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30/01/2023 | Press release

The world is not ready for the next pandemic, warns the IFRC

Geneva, 30 January 2023—No earthquake, drought or hurricane in recorded history has claimed more lives than the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the world’s largest disaster response network, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The shocking death toll—estimated at more than 6.5 million people—has inspired the humanitarian organization to take a deep dive into how countries can prepare for the next global health emergency. Two groundbreaking reports released by the IFRC today, the World Disasters Report and the Everyone Counts Report, offer insights into successes and challenges over the past three years—and make recommendations for how leaders can mitigate tragedies of this magnitude in the future. Jagan Chapagain, IFRC’s Secretary General, remarks: “The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for the global community to prepare now for the next health crisis. Our recommendations to world leaders center around building trust, tackling inequality, and leveraging local actors and communities to perform lifesaving work. The next pandemic could be just around the corner; if the experience of COVID-19 won’t quicken our steps toward preparedness, what will?” The IFRC network reached more than 1.1 billion people over the past three years to help keep them safe from the virus. During that time, a theme that emerged repeatedly was the importance of trust. When people trusted safety messages, they were willing to comply with public health measures that sometimes separated them from their loved ones in order to slow the spread of the disease and save lives. Similarly, it was only possible to vaccinate millions of people in record time when most of them trusted that the vaccines were safe and effective. Those responding to crises cannot wait until the next time to build trust. It must be cultivated through genuinely two-way communication, proximity, and consistent support over time. In the course of their work, Red Cross and Red Crescent teams documented how the COVID-19 pandemic both thrived on and exacerbated inequalities. Poor sanitation, overcrowding, lack of access to health and social services, and malnutrition create conditions for diseases to spread faster and further. The world must address inequitable health and socio-economic vulnerabilities far in advance of the next crisis. In its Everyone Counts Report—which surveyed National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from nearly every country in the world—the IFRC found that teams were able to quickly respond to the pandemic because they were already present in communities and many of them had engaged in preparedness efforts, had prior experience responding to epidemics, and were strong auxiliaries to their local authorities. “Community-based organizations are an integral part of pandemic preparedness and response. Local actors and communities, as frontline responders, have distinct but equally important roles to play in all phases of disease outbreak management. Their local knowledge needs to be leveraged for greater trust, access, and resilience,” states Mr. Chapagain. “It has been a brutal three years, but we are releasing this research and making recommendations in an act of hope: The global community can learn lessons and do justice to this tragedy by being better prepared for future health emergencies.” The World Disasters Report offers six essential actions to prepare more effectively for future public health emergencies. The Everyone Counts Report highlights the need for accurate and relevant data in pandemic preparedness and response. Both are available to practitioners, leaders, and the public. Note to editors: Photos and b-roll available here Media contact: In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803 [email protected]

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23/04/2019 | Basic page


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29/11/2021 | Basic page

Data protection

Data protection, digital literacy and data responsibility are vital to the IFRC's work—especially as more and more people around the world start using digital technologies. Our Data Protection Office works closely with teams across our global network, and with our partners, to ensure we always manage data responsibly and safely.

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28/07/2020 | Article

RCRC Digital Consultation: Data Protection & Data Responsibility

What are the Digital Consultations The RCRC movement is hosting digital consultations to support and inform the Digital Pledge. The Digital Pledge was presented during the RCRC’s international conference held in late 2019, which set out a framework for the Movement’s Strategy 2030. Digital transformation is prioritized as one of seven transformations that the RCRC must embrace for the next decade. While digital technology can drive greater impact and efficiency in delivering humanitarian aid, it is accompanied by certain risks that need to be attended to. The Digital Pledge was signed by several members of the Movement committed themselves to strengthen national data and digital capacities for humanitarian action. One of its main components is data protection and data responsibility. Why these topics Data is increasingly collected and shared across the RCRC Movement (ICRC, IFRC and National Societies) at a speed never seen before, with the use of different technologies and tools and at donors and partners’ requests. At the same time, this entails higher risks of over-collection, misuse or loss of data. Every week, there is news of data breaches or inappropriate personal data handling by major companies. Companies whose tools we not only use for work, but that those we strive to aid and protect also commonly use as means of communication. Personal data, and the need to protect it, is in everything we do: from the normal and necessary sharing of contact information; to browsing a website; to using mobile devices, social media, other digital platforms and new technologies to provide assistance; to recording information about volunteers, staff and beneficiaries; to reuniting families; to registering and collecting medical information; to the sharing of health data during epidemics etc. Data Protection ICRC states that “Protecting individuals’ personal data is an integral part of protecting their life and dignity. This is why personal data protection is of fundamental importance for humanitarian organizations.” Please see ICRC video on Data protection to learn more: Data Responsibility Data responsibility in simple terms, is the responsible processing of data. Using ethical standards and principles to understand the consequences of data-related work and taking measures not to harm individuals or communities, is paramount in the humanitarian context. What we discussed During the digital consultations, IFRC and ICRC members reflected on key issues related to data protection and data responsibility across all regions of the Movement, guided by the following questions: What have you learned about data protection needs in COVID-19 Response? Can you share some examples of the challenges you faced? What are some ways that we can improve data protection and responsible data use in our work?    What did we Learn Insights from the discussions were clustered under the following six themes: Accelerated change – adoptive approach:  The rapid pace of technology and innovation means that data protection and responsibility are critical in each level of humanitarian operation. RCRC’s COVID response saw the accelerated use of data and technology, and showed complexities in terms of data collection, data sharing, data use and data storage, as well as data minimization, for example in cash transfer processes. The time for digital transformation is now – but the Movement needs to adapt quickly to ensure that the transformation is safe and sustainable. Policy and practice: Managing the organizational shift from data responsibility policy to practice proves challenging, because data is not yet central to people’s thinking. Even when concerns and principles like do-not-harm are obvious, policies are needed to ensure they are observed and implemented. Being data responsible requires a culture and behavior change at all levels of RCRC’s operations. Ownership: a data subject should be the final owner of the data that is produced about and for him or her. Data should be decentralized so that people affected can have greater control over their data. Risk and opportunity: participants mentioned digital contact tracing apps as a clear and current issue regarding responsible data management in RCRC’s global COVID response. While mobile applications do provide an opportunity to mitigate the spread of the global pandemic, their use is accompanied by clear data protection concerns. Participants highlighted the need to limit intrusion and safeguard data privacy while making efficient use of the opportunities that technology can bring. Which new methods do we use and how do we ensure that when we use them, we do not create additional risks, harming the people we seek to assist? Connect: There is a gap between different parts the Movement on data protection and responsibility. Not only do data responsibility policies differ across regions, within regions and even National Societies there are gaps in responsible data use. While staff and volunteers may be informed about the data policies that apply to their scope of actions, internal communication and coordination structures are not always clear, limiting actual implementation of data policies. External to the Movement:  The Movement needs constant exchange internally, whilst keeping a pace externally. RCRC needs to work in parallel with the tech world, civil society, public authorities. This work in progress that can only be done with a wide set of stakeholders, which is too complex for one entity to manage on its own.  What are the next steps: The collection and processing of personal data, with the use of digital services in the delivery of humanitarian aid, will only increase in importance. Yet, all of the necessary work requires resources: People, time, money, education. Additional human resources are needed to continue to contribute on so many fronts. The development of tools and the provision of specific guidance on a variety of projects could benefit from the contribution of staff as well as short-term resources, such as consultants and interns, and collaboration with National Societies for specific projects. The insights form the digital consultations will be used as grounded input for the IFRC’s digital transformation strategy. Find this blog for insights on digital consultations on digital volunteering. Who was engaged: The Data Protection and Data Responsibility – digital consultation included 38 participants from 13 National Societies, ICRC, and IFRC for two sessions across two time zones: Australian Red Cross, American Red Cross, British Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, Ecuadorian Red Cross, French Red Cross, IFRC, ICRC, Kenyan Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross (510), New Zealand Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Palestine Red Crescent, and Spanish Red Cross. Resources ICRC Handbook on Data Protection in Humanitarian Action 2nd Edition IFRC Strategy 2030 research  (Strategy 2030 – May 2019 presentation) IFRC Data Playbook (beta) Centre for Humanitarian Data – Guidance Note on Humanitarian Data Ethics 510 Data Responsibility Policy (PDF) (Netherlands Red Cross) 510 Data Responsibility (video) (Netherlands Red Cross) [Image credit: Gauge by Roberto Chiaveri (Noun Project) CCBY 4.0]

