Dear partners, members, volunteers and supporters,
This 2015 year is ending with CartONG just being accepted as member of the Coordination Humanitaire & Développement: it is an honor, an opportunity, but also a challenge for us, and we hope to rise up to it to develop our future activities.
Joining one of the main coalitions of French NGOs working in international aid is a conclusion for a year full of novelties: CartONG’s permanent staff have grown, with several staff switching to long-term contracts for the first time. The board was also strengthened, with a reshaping of the responsibilities and a strategy to develop skills of its members. The last Get-together in Jarsy in the Bauges Mountains was in fact a great opportunity to gather staff and board for a very productive “Retreat Day” to brainstorm on the future of CartONG, and improve our internal communication.
This Get-Together also saw a record number in volunteers attending, with 35 participants! This allowed in-depth exchanges on the content but also the management of our volunteers’ projects and the integration of new members, in a context where we have several projects moving forward, which allowed in particular 3 field missions for volunteers this summer.
On the staff side, activities continued with our long-term partners: developing new tools for UNHCR, many deployments on various situations for MSF, supporting what is becoming a lively community of users within Terres des Hommes-CH after several trainings, etc. We also started projects with new partners and on new topics, particularly a research project on UAVs. The NOMAD workshop organized in January will be yet another opportunity to share with our partners the learnings of these multiple projects.
2016 is shaping up to be just as exciting, with another GeOnG conference on the topic of the impact of information management for NGOs and the future challenges we will face, the celebration of CartONG’s 10th anniversary, an probably the transfer to bigger offices. More space for the staff, and more strategic planning, which we will have to conduct in this context of growth of our association, in order to live up with our values and mission.
Last but not least, you will be able to explore our new website beginning of next year; we have designed it to be more user-friendly, better organized, and more beautiful!
Enjoy the end of year celebrations and see you next year!
GeOnG 2016– Impact of humanitarian IM: Lessons from the past, shaping the future
GeOnG is back! The forum of Geographic Information for Relief & development will take place in Chambéry from October 17-19th, 2016, created to be a moment of exchange, sharing of experience and learning together about innovative solutions.
After focusing on GIS for decision making (2008), new data collection technologies (2010), challenges and opportunities offered by the “cloud” (2012), as well as how to make data collection analysis-driven (2014), the 5th edition of our flagship event will center around the theme “Impact of humanitarian Information Management: Lessons from the past, shaping the future”.
We want to examine the impact of new innovative tools that have appeared in the past 20 years in the humanitarian field (GIS, GPS, mobile solutions, satellite imagery, UAVs…). Are they adding value to the activities and consequently to the impact of our partners in the field? How can we all build on the lessons learned these past years to improve the way we use technology?
2016 is also CartONG’s 10th anniversary, and we hope to see as many current & former staff, volunteers, partners and friends of CartONG as possible in Chambéry to celebrate it with us!
Our projects in 2015
- We continued the partnership with Doctors Without Borders-Switzerland and deployed 19 GIS officers to various countries this year, mainly to support epidemiological crisis: Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, but also to monitor cholera outbreaks in refugee camps (Tanzania), as well as meningitis (Niger) or measles outbreaks (Democratic Republic of Congo). Additionally, a GIS Officer was sent to assist in a natural disaster setting with the earthquake in Nepal. In parallel, we continued developing tools for the MSF’s GIS Unit, including improvements on their map centre, the creation of an online portfolio to showcase services MSF staff can request from the GIS Unit, webmapping & dashboard tools for knowledge and information management.... We also worked on several mobile tools, in particular Collector for ArcGIS, also connected to a common GIS database. Finally, we have published the second version of the case study on the Ebola outbreak GIS response, and we have contributed to develop a GIS strategy for the next five years. We were also nominated for the Health Award of the European Community for our work during the Ebola Outbreak.
- With the Public Health section of UNHCR, besides a continued support on their Mobile data collection (MDC) projects (SENS nutrition surveys, WASH Knowledge Attitudes and Practises surveys, trainings, forms improvement), we also started to test new tools, including the integration of mapping components in survey reporting. We also continued testing devices (phones & routers) and tools (MDC, SMS data collection apps) and benchmarked them.
- We worked with the Field Information and Coordination Support Section of UNHCR on creating a GIS strategy, developing webmapping tools and finalizing their map portal. We are also working on the topic of camp mapping, with a first field test in Rwanda, and more activities coming next year (using mobile & OSM technologies).
