Communication is aid. Data and information, can lead to better communication, coordination, and, potentially, decisions during humanitarian responses. Across the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, there are many examples of community engagement with data and information flows changing our work. This week at the Red Cross Red Crescent Forum (RC2), there will be topical discussions, innovations, and activities lead by the National Societies highlighting the current work and future plans across the global movement. Data Leaders will feature their work and those of the wider network in two sessions. There will also be an information management booth in the exhibition hall. The event participation is for Red Cross and Red Crescent delegations. Here is a spotlight the data and information management activities:

From Small to Big Data

How is data used across the movement for humantarian action? What are some of the opportunities and risks involved?  What are the types of teams and competencies needed to build a data ready Red Cross Red Crescent? What will it take to implement and incorporate large and small data flows into our work? These are hefty questions that will be shared with examples of data use in migration, health, and disaster preparedness. The conversation will be lead by the Spanish Red Cross (Raquel Bernedo Pardal), Netherlands Red Cross (510 Global) (Stefania Giodini), IFRC (Rene Nielsen) and our guest, UN Global Pulse (Jonggun Lee).

Raquel Berendo prepared this map depicting Mobile Data projects  in 75 countries (mobile data tools include OpenDataKit, Kobo Toolbox, Magpi and more).  It is great to see just how widespread this methodology is across the 190 National Societies. Did we miss a Red Cross Red Cross Mobile Data project country? Let us know!

mobile data across the movement

Missing Maps – Putting People on the Map

Working in Malawi’s most remote areas, I experienced how many people are unaccounted for and how vulnerable this makes them. By creating maps we are including these people into the data revolution“, Niel de Jong, GIS expert with (Netherlands Red Cross)

Simon Tembo, Malawi Red Cross Gis lead: …in our country we do not have enough information. We know for sure for planning purposes that it is very important to have data available.

Missing Maps is a program aimed at putting the most vulnerable places on the map to support humanitarian action.  The partnership includes American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, IFRC and the Netherlands Red Cross among many other humanitarian groups. Since 2014 over 38, 000 contributors have added over 38 Million edits of mainly roads and buildings. “The power of Missing Maps is connecting volunteer communities to collaborate on creating operationally useful map data. The community is driven by Humanitarian purpose and community principles to support operations as effectively as we can.” Andrew Braye, Maps Team Lead, British Red Cross.

In this RC2 session, the American Red Cross (Ms. Rebecca Streifler, Executive Director, International Services) and Zimbabwe Red Cross (Secretary General, Mr. Phiri) will provide an overview of the project impact, successes, and future.

The BBC recently published a podcast all about Missing Maps. The conversation starts in a London Mapathon co-hosted by the British Red Cross and follows the data trail to a disaster preparedness project in Malawi. In the village of Chawesa, Simon Tembo (Malawi Red Cross) and Niel de Jong ( Red Cross) share about the process of map data to information:

Listen to the full BBC Podcast (23 minutes)


Information Management at IFRC

Data is flat unless it is used for Information Management. Across the Red Cross Red Crescent, there are GIS, Data Analysis, Information Management, and other roles supporting humanitarian action. Rene Nielsen, IFRC Information Management Lead, will host a booth about Information Management offerings. Many of the information products created by the IFRC Information Management team or the Surge Information Management Support Teams (Sims) are used directly in responses for decision-making.  In honour of this event,  the team created a large map of all the IFRC offices from country to cluster to regional offices.


IFRC Presence around the world.

Source: Map of IFRC presence created by Guido Pizzini (IFRC).

(Note: The RC2 sessions will not be recorded.  The teams will share details via social media.)