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17/06/2020 | Article

What we’ve learned about volunteering in a digital age

[Editor note: Guest post by 510 (Netherlands Red Cross) and Laurent Fernandez (Consultant)]Volunteering is in the heart of all we do with the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies. With 13.7 million volunteers located around the world, there are many types of activities both online and in person that support all the various needs from health, climate, migration and crisis & disaster. It is a gift. Fast paced digital innovation and the emergence of new technologies change the way we live, interact and work, providing new opportunities and challenging established practices while entailing potential threats. Volunteering makes no exception to this trend. We convened six digital consultation meetings in various time zones and involving representatives from 28 National Societies and colleagues from the secretariat of the IFRC to ask – what can we learn about volunteering in a digital age. Our consultations process led to the identification of a elements to consider the requirements for digital volunteering, and associated expectations. We identified eight aspects to think about to define the stakes and contours of digital volunteering: Organization support (business opportunities) Digital infrastructure Access Skills Tasks Motivation Volunteer Management Reach /Engagement Considerations: Co-designLeverage the experience of existing successful initiatives and existing volunteers' networks such as the Volunteer Alliance to define a shared overarching strategy, framework and build shared platforms for all stakeholders to have a shared conversation, knowledge and skills relating to digital volunteering, and to encourage direct interactions between volunteers across National Societies, which could foster inspiration and innovation. The COVID-19 Innovation Think Tanks for volunteers showed the value of such an approach. ImplementationAdapt existing platforms at local level to communicate with the Movement platforms Recruit/screen in the digital space (e.g. chatbots can help) Train new and existing volunteers on how to work digitally Design tasks that suit the digital, mobile environment to adapt to volunteers' capabilities and devices Monitor volunteer motivation to attend to their needs Help volunteers supporting each other independently of their location (or National Society) Appoint digital volunteer coordinators that can serve as mentors Three pre-conditions for digital volunteering Connect: volunteers should be connected on both technically and socially, to each other, and to the National Societies; Shared knowledge: have clear go-to point that would serve as reference or sharing space, nurture innovative approaches, add value to digital volunteer communities; Advocate: digital volunteering is new for most of our Movement’s components. We should work to increase awareness on its potential with attention to local needs, capacities and experience with volunteering. These insights will be used by the Volunteer Alliance to support their movement wide efforts. We also encourage National Societies to consider this feedback on their journey to shape volunteering in the future. Resources See the full Digital Volunteering Insights Report - You can read more about the insights here: IFRC Digital Consultations - digital volunteering - finalSokoni - an IFRC Volunteer space RCRC magazine article on volunteering 510 Big Picture report - 510 Digital Volunteering Video from 510 on Digital VolunteeringThanks to all the participants and the team who made it possible (Joachim Ramakers, Liselot Kattemölle, Adjmal Dulloo, Margarita Griffith, Ian O'Donnell, Laurent Fernandez, Heather Leson, and Dirk Slater of Fabriders.) This project was conducted by IFRC, 510 (Netherlands Red Cross) and with the support of Norwegian Red Cross to support the Digital Pledge.