- The pilot platform developed for Danish Demining Group in Vietnam to inform on mine risks, including SMS reporting, a Ushahidi platform and a heatmap have been published. For DDG’s Ukraine project, we supported the development of a web platform for Mine Risk Education.
- After several trainings in West Africa for Terre des Hommes-Lausanne’s operations, we are currently supporting them in setting up an internal community of users around MDC and GIS, with shared training material, support in survey coding and deployments, using an internal discussion tool (Slack).
- We were activated by UNICEF’s Western and Central Africa Office to support a multi-cluster survey, conducted with UN OCHA, in Northern Nigeria. Community profiles were created through key informant interviews, on the WASH, shelter, education, security, as well as protection topics.
- We have started a new research project funded by ECHO, in partnership with Fondation Suisse de Déminage, the UAViator network and Zoi Environment, to consolidate knowledge on the use of drones in the humanitarian context. We published a survey to assess the perception of drones by humanitarian professionals, and are currently completing case studies of projects already implemented by various organizations (including the one we supported in Haiti). The first field activities will start in 2016.
- We continued our training cycles at the Bioforce humanitarian school in Lyon.
- We will organize a new NOMAD workshop in January 27-28th in Amman, Jordan, with our partner iMMAP and support from Solidarités and UNHCR. This will also be an opportunity to update the website & online tool and to extend our network of MDC solution providers.
Focus: supporting Solidarités International’s beneficiaries management data in CAR
In addition to the “hotline” implemented since the beginning of the year, we have been requested to implement a complex beneficiaries database for a multi-thematic (Food security, WASH, housing, protection) and multi-partners (with ACF and DRC) project lead by Solidarités.
We have improved the mobile data collection process and created workflows to detect semi-automatically double records amongst the 45,000 recorded households. We also created automated dashboards to streamline data analysis, and ultimately decision making.
This first mission in August comprised the training of local staff on the tools developed, training that will be continued during a follow-up deployment next year. And in the meantime, we’ll continue to support remotely via our “hotline”!
- In December we joined the Coordination Humanitaire & Développement, a coalition of French NGOs implementing field humanitarian projects. This will allow us to improve our visibility in the French aid context, to better understand the needs of our partners (we have already organized an informal “IM discussion group” with several organizations), and let’s hope induce new partnerships!
- After the success of this summer’s OSM training mission in Madagascar, the local OSM community is continuing its activities. We are currently thinking of how we can best support them in the future and develop new projects.
- The work on our various volunteers’ webmapping platform is advancing slowly but steadily: we should have a first version up and running of the platform for the National Committee against AIDS in Madagascar next year. Once completed, this will allow us to easily duplicate to other projects – which also leaves us a useful delay to process the many lessons learned from the exploratory mission on Atlas Solidarité Madagascar.
- We organized a training in September in Chambéry: sharing our experience of the emergency deployments for MSF, the objective was to introduce to the participants the procedures & tools of MSF’s GIS Unit and what it means to be a GIS officer in the field during a disaster response. The training received very enthusiastic reviews from participants (including members of MapAction, Missing Maps and British Red Cross GIS team) and we intend to repeat it!
- We continued our partnership with Université Paris I and presented CartONG during various events (GI_forum in Salzburg during which our poster was awarded, Social Good Week in Paris, Festival International de Géographie de Saint-Dié des Vosges, Semaine de l’Innovation publique, ESRI’s Forum SIG)
- We have been asked to support the local group of Niokolo Koba National Park guides in Senegal, who want to develop a mapping/GIS platform to improve knowledge on the Park for both scientists and tourists.
Focus: CartONG joins the Missing Maps project!
CartONG was officially accepted as member of the Missing Maps project in August. This initiative, started by the American Red Cross, British Red Cross, MSF-UK and the Humanitarian OSM Team, aims at putting the most vulnerable populations on the map. The project supports mapping on OpenStreetMap both remotely and in the field, to produce data that can be used by NGOs, governments or local communities.
We have already organized 4 mapathons in France (Chambéry x2, Paris, and Lyon, with already almost 100 participants) and intend to do much more next year! We plan to organize regular mapathons in as many cities as we can to create interest in the project – and increase the volume of OSM contributions – but we also would like to develop new activities, potentially connected to our other volunteer or staff projects (including mapping, training, etc.).
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