greater transparency & accountability.
However, managing expectations is also key: It's important not to raise hopes excessively re. what community-based reporting can actually achieve. Change may be slow to happen, even/especially in disasters.
One of the challenges with large-scale information-sharing is that it can lead to high expectations of immediate aid response; this is not always possible, however.
At Internews we think that independent local media can improve humanitarian relief and enable people in the midst of crisis to take an active role in their own survival and recovery. Local media is commonly known and trusted by local people, speak the same language, are deeply familiar with local politics and culture, and are often also victims of the disaster.
@axelle - yes - exactly. Connectivity is key to everything: self organisation, sourcing information, sharing information, expressing views, finding help.
Yes. But information sharing - ie, comm as aid - can also help mitigate people's expectations.
Absolutely @Axelle and the report from Japan earthquake greatly illustrates that point
@Rachel Houghton. True; expectations can be raised or managed, depending on the type/nature of information being shared. In our view, this is why messaging must be *very* carefully crafted before content is sent out.
Connectivity ISN'T just about social media and phones. It's about regular media too. It's about restoring the ways in which people share information, whatever they are. But all the evidence suggests that phones are increasingly important. In Kenya, for example, they are already the tool through which many listen to the radio - not traditional receivers. And in 10 years, that's how people will be receiving moving pictures too.
@libbypowell. Yes. Connectivity and commmunication, not just one way information broadcast.
The disaster in Haiti demonstrated that local radio is vital for survivors, and that combined with mobile technology and social media, it truly became a lifeline for audiences. In this hyper-connected world, and with over 5 billion mobile phones, the single piece of technology that has proved to work the best in emergency response is local radio.
@ Jacob: The important thing about the message library is that its use encourages coordination. This database encourages different clusters and agencies to work together in a coordinated fashion to deliver the messages. This is because they must first discuss what and where the threats are, who is at risk, who is the target audience and how the messages need to be contextualised, depending on the situation on the ground. Moreover, the message library indicates how messages link across clusters in an attempt to reduce the silo effect commonly associated with the cluster system.
The trust in the source of information is essential when disaster strikes. That is why community radios become lifelines. This demonstrates the important of local media professional capacity building.
@axelle. yes. But what is a radio? you need to think about lots of aspects. Can the station function technicall? Are the journalists surviving themselves (do they need food/water/aid)? Can they get the information they need from us? Do they have the tools they need? Otherwise they can't broadcast. And if they can broadcast, do the survivors have radios? or are they listening through their phones? do they NEED radios? You have to think about all stages of the process, not just delivery of messages.
@Rachel Houghton yes, libraries are good--and they can definitely save time. We also need to be prepared for evolving content needs, though--and that's where the challenge of message creation can arise.
@Vsevolod we do not have programmes in Russia. Please get in touch.
@Axelle Basselet--I agree. Trust is critical. If community members don't trust the content they're receiving, they'll simply disregard it. In our projects, we work hard to ensure that content is branded in partnership with trusted, well known agencies/community entities--so that when people receive a text, they know it's from a reliable source.
We're moving into the last 15 minutes of this fascinating debate