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10/12/2019 | Article

Exploring Digital insights with DNV GL

What does digital transformation mean for humanitarian organizations like the IFRC and National Societies? For the past year, we’ve collaborated with the Norwegian Red Cross and their partner, DNV GL, to explore the “state of digital transformation” within the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) network. The joint exploration has focused on digital insights interviews with volunteers and staff at the IFRC and National Societies to better understand the diverse pathways toward digital transformation, data literacy, and innovation. Collaborating with experts in the field of data and digital transformation has been a rewarding experience, with some learning curves on both sides. We wove together a series of activities and interviews to get a cross-section of input for ‘digital insights’. This is helping inform activities of the IFRC Digital and Data Working Group with IFRC and National Societies. We will deliver some of this content at the 33rd International Conference. DNV GL has been a strategic partner of the Norwegian Red Cross for more than 10 years. The multi-level partnership is increasing the capacity and humanitarian impact of the Red Cross Red Crescent network. Previously, the partnership has supported water and sanitation projects in China, Vietnam, and the Philippines in addition to helping to create an innovative GIS-based community risk mapping program in the Philippines. It also creates opportunities for DNV GL employees to contribute in direct and substantial ways to advance essential humanitarian activities. DNV GL has a dedicated department to support organizations in their data management and their data and digital transformation. It is, therefore, opportunistic that the Norwegian Red Cross linked DNV GL to contribute to the data and digital transformation journey of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. This has materialized in the provision of pro bono staff for 300 hours for 2019 and a similar commitment for 2020. As an input to the IFRC’s Strategy 2030 process, DNV GL participated in a Digital and Data transformation workshop in the Hague (Sponsored by the Netherlands Red Cross, IFRC and Norwegian Re Cross, June 2019). Based on preliminary research conducted with the IFRC and Norwegian Red Cross, DNV GL shared key insights from their own data practice and presented a draft project template for measuring digital transformation, setting objectives and designing roadmaps. The DNV GL team also participated in roundtable discussions on data and digital transformation helping to guide staff from RCRC National Societies, the IFRC Secretariat, and other organizations based on DNV GL’s own experience in these areas. The DNV GL team subsequently participated to the Global Innovation Meeting in Doha, Qatar (October 2019), helping to drive discussions around data and digital transformation with more than 30 National Societies. They interviewed 20+ staff from National Societies and the Secretariat of the IFRC. The interviews were video-taped and some extracts have been used to build the Digital Transformation video showcased in the Digital Spotlight of the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent taking place in Geneva 9-12 December 2019. Lastly, DNV GL participated to the Data literacy and Health workshop in Blantyre, Malawi (November 2019). We joined the Community-Based Health and First Aid (eCBHFA) Africa workshop to learn more about this major health project and collaborate with their experts. eCBHFA is one of the largest global health programs across IFRC with over 108 million people reached and 7 million trained volunteers. Our host, the Malawi Red Cross Society, welcomed 15 National Society health practitioners, for this regional eCBHFA Train-the-Trainer workshop. Here are the 5 things that the partnership with DNV GL had shared: 1) Step outside of the box: By having an external eye on the RCRC work and a different experience and expertise in data and digital, DNV GL expanded the scope of discussions and raised questions that would not necessarily arise among RCRC members only or even humanitarians. To put it simply: corporate partners can enable us to think outside of the box, reaching beyond our institutional mindset. It both expands the conversation and provides invaluable learning opportunities that can further be leveraged within the RCRC, especially when partnering with the private sector, which is often much more advanced in terms of digital transformation. 2) Establish a common language, check your assumptions: If the encounter of two different worlds with different cultures provides an opportunity for insightful discussions and knowledge transfer, this can’t happen if both worlds don’t have a common language. This requires building a relationship-based on empathy and the creation of a common language and check assumptions: a given concept may take completely different sense and have different implications in different organizational settings. Here the relationship built between the Norwegian Red Cross and DNV GL was essential for good integration of the company’s team. Having an intermediary that understands both worlds and can translate may help kickstarting the relationship at project level. Establishing common goals, having clearly identified focal points on both sides that meet physically from time to time, and bringing the corporate partner to the “field” where local services are delivered are paramount to build trust and provide clarity. 3) Be agile: Agile teams allow us to experiment faster and fail smarter, which results in fast growing learning curves. If defining common goals is important for successful partnerships, it is also important to be able to adapt to emerging changes and pivot if necessary. This agility requires maintaining constant open communications between the focal points. With the current study with DNV GL, an initial plan to develop in-depth case studies in 3 countries was adjusted to review a wider range of solutions being developed within the IFRC network and take advantage of existing workshops as opportunities for engaging a larger numbers of National Societies in the learning. 4) Investing in one partnership allows economies of scale for shared learning/knowledge: National Societies have significant capacity that they can mobilize through the RCRC network. Partnering enables complementing in-house capacities and the network is a vector to spread the benefits to other National Societies. With DNV GL and the Norwegian Red Cross, we have an example of a National Society providing the network with the skills / competence / expertise of a global corporate actor that the network wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn from otherwise. For instance, the Malawi Red Cross benefited from DNV GL’s expertise during the eCBHFA workshop. By doing so, we also strengthen the network by limiting the dependency on traditional multinational partners and providing corporations with the opportunity to contribute hands-on to humanitarian action in the digital era. The common language established while building the partnership can be capitalized to scale (ex. Malawi RC benefits from these previous conversations / settings) 5) Mentoring and coaching: We’ve benefited from the expertise of senior data and digital expertise. Their professional guidance on frameworks, strategy, research, and negotiation has been invaluable. Humanitarian organizations and corporate partners can provide invaluable work experiences for shared learning and dynamic support. We look forward to 2020 and building on this partnership with the IFRC Digital and Data Working group. Thanks for Norwegian Red Cross Society and DNV GL for their ongoing support on this journey. [Editor note: This post was co-written by Laurent Fernandez (Digital Transformation consultant with Norwegian Red Cross) as well as IFRC staff Heather Leson and Ian O'Donnell.](Photo Credits: IFRC CCBY 4.0)

