Inveneo Ebola Crisis Archives

Partnership Expands ICT Support for Ebola Fight in West Africa

  1. Posted by Jana Melpolder on January 21, 2015 in the categories: Events, External, News, Press

DAVOS, SwitzerlandJan. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — NetHope, a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations, announced today a partnership with Facebook, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Cisco, EveryLayer and Inveneo to expand their support for effective communications capabilities to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and promote sustainable recovery in the region.

The joint Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) will deliver high-speed broadband Internet access to Ebola responders based in hundreds of Ebola treatment facilities, NGO offices, and additional logistical hubs in Sierra LeoneLiberia and Guinea. Reliable communications capacity is an essential tool for response organizations combating the outbreak, which has killed more than 8,600 people according the World Health Organization. Slow, unreliable access to the Internet remains a major challenge for coordinating the Ebola relief effort, particularly in some of the hardest hit areas that lack any form of high-speed broadband. Existing networks have also been strained by the influx of relief workers and agencies in the region, increasing demand on the already fragile infrastructure. Effective ICT capacity enables rapid access and exchange of information, real-time case management and contact tracking, outbreak mapping, community mobilization, and supply and logistics management.

“Effective communications and information sharing is simply fundamental to the work of our teams and local partners fighting this complex emergency in West Africa,” said Nigel Chapman, CEO of Plan International, a global humanitarian organization providing community-based health centers, public health information campaigns, medical and food supplies, and training for health workers in West Africa. “The ability of our teams to access and share information in real time is not simply a matter of greater efficiency — it simply saves lives.”

The ERCI expands on the participating organizations’ support for rapid-deployment communications solutions delivered to West Africa in late 2014 to meet immediate needs on the ground. That initial support for Ebola response organizations included:

  • Facebook’s donation of 100 satellite terminals to provide emergency connectivity to high-priority locations within Ebola affected countries
  • Connectivity accelerator funds provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to increase existing connectivity at 45 locations, many of which will serve as connectivity distribution sites for ERCI
  • These initial deployments have provided emergency communications capability to more than 25 NetHope member NGOs and other response organizations with more than 3,000 staff and volunteers working on the frontlines of the crisis

“As we’ve worked together in recent months to support the connectivity needs of response organizations and impacted communities, there has been a clear recognition by all involved of two central facts: the scope of the challenge is enormous and communications capacity is essential for virtually every Ebola response related intervention,” said NetHope CEO Lauren Woodman. “This unique collaboration among global leaders in technology, philanthropy and the NGO sector harnesses their combined commitment, innovation and expertise to meet the immense challenges in both the short and long term.”

The joint initiative will significantly expand the scope and sustainability of the communications capacity, supporting thousands of response workers and ultimately millions of individuals through:

  • Deployment and operation of additional infrastructure and equipment in the impacted countries through support from Facebook and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. This will be based on the priority needs of NetHope NGO members and other response organizations with a focus on shared services with local partners and long-term benefit for local communities.
  • Data analysis on connectivity in the impacted countries, conducted by Facebook’s Data Science Team. This includes working closely with NetHope and mobile network operators to map locations that have the geographic need for Internet connectivity and the technological capability to provide it.
  • On-site hotspot equipment and financial support from Cisco Meraki, that enables responders to connect laptops, phones and tablets to improve all communications related to the relief effort.
  • The broadband solution, architected by EveryLayer and deployed by Inveneo and its certified partners, is based on a combination of extending satellite technology and strengthening existing service provider networks with carrier-grade Wi-Fi technology. The network can be deployed at a lower cost and on a faster time horizon than traditional mobile networks.
  • Partnerships with local mobile network operators and improvements to local infrastructure will ensure that communities have access to long-term, low-cost connectivity beyond the short-term Ebola relief effort.

“The Internet can be an enabler for basic needs like healthcare, and we are seeing that firsthand with Ebola response efforts,” said Chris Weasler, Facebook’s Director of Global Connectivity. “The communications capacity that we are implementing with this extraordinary partnership is one step in supporting the work that the doctors, nurses and health professionals have bravely led in West Africa. We believe that ERCI can deliver critical tools, talent and resources to help those on the front lines access and send lifesaving information and stay in touch with their families and friends at home. By providing courageous medical professionals with the right support, we hope to encourage others to follow their path and fight the spread of this disease.”

“From the early stages of this crisis we recognized the need for connectivity and data collection in containing and ultimately stopping Ebola,” said Gabrielle Fitzgerald, Ebola Program Lead for the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “Working together we can build an infrastructure that will have an immediate impact as well as long-term effect to help the countries recover once this crisis is over.”

“Every day, we see people face seemingly overwhelming issues. Working with partners, using our expertise and technology, we can help respond to critical human needs. We do this through Cisco’s employees and our technology; bringing people together to tackle global challenges faster,” said Tae Yoo, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs. “By providing the resources, the technology and the experience to address the connectivity demands of the first responders, aid organizations and governments, we hope to multiply the positive impact of connecting the experts who are working tirelessly toward a breakthrough in the fight against the spread of this disease.”

“High-speed, reliable Internet access is a key lever to stopping the spread of Ebola,” said Mark Summer, CEO and Co-founder of EveryLayer. “An additional benefit to ERCI’s approach is that once we’ve won the fight against Ebola, the broadband infrastructure and partnerships will stay in place and continue to deliver high-speed Internet to local businesses and customers, which will help communities thrive for years to come.”

“ICT is an important tool in combating Ebola. Inveneo is excited to build out key communication infrastructure to support needed ICT tools. We are leveraging our local partners in country to assure locally trained personnel support the effort and to provide long-term sustainability,” said Bruce Baikie, Executive Director of Inveneo.

