The age of real-time has changed media, humanitarian aid and my life’s path. I am a community manager and communications emergency/incident manager by trade who also volunteers with digital crisis response. Social Media Week has provided great opportunities to attend events in person or participate virtually. Today I am attending OpenUN and digging into how media and crisis response organizations work with open data, real-time data and digital media changes. The way we obtain news and participate in our local and global communities is evolving. It is exciting to have my career and volunteer work merge. And, also to have the chance to learn and engage online.
Robert Kilpatrick presented about UN Global Pulse and how they are working to embrace real-time information for development. He cited the opportunity for the use of citizen reporting and how the UN is researching how to collaborate with digital volunteers and communities of interest. Some of my favourite quotes from his keynote:
Today is World Humanitarian Day. They honour us and the world with their self-less efforts to make the world a better place.
There are 9 main NGOs clusters that work in places of crisis. These groups are designated by the United Nations via Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). I’ve met some amazing volunteers and staff who work on the various teams.
First, clusters dealing with service provision:
a) Logistics, chaired by the World Food Programme (WFP); and
b) Emergency Telecommunications, chaired by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as process owner, with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as the common data communications service provider and WFP as the common security telecommunications service provider.
Second, clusters dealing with relief and assistance to beneficiaries:
c) Emergency Shelter, chaired by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (for conflict-generated IDPs)
d) Health, chaired by the World Health Organisation (WHO);
e) Nutrition, chaired by UNICEF
f) Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, chaired by UNICEF. (WASH)
Third, clusters covering cross-cutting issues:
g) Early Recovery, chaired by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);
h) Camp Coordination and Camp Management, chaired by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (for conflict-generated Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs]) and by the International Organization for Migration (for natural disasters); and
i) Protection, chaired by UNHCR (for conflict-generated IDPs).