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03/12/2019 | Article

Community Level Data – Malawi Red Cross example

What does it mean to localize humanitarian response? How can we practically strengthen and support data skills and workflows at the most local level? Digital transformation is cited as part of our Strategy 2030 - considering and shifting people, culture, the processes, and technology to support our work. We know the tremendous opportunities to enhance our work, to become more effective and to drive new forms of humanitarian action are emerging through the rapid advancement of digital technologies. We also recognise that these advancements bring new challenges, threats and vulnerabilities that will need to be addressed in the coming decade.Tasked with these questions, we joined the Community-Based Health and First Aid (eCBHFA) Africa workshop to learn more about this major health project and collaborate with their experts. eCBHFA is one of the largest global health programs across IFRC with over 108 million people reached and 7 million trained volunteers. Our host, the Malawi Red Cross Society, welcomed 15 National Society health practitioners, for this regional eCBHFA Train-the-Trainer workshop. We were also fortunate to be joined by Karl John Pedersen, Principal Specialist from DNV GL (a Norwegian Red Cross partner). Piloting Data literacy with eCBHFA The main focus of the eCBHFA workshop was on evidence-based behaviour change for health interventions. We piloted data literacy activities with the goal to test the applicability of content and to consider the data literacy curriculum to be embedded into the overall eCBHFA program for future workshops and local training opportunities. The Data Playbook, which was designed with remixable common resources to help support people’s data literacy journeys was our main resource. Fortunately, we also drew on Karl John’s expertise to tailor some of the activities. For this workshop, we adapted four exercises: What is data and why does data literacy matter Exploration on data quality Responsible data monologues (discussions)Data visualization basics The exercises are meant to be fun and discussion-based to bridge practical sector needs with ‘learn by doing’ considerations. Feedback about the content was helpful. Overall, participants expressed a need to see improvements in their organizations in data management and data protection. They also cited overarching barriers to delivery of ‘data processes’ including digital access, literacy, finances, and resource allocation. Learning from Malawi Red Cross - Chikwawa branch We joined different field assessment teams to learn about community level activities of the Malawi Red Cross’ health project and the various data workflows. Roles were reversed as Chikwawa field assessment trip, local branch staff and community members taught us about their needs. We listened and observed community volunteers and branch leads as they explained what matters to them for the various Red Cross interventions (e.g. WASH, Social Inclusion, Disaster Risk Reduction, etc.) As part of the Malawi Red Cross delegation, we met with three different teams to consider – how might we improve data workflows? how can we include local communities in the design, analysis, and overall outcomes?. While the volunteers all had mobile phones, they were collecting demographic and statistical data manually with a checklist. Then, they analyzed the data and provided a paper report for two different groups – the branch office as well as the regular community council. One participant advised that he did not know what happened with the data after it was collected. However, they have files of data to show changes over time and demonstrate the impact of programs. They also had a wealth of experience and knowledge that provided us with more meaningful understanding. The volunteers advised that other aid agencies are collecting data as well. These groups also report during the local community council meetings. As far as the volunteers were aware, there are no formal, documented data sharing mechanisms or practices between the groups. Considerations for the future With so many eCBHFA volunteers and actively trained people, how we can learn and build ‘community level data’ together? Our observations noted above come as no surprise to our more seasoned humanitarian colleagues. The potential of ‘community level data’ could help us improve our health decision-making, include local communities throughout the process, and, most importantly build trust. If we improve data processes and data literacy, we could improve health information flows and be able to measure results contributing to our overall global goals. Localization is not just about policy, but more about a way of working better. When it comes to digital and data activities, the key with ‘implementing as local as possible’ is to consider the lightweight changes we can support that are requested by the local communities. This means that data workflows should include as much ownership and feedback loops as possible. If we are going to localize data, then local Red Cross and Red Crescent branches and community volunteers need to have the tools/mechanisms to support community data workflows implemented with responsible data use. Globally, there needs to be a strong digital and data ready agenda to prepare and support these goals. [Editor's note: this blog post was jointly written by Rania Alerksoussi, Heather Leson (IFRC) and Karl John Pedersen (DNV GL). Special thanks for hosting us: Malawi Red Cross, eCBHFA community, and event participants, and IFRC Sr Officer, Health Promotion, Nancy Claxton]Photo credits:Photo 1: Data Quality Exercise, ccby 4.0Photo 2: Visit to Chikwawa, ccby 4.0

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13/11/2019 | Article

GeoWeek is here!! Join a mapathon

We love maps and community. OpenStreetMap Geographic Awareness Week is the most wonderful time of the year connecting humanitarians, volunteers and GIS experts to learn and share all about OpenStreetMap. There are mapathons around the world. FIND A LOCAL EVENTIf you can't join a mapathon, you can always pick tasks from the Task Manager or even do some Mapswipe. ****** Thanks to all the organizers across the OSM community and National Societies. Special thanks to Andrew Makachia for his leadership in the IFRC Africa region and Rachel Levine, American Red Cross and OSMGEO week champion. There was a mapathon with the Finnish Red Cross last week as a pre-event for climate action. The American and Canadian Red Cross are also participating in events. Here are some of the activities that the IFRC Africa regional office is supporting/participating: GuineaMaliSierra Leone Uganda Kenya Happy mapping[photo credit: Community mapping in Buguruni (Dar es Salaam), August 2019. Heather Leson ccby 4.0]

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01/11/2019 | Article

Decisions, Decisions

How are decisions made in the Red Cross Red Crescent movement? We invite you to share your stories about a decision. This brief interaction may take no more than 5 minutes per story. Each story provides a unique glimpse into the day-to-day activities of our organization, helping describe our work and the context. You are free to add as many stories as you want. The more stories, the more we will learn.Whether you are a volunteer or senior leader, we welcome your stories. Please share these links with colleagues and volunteers in your National Society and local branches. We seek to better understand the different types of decisions made in the Movement, how they are made, and the challenges decision-makers face. The results of the study will provide a better understanding of the many factors which come into decision-making, whether in the office or in the field.In English (link). In Spanish (link) In French (link) This link will be active until 22 November 2019. We will share overall insights discussing the findings and providing recommendations by 20 December 2019.Thanks! Gabriel, William, Rania and Heather [Icons credit: Puzzles and Group-by-Robert-Bjurshagen, Noun Project CC By 4.0]

