The training course
Groupe URD has been organising and running an ad hoc training course as part of the pilot project, “EU, Local and Online Volunteers: Key actors for inclusive humanitarian information-sharing in crisis preparedness” coordinated by France Volontaires. During three weeks, 26 volunteers have been trained by Groupe URD and its partners in preparation for their departure. The course covered the following topics: voluntary action, communication and inter-personal skills, the humanitarian sector and coordination, preparing to go, analysing crisis contexts and humanitarian programmes, and finally, cartography and information sharing. This training course has been run prior to their six-month deployment to four African countries, namely Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad and Kenya.
More information about the Eurosha project
In many countries routinely affected by crises, there is very little geographic information available on impoverished, crisis-stricken areas (e.g. slums, etc.). Information and knowledge about emergency relief actors in the field (international NGOs, but also local organisations, national authorities, etc.) also tend to be insufficient and rarely available to the public. In times of crisis, maps tend to become obsolete, either due to damage, or population movement, etc.
Immediately after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, local and international volunteers started working together, using open-source software and new technologies, to re-create the map of the greater Port-au-Prince area, and to locate emergency relief actors on this map. Humanitarian actors have recognised that this type of enterprise can greatly facilitate the identification of humanitarian needs and the adequate delivery of relief, provided volunteers are appropriately trained and humanitarian principles respected. Collective efforts between local and international volunteers and citizens have also demonstrated that there can be synergies between local and international actors of humanitarian aid, and that it is a priority to recognise the added value that local actors can bring to ensure the efficiency of aid.
Past experience – in Haiti, Japan, etc. – suggests that the efficiency of these information-sharing systems would be higher if they were implemented prior, and not simply as a response, to crisis.
In partnership with : France Volontaires, FOCSIV, Diaconia ECCB, Sloga, Groupe URD, SCD, OpenStreetMap France, ACRA, People in Peril and Sahana Software Foundation.