A wide variety of solutions are emerging to use digital technology to more widely engage people and communities directly through mobile devices and to ‘leapfrog’ the service and infrastructure gaps that still contribute to making communities vulnerable in many parts of the world.
- The guide on How to Use Social Media to Better Engage People Affected by Crises published by the ICRC, IFRC, and OCHA aims to provide practical guidance, both thematically and technically, good practices and lessons learned for those using social media in humanitarian organizations.
- The IFRC’s Social Media E-Learning Course provides a creative and engaging way to learn more about using social media communication to support vulnerable people before, during and after a disaster.
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- Community-based Surveillance using SMS — the IFRC, Norwegian Red Cross, Microsoft, and the Humanitarian Toolbox are partnering in the development of new tools that using text messages to enable community monitors to report changes in the pandemic or famine conditions and enable humanitarian response agencies to better respond. The partners sponsored a Codeathon in September 2017 to design an initial prototype, which is now being tested. Follow the progress and access the opensource code that is being developed at the project’s repository on Github.
U-Report citizen reporting — UNICEF has rolled out their U-Report citizen reporting tool, which enables interactive messaging via both SMS and social media through a common platform. UNICEF has also worked closely with other partners, including the Red Cross Red Crescent, through national steering committees to use the the U-Reports subscribed to the platform to provide quick survey feedback related to both chronic needs and emerging threats. The platform was used with good success in both the Ebola response in West Africa and the Zika response in Central America. The platform itself is available for use with UNICEF in the more than 40 countries where they have rolled it out or as an opensource that can be hosted and adapted by any interested organisation.
- Daily themes for messaging — The Kenyan Red Cross uses a series of themed days for the messaging component within its Kenyan Red Cross app. The days include:
- Motivational Monday – sharing leadership messages
- Tip Tuesday – with practical tips on preparedness ( this day gets the most engagement)
- Watch Wednesday – videos showing key projects
- Thoughtful Thursday – sharing noble actions to inspire others
- Photo of the Day (Friday) – sharing a highlighted photo to spur discussion
- [If you know of additional examples to share, send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.]