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30/09/2019 | Article

Everyone Counts Report 2019

Has the IFRC achieved gender parity? Which National Society produces the highest quality of data? Who are the people behind the data? The 2019 edition of the Everyone Counts report explores the potential of data to tell stories about National Societies in a new and different way than anything that has been done before. The 2019’s edition focuses on themes of diversity and inclusion, and this report represents some of our work in analyzing how it is practiced in National Societies and at the Secretariat itself. Our most recent round of data collection was the first that asked National Societies to report whether they collect disability-disaggregated data on staff, volunteers, and people reached by their programmes. Successes and challenges encountered by the more than 40 National Societies that collect this data are presented in chapter 4 of this report. We also discuss the importance of collecting disability-disaggregated data within the context of humanitarian operations to ensure that we are reaching the most vulnerable members of the communities in which we operate. How are women represented at different levels of governance? In National Societies? In programmes? We explore these questions in chapter 5 and attempt to demonstrate how far the Federation network has come – and how far we must go – when it comes to gender inclusion. Rather than trying to avoid contentious discourse, this chapter lays bare the reality of gender representation in the Secretariat and National Societies with the intention of advancing the discussion around gender and gender parity. Data is most informative when we draw it out from the screen and into the real world. Using the innovative SenseMaker research tool that captures stories from individuals in the communities we serve allows us to bring the data to life in ways that would otherwise not be possible. We traveled to Cambodia to examine the context behind the numbers, and to see how community-based health programmes implemented by the Cambodian Red Cross Society were transforming their host communities. These stories were told by the people we are committed to serving, and it brings our data narratives full circle by reminding us that the human impact is our ultimate goal. Throughout this report, we have included ‘Dangerous Interpretations’ to encourage readers to engage critically with the data and to hopefully provide some new insights into how our readers view the work of National Societies. We consider it to be of the utmost importance that our community of readers are actively engaged with the data and can use it to generate their own ideas. Check out the Everyone Counts report, theFDRS websiteor this link to download the complete database. From all of us on the FDRS team, we wish you happy reading!

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26/09/2019 | Article

“I see and I remember” - optimising data visualisation to improve humanitarian decision-making

Humanitarians are being bombarded with an ever increasing volume of data.  Trying to make sense of needs, response actions, contextual issues, and so on is hard, especially when time is tight and evidence is scant.  The increasing demand for Information Management skills in IFRC responses (Information Management, or IM, was the third highest requested surge profile in 2018) reflects this challenge.  IM as a function aims to improve not only the way we collect, store and analyse data, but also how we visualise it to share insights.  Data visualisation has been called the representation and presentation of data to facilitate understanding (Andy Kirk, Data Visualisation: A Handbook for Data Driven Design).  The ultimate aim therefore for any good data visualisation is to please the eyes and engage the mind.  Knowing your audience is therefore key to a successful data visualisation. In the case of IFRC IM, the audience is usually called ‘humanitarian decision-makers’.  Leaving the definition of this group aside, we know that this means that we are dealing with an audience who is likely to be time-poor, information-needy, and to hold weirdly strong opinions on colour schemes.   When considering the approach to visualising data we have to take a range of factors into consideration.  First, we need to understand the data - weigh it up, check for holes, feel its shape and test its limits. Second, we have to think about the impact we intend to have - do we want to tell a story, allow the user to explore a situation, summarise or delve deep?  Third, we have to consider the audience - who are they, what formats are they comfortable with, what are their biases and are there any cultural or personal considerations? Only then should we start thinking about tools, technologies and tactics to represent the data.  Tools and technologies for visualising data are improving all the time.  They are also numerous. In fact, there are so many out there that there are websites dedicated just to keeping track.  In the IFRC we have improved the canvas for data visualisation ( and are increasingly flexible with different technologies.  However, it is still difficult in many of the dashboards, maps and graphics we produce to identify the signal amidst the noise.  To address this, the IFRC are holding a data visualisation challenge.  Through this, we aim to seek out the greatest data viz talents in the IFRC network and set new standards for three visual products for core emergency operational datasets, namely who-what-where (3w), surge deployments and situational overview (needs and response actions) data.  We are simply asking for participants to submit two different visual products based on the three datasets shared below. CRITERIAAnyone from the IFRC and its 191 member societies can apply, staff or volunteer.  Ten winners of the challenge will be selected to travel to Geneva to participate in a three day training with a data visualisation expert, aiming at refining their submissions and improving their overall understanding of data-driven design principles.Download the concept note for the challenge and data to be visualised.For more information, email the IM team.To submit your entries, please fill out this form.Either if this is something you’ve always wanted to learn about, or if you want to demonstrate your skills, please submit your ideas in whatever format you like.  As Confucius, a total beginner with Excel, said, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

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23/09/2019 | Article

Checkin - How is your organizational Data Literacy journey?

