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Information management within any organisation is often a challenge, but in the immediate aftermath a disaster, reliable information is an even greater challenge resulting in incomplete and/or inaccurate data being the norm.  This lack of rigorous data hinders the ability of aid agencies to understand and anticipate the rapidly changing needs of affected population, predict the required scale of a response and limits robust engagement with stakeholders such as affected communities, donors, media and UN/peer agencies resulting in operational and organisational risks and significant loss of funding.  People who have been affected by the disaster often also lack reliable information from information sources they trust, which worsens their experience as they try to make sense of their new reality and rebuild their lives.

The Speed Evidence Project seeks to create an information management portal, customisable for any aid agency, that is designed to improve the ability of response teams to spend more time assisting communities, while also improving information flows from the frontline to the whole organisation and between the organisation and the affected communities.  The vision of the project is to help create a future where staff are trained and equipped to collect, validate, consolidate, analyse, and present reliable contextual evidence from multiple internal (Response teams) and external (communities, social media) sources within the first week of a rapid onset emergency to deliver more effective, contextualised responses.  This would allow aid actors to leverage their unparalleled reach with relevant and timely data.

Being awarded the HIF funding has been an encouragement to the Speed project team, who have been working on the side to get the concept this far.  There are lots of obstacles to this project being a success as information is powerful thing, which many people want access to, but are often hesitant to share what information they have.

Disaster information raises all kinds of issues regarding:

– Who owns the information?

– Who has access to the information?

– How secure is the information?

We don’t have all the answers to these questions, but are sharing our thoughts into the ongoing global debate on this topic.

Progress made so far:

– Established Internal World Vision Steering Group with members from across the global partnership bringing a wide range of perspectives, skills, and wisdom to the project.

– Increasing demand from National and Regional Offices and some Global Centre departments to use mobile phones for assessments and surveys.

– Increasing demand from National Offices and some responses for greater skills in digital mapping of operations and information.

– Contracts have been signed with both Tech partners – Ushahidi & SMAP.   Both partners are in the process of building the first iteration of the prototype, which should be available in mid-July

– Initial design mockups of the Speed Evidence Prototype have been created – the homepage is below

We are excited to see some momentum building around the project and feel that the best is yet to come.  We’d love to hear from you about how your organisation could use an information portal like Speed Evidence, so do drop us a line (Madara_Hettiarachchi@wvi.org).

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