About the ERCI Partners 

About Facebook
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jo Lynn Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the Foundation has awarded over $446 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The Foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.

About EveryLayer
EveryLayer (formerly Volo Broadband) enables broadband service providers (ISPs and Mobile Network Operators) in emerging markets to provide radically lower cost high-speed services in weeks, not months. EveryLayer’s cloud-based ISP network and service automation platform simplifies how providers design and manage fixed wireless networks, set up and provision services, and serve and bill customers. EveryLayer’s expert team provides technical and commercial design blueprints and training, enabling service providers to gain skills to rapidly deploy lower cost fixed wireless networks and broadband services using carrier grade last-mile WiFi networking technologies. EveryLayer is the partner for service providers who are ready to deliver better, faster, cheaper broadband everywhere.

About Inveneo
Inveneo is a non-profit social enterprise that delivers the tools of technology – sustainable computing and broadband – to those who need it most in the developing world, to transform lives through better education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and faster relief. Inveneo is leveraging more than 10 years of experience of successfully introducing technology and expanding connectivity to underserved areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to implement this project.

About NetHope
Founded in 2001, NetHope is a consortium of 42 leading international humanitarian organizations providing emergency relief, human development and conservation programs in more than 180 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, NetHope enables members to leverage their technology investments to better serve their end beneficiaries.

 

SOURCE NetHope

RELATED LINKS
http://www.nethope.org

Inveneo Welcomes a New Project Manager to the Team

  1. Posted by Jana Melpolder on December 12, 2014 in the categories: News

Inveneo is happy to welcome our newest staff member, Kelly Doley, who recently joined the team as the Project Manager. Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge to the Inveneo environment. Kelly DoleyHe previously worked as a Program Officer for USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) in South Sudan, where he served on the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for 8 months following the eruption of conflict in December 2013. In South Sudan, Kelly co-managed USAID/OFDA’s humanitarian assistance portfolio, supporting the relief efforts of over 20 U.N. and NGO partners.

Kelly will be working as Project Manager for the Ebola Response Connectivity Initiative (ERCI) that we recently launched this past week. Our team will be sending several engineers and contractors to Accra, Ghana for several weeks to work in partnership with technicians from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Throughout the next few months we will be creating new Internet connections for medical centers located in Ebola-ridden communities. Kelly will be working with our team to manage the project and take numerous safety measures to ensure that our team and partners are safe and use best health practices to avoid Ebola contamination.

Mr. Doley will also be managing the Internet Now! and Ethiopia READ projects. We are very excited to have him on board and look forward to watching our projects grow in impact with his help and support. Welcome to our newest member, Kelly! We’re so glad you joined the team!

Key ICT Features in UNICEF’S Response to Fighting Ebola

  1. Posted by Jana Melpolder on November 6, 2014 in the categories: News
CIMG2174

Dr. Kerida McDonald (standing, right) and Regional Director Emily Brouwer (standing, left) address several attendees and board members.

International organizations like UNICEF are no stranger to dealing with devastating medical outbreaks like the ongoing Ebola crisis happening in West Africa, which has already claimed almost 5,000 lives. To engage local supporters, UNICEF recently hosted a speaker luncheon in San Francisco to explain the powerful work they have been doing on the ground throughout Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The main speaker was Dr. Kerida McDonald, the UNICEF Senior Advisor for Communication for Development (C4D). A doctor who called in then followed her presentation via Skype from Accra, Ghana, to give an update on UNICEF’s work at the forefront of the crisis.

How is UNICEF utilizing technology to help make an impact?

1. Understanding the Unique Media Norms of a Culture

Liberia and other West African countries have their own flavor of pop music and media preferences that may surprise some western relief organizations. For example, Liberia’s broadest form of media is radio, not television. To bring communities accurate information on Ebola and how to avoid the disease from spreading, UNICEF has been using media like radio programming, partnerships with media producers, and community cinema nights (for those who don’t have televisions). UNICEF leaders are continuously paying special attention to what individual communities need and what kind of media outlets they are already using.

mobilephone_africa22. Sending Out SMS Messages

UNICEF’s C4D response is also sent via SMS messages. Large numbers of people already use cell phones in West Africa, and to utilize this UNICEF has created a long list of a text messages available in three countries in 18 different languages. This method of communication engages whole communities because individual cell phone users will share the accurate medical information to neighbors, family members, and friends.

3. Cultural Sensitivity and the Need for More Technology

A large problem that health care workers are experiencing in Ebola-ridden communities is the cultural practice of touching bodies while funerals take place. It is common for many different populations to want to continue this practice, but for the sake of the health of family members and communities, this cannot continue. UNICEF is working hard with interfaith relief organizations as well as community leaders to find culturally sensitive solutions to this ongoing problem.

Making cultural changes are always at the grassroots level, which emphasizes the need for accurate medical information to be in the hands of aid workers so they can disseminate it to communities. Technology is essential and tablets, smartphones, or other WiFi-enabled devices need to be sent to West African communities. Inveneo is currently doing that – learn how you can help make this possible.

CIMG2137UNICEF’s C4D response is becoming increasingly more vital as those infected with Ebola continue to suffer. Regional C4D officers are on the ground working in Liberia to breakdown the walls of misconceptions, issues of denial that one can get sick, and the stigma and discrimination that Ebola victims sometimes face.

Many thanks to Ian Rosenfield, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Northwest Board Chair, Emily Brouwer, Regional Director, Linda Naugle, Director, and the entire Northwest staff who hosted the speaker event in San Francisco. Learn more and how you can help make a difference by visiting the U.S. Fund for UNICEF website.

 

Note: The official photographer of this event was Federica Armstrong. Her photos are not featured above, but you can find her incredible portfolio at www.federicaarmstrong.com