Is Data Literacy advocacy and implementation part of your role and journey? Are you building 'data literacy' programs and practices in your humanitarian or development organization? We have regular check-ins in the Red Cross Red Crescent around data and information use in our work. It is invaluable to connect with other practitioners. Building on this practice, IFRC joined up with Fabriders and the Center for Humanitarian Data are convening "Data Literacy Consortium" calls to help practioneers meet and talk about data literacy and organizational development. "In today’s world, Data is everywhere, everything is a data project. We may not all be good at math and statistics, but we all have a role to play in helping our teams and organisations be more data-driven and data-informed. Often organizations focus on data science as the output of ‘data ready’ or a ‘data-driven organization.’ We are leaving people behind by not being equitable in the application of technology and the potential opportunities this brings. More and more organizations are building a data culture shift to upskill staff, processes, and infrastructure to be more data savvy."Join us for the next Data Literacy Consortium callJoin us on Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 at 14:00 UTC/ 16:00 CET for a Data Literacy Consortium Check In. RSVP here to get details. If you are just getting started or on your way, join us to share best practices, ideas, lessons, and resources. IFRC Data Playbook IFRC is convening the Data Literacy Consortium because many people and organizations contacted us about their data journey. We created the Data Playbook to help people get more data ready. While the social learning pick-and-choose model was designed for the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, we have heard from you that it is helpful. Do share more details on how you are using the Data Playbook. Check out the Data Playbook

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14/05/2019 | Article

Scaling Data Culture with Global Affairs Canada - Conversation

Join us for our next Data Literacy Consortium Online Community Meeting on May 21st, 2019 at 10:00 EDT/14:00 UTC/16:00 CEST (Check Time Zone).We will be joined by special guests from Global Affairs Canada:Delphine Rennie, Senior Advisor, & Brian Parai, Deputy Director, from the Results and Delivery Unit, Global Affairs Canada, will discuss their efforts on scaling data culture. Specifically looking at:Mapping stakeholders and adapting outreach and capacity building efforts.How different ‘streams’ at Global Affairs are leveraging data to raise awareness.Brokering connections to enable collaborations and bridge longstanding knowledge gaps.Global Affairs has been reviewing the IFRC Data Playbook and are very thankful to consider how it might be applied in their work. We aim to co-create. We will also be asking for inputs on how we move forward with the Data Literacy Consortium.To register

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06/05/2019 | Article

Volunteers on a Data Literacy journey

Volunteers are the heart of the Red Cross Red Crescent movement. Many volunteers are leaders in data skills while others are on a learning journey. One of our main goals this year is to support data literacy activities with National Societies by localizing data skills training, especially focused on volunteer engagement. Together with the IFRC Americas office, the we organized the first Data Literacy Workshop for volunteers of the Panamanian Red Cross. This workshop had the objective of improving the data skills of volunteers for more efficient use of information within the various programs they develop; as part of their community work in their National Societies and local branches. "This is the first time that I have had the opportunity to be with all the colleagues in the region who manage data. There is a lot of valuable knowledge being transmitted to us, " Manuel Diaz, National Volunteers Coordinator, Panama Red Cross.We tailored the workshop to focus on various 'data-driven' sectors. The program activities are designed to provide practical examples in a fun and interactive way. Facilitators were from across the region from the different units who deal with data across the organization: (PMER, CASH, IM, FDRS, Innovation) which allow for a lot of interaction and networking. The draft curriculum used included such favourite exercises like 'describe a piece of fruit as data'.Introduction to Data Literacy What is Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PMER) Data Collection tool basicsInformation Management in the MovementInformation Management in Cash Transfer ProgramsData Security and Data ProtectionIntroduction to the Federation-wide Databank Reporting System (FDRS) We used a mix of exercises from the Data Playbook, which helped them to reinforce the acquired knowledge in a fun and practical manner. You are welcome to review the presentations delivered at this workshop in the following link. (Spanish)Some observations from Margarita, curator of the Data for Volunteers project: There is a big need to keep doing this type of activity with volunteers. IFRC is going too fast with data. People are overwhelmed by tools and need the data basics to guide on clear picture. This event gave participants the fundamental tool overview. The users can then make decisions on the applicable tools. Volunteers need the introduction to data – what are the attributes? why it matters? Volunteers collaborate across programs with data workflows. the skills are transferable across IM, Cash, PMER etc. IFRC is doing data analysis and data viz trainings. It is important to put the whole data pipeline together and meet people where they are. For more information contact: data.literacy AT ifrc DOT org.[Photo Credits: Margarita Griffith. CCBY]

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01/04/2019 | Article

Mapping for Cyclone Idai

Volunteers, we need your help! The needs of field teams responding to Cyclone Idai change every day as new information comes in about the disaster and the needs of the affected communities. This is a critical time in the lives of thousands, and we thank those volunteering to support them.Kenyan Red Cross Mapathon, March 2019From Assessment to Task Getting the right data for each of the various activities is important during a response. Teams have completed their initial assessment by obtaining aerial imagery. This was done partnership between IFRC, UNDAC, and Mapaction in support of the Government of Mozambique to get this out. A grid system was created to provide a systematic way to identify and prioritize risk areas for operational planning. We have population data, but are in need of road and building data to assist with the next stages of the emergency response. Colleagues at the British Red Cross reviewed the grid system and are working with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and Missing Maps to match the mapping requests by grids to convert into tasks for remote mappers. In the coming days, tasks will be prioritized from the assessment for IFRC in these four geographic zones:Greater Beira area and surrounding lowlandsFoot of mountains on Moz-Zim border where fast-flowing rivers fan outBuzi river basinCoastal areas Luke Caley, IFRC IM Lead detailing the Assessment How we will use your contributionsThe Surge Information Management teams work in the affected areas as well as remotely. IFRC uses the GO platform to the most up-to-date details about the response, including the appeal, the emergency needs assessment and key focal points. These folks create information products (maps, charts and other content) to assist operational decision-making and response activities. The data that you contribute is used in these items. Updated maps are an integral part of the emergency response planning. Your mapping will be used by teams from across Missing Maps, IFRC and other humanitarian actors to deliver their responses. This includes the evolving cholera outbreak declared in Mozambique, which poses great risk of spreading to other people affected by the disaster.IFRC will use this content to support the Mozambique Red Cross (CVM) to deliver assistance to 200,000 people with a focus on the following areas of focus: Shelter, including Household Items (HHI); Health; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH); Livelihood and basic needs; Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR); Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) and National Society Capacity Strengthening. How can you help?Host a mapathon: organise some friends or colleagues to host a mapathon to support people affected by Idai. Find all the information on how to set up your mapathon here.Map: you can learn to map very easily online, and start contributing on the HOT Tasking ManagerValidate: if you’re an experienced mapper, help us verify data quality by validating!Spread the word: follow HOT on Twitter and Facebook and share our messages to encourage more mappers!Ask us questions: we’re available to support you with any questions on these activities, please join us on the HOT Slack Channel and head to #mapper-support for assistance. We aim to have good enough data to help guide the response. For everyone, validating the data You can learn more contributing this skill here. Thanks to the mapping community and OpenStretMap for their contributions.Learn more about the IFRC responseSee the IFRC GO platform for the most current response details(Editors note: Content by Luke Caley, Jamie LeSueur, Paul Knight, Guido Pizzini, Munu Musori, and Heather Leson)Photo Credit 1: Kenyan Red Cross Mapathon (Kenyan Red Cross, March 2019)Photo Credit 2: Luke Caley, IM Lead on the Assessment (Jamie LeSueur, March 2019)

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13/03/2019 | Article

Building a Data Culture: Data Literacy User Group

Join the next Data Literacy User Group online meetingYou spoke and we listened. We’re excited to talk and share with you again. Our next Data Literacy Consortium call will be focused on best practices. We will hear from experts researching, advising organisations on and doing the day-to-day work of building a data culture within an organisation, team or community. After some exploratory remarks from expert speakers, we will break into groups to reflect on the best practices presented and how they might (or might not) work in our respective organisations. We will also highlight content from the Building a Data Culture Module in IFRC’s Data Playbook (Beta). Our speakers: Catherine D’Ignazio, Emerson Engagement Lab & MIT Center for Civic Media, on learnings from their Data Culture Project.Jesus Melendex Vincente and Sonia Moldovan of Mercy CorpJoin us on - Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 at 15:00 GMT/ 16:00 CET (Check your timezone). Please RSVP to get details on how to join. What we learned from our last meeting of Feb 27th: key takeaway from the first call is that there is a clear interest. 77 people RSVPed and 36 people took an hour out of their day to discuss data literacy with us. Participants actively engaged with the discussion. They were eager to share what they had been working on, ask questions and hear from others about what was working. We think that we might be onto something here. Another key takeaway is that people came for different, overlapping reasons. From a quick assessment of the reasons people gave for joining the call and their data literacy priorities, a few clear themes emerged: Learning & Best Practice: Reading people’s whys for joining the call and listening to their report backs from the breakout groups, it became clear that the call participants have been plugging away, working on building data literacy in their respective corners, organisations and communities. They joined the call with valuable experiences to share, and questions to ask. They are ready to hear from others about what is working, what is not and how we can take data literacy work to the next level. Sharing Resources: Along with sharing knowledge, participants expressed an interest in sharing resources. Now the question is, how do we share resources well? We know that we can’t just throw resources online and expect people to find them. How do we ensure quality? Discoverability? Usability? These are questions for future calls. Data Playbook: People are interested in greater exposure to Playbook content. They want to know how they might modify the content and Playbook concept for their own communities and networks. We are also interested in feedback on the beta version of the playbook for a version one.What is the Data Literacy Consortium?Data is everywhere. Often organizations focus on data science as the output of ‘data ready’ or a ‘data-driven organization.’ We are leaving people behind by not being equitable in the application of technology and the potential opportunities this brings. More and more organizations are building a data culture shift to upskill staff, processes, and infrastructure to be more data savvy. Many humanitarian and civil society organisations are currently focusing on improving data literacy. The Consortium would provide a mechanism for organisations to share resources and expertise. The foundation for the Consortium is the Data Playbook developed by IFRC which is a collection of social learning resources to drive data literacy. The Data Playbook is published on an open/creative common license that makes it available for external entities to reuse and modify. There are many other data literacy curriculum items to be shared. Our goal is to find all the best work to help all our organizations prepare data readiness. Our current draft mandate of the Data Literacy Consortium is to:Co-create the next Data PlaybookShare best practicesConvene learning spaces - online and in person (webinars, training)Provide opportunities for questions to get answeredBuild products/services to help advance the mandate How to get involvedThe easiest way to get involved is to RSVP for the next Data Literacy Consortium User Group Meeting. We will share a video recording with you after the call. And, if you can’t join, we will have a shared note space where you can add your contributions.We realise that not everyone can make the meeting given busy schedules and timezones, but please still register for the next meeting and select the box marked ‘keep me informed’ to get updates on the Consortium via email. You can also follow the hash-tag on social media: #DataLiteracy #dataskills.Or, if you want to have a one-on-one conversation about the Consortium: If you are working on humanitarian and data literacy issues, send an email to Heather.Leson AT If you are working on civil society and data literacy issues, send an email to Consortium AT[Editor note: Blog post co-written by Heather Leson, Dirk Slater (Fabriders) and Katelyn Rogers (Center for Humanitarian Data)(Photo Credit: What is Data Exercise, IFRC Data Playbook (Fanor Camacho, IFRC Americas, 2018))

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21/02/2019 | Article

How are volunteers using data across the IFRC?

Volunteers at the heart of all we do at the Red Cross Red Crescent. Around the world many are engaged in mobile data programs or other technical workflows. We are reimagining volunteering and considering how we can build on our network strength to improve our collective data skills. There are multiple ways how volunteers are using data to make informed crisis response decisions and to find solutions that will alleviate human suffering.Recently, staff and volunteers of the Portuguese Red Cross in Lisbon organized a workshop in Community Health and First Aid (eCBHFA), where new data collection, aggregation and analysis techniques where shared and trained. The workshop was facilitated by Nancy Claxton, Senior Officer in charge of the eCBHFA program at the IFRC. Special focus was given to the importance of community involvement at all stages and to quality assurance of data which, once analysed, needs to be circulated among community members.The workshop, held from February 4 through 8 2019, consisted of both theory and practice. The participants had the opportunity to visit and assess the needs of a migrant community, using data collection tools such as household interviews, surveys and focus groups. After collecting the information, workshop participants identified high priority community needs and developed an action plan in cooperation with community members. The workshop participants were encouraged to, once back at their local branches, replicate the received training to help other staff and volunteers acquire practical data skills needed for work at the community level. To further support this effort, the IFRC Data Literacy team is scheduled to develop a basic introductory data skills training sequence. The ultimate goal is to allow volunteers to more effectively identify and appropriately respond to vital information within the various programs they carry out at their National Societies and local branches.Proposed topics of the Data for Volunteers training:Topic 1. What Is data and why does it matter? Types of data: Qualitative- Quantitate Primary – Secondary Cycle of Data ManagementTopic 2.  What tools can I use to collect data? Traditional Methods- Survey, focus groups, Mobile data collections Tools ODK, MagpiTopic 3.  How can I collect and store data responsibly and ethically? Ensuring data qualityTopic 4.  How can I efficiently aggregate and analyze data? Tools for data analysis. What makes a good data visualization? How to tell a story with data?Topic 5.  How can I use data to make informed decisions when responding to a crisis? Preparing an evidence-based action plan. Methods for reporting back to the communityIf you are a Red Cross Red Crescent volunteer or work with volunteers, we’d love your help as we build. Developing this training program will include both online and face-to-face consultations and workshops in different regions. If you would like to get involved in the development of this training and contribute with ideas, exercises, and best practices, please send an email to [email protected]

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12/02/2019 | Article

Convening a Data Literacy Consortium

Data literacy is a team sport. How can organizations improve their data readiness? How can we upskill in the humanitarian sector? As part of Humanitarian Network Partnership Week, IFRC and the Centre for Humanitarian Data (represented by Javier Teran) convened 50 participants to share about our data literacy activities. We shared about the two organizations activities around data literacy and then hosted breakout groups on two topics. does some of your organization needs around data literacy?Participants were from universities, NGOs, IOs, and civil society. The Center for Humanitarian Data’s data literacy research was confirmed by the audience who said there is a need for investment in data readiness, a need to support the value of data, support for responsible data, best practices on data sharing, and ability to analyze data. And lastly, that with data literacy comes a need for a culture shift for organizational preparedness. How can you and your organization contribute?As expected, there are a plethora of resources around data literacy. It was super exciting to hear how other humanitarian actors are keen to help others on their data journey. There were offers to share content, resources, joint training, and translation support. Some individuals will test out the Data Playbook beta content with their audiences and give feedback. There was an offer to develop approaches and systems to make data management easier. And, there was an offer to provide research level data analysis (network modeling, epidemiology, predictive analysis).Join our Data Literacy Consortium User Group - February 27thHow can we build on our strengths around data literacy? Together with the Centre for Humanitarian Data, Fabriders and IFRC, we are convening our first Data Literacy User Groups starting on Wednesday February 27 2019. We will be using Zoom for this call. Be sure to download the software prior to the call. (register here) Why a Data Literacy ConsortiumPartnerships across humanitarian actors, universities/research and business are critical to success and sustainable planning.We cannot be bystanders - Humanitarian Response needs a Data & Digital upgrade. The risks and opportunities that the influx of data and technology grows. Upskilling staff and volunteers can improve our work and localize data workflows. Here are some of the proposed activities that we might co-create: Activity 1: Scale the Data Playbook Co-create and transition the Data Playbook Beta to the Data Playbook Version 1Get the wider, deeper, simpler content helpGuide the development of content - Advice and support.Review the content as we develop it.Give FeedbackIdentify existing content for the playbook Build contribution paths by individual, organization Activity 2: Workshops/Engagement - Joint training programsBuilding shared content in person and online will reach more humanitarians. Center for Humanitarian Data and IFRC are already engaged in these activities. Activity 3: Pilot New Methods reaching humanitarians (Beyond MOOCs) SMS tipsData-o-meter - a beta tool to serve data tips, content and training based on user requests Credits:Icon credit: Education by Tuktuk Design (Noun Project).Photo Credit: Data Playbook beta demo by Dirk Slater, Fabriders ccby

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24/01/2019 | Article

Scaling up the approach to humanitarian information analysis for SARC's IM Department

What would a data ready National Society look like? How can we be ‘fit for the future?” This journey towards improved data literacy and information management skills is gaining momentum building from the pilot to more scalable models. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent recently completed a six day course on Humanitarian Information Analysis in Damascus, Syria. This course targeted almost 40 participants coming from all 14 field branches of the Information Management Department of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Selected participants from the newly created MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning) Unit and from the Disaster Management and Operations Department of SARC were as well attending this course.The facilitation team was composed of information analysts and disaster managers from the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Global IM and Surge Teams, the IFRC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa and the British Red Cross. In addition, in order to ensure future ownership of this course, the IM Department of SARC had one of their talented IM Officer join the facilitation team. Localization of data and information workflows is a key strategic goal for IFRC. There are talented people across the network. By focusing on upskilling data and information leaders, we can build on ownership, efficiency, and decision-making.It’s the first time that the IFRC exposes a National Society to this pilot course, that’s objective is to build the capacities, competencies and skills for Surge Information Analysts within the IFRC Network in order to better support sectors and disaster managers in structuring situational and needs analysis. This course has been structured and designed by the IFRC Information Management team throughout 2018 as a pillar of the Emergency Needs Assessments workflow of the Surge Optimisation process of the IFRC.[caption id="attachment_50950" align="aligncenter" width="975"] Exercise on the Six Hat Techniques[/caption]The IFRC Humanitarian Information Analysis Course (HIAC), that was previously labeled temporarily "Strengthening Analytical Thinking", looks throughout the six days of the event at the processes, techniques and tools for improving humanitarian analysis in support to decision makers. The course content has been co-created in close collaboration and partnership with OCHA, private consultant experts in this sector and builds upon the work done in the past years by ACAPS.“This training will help SARC’s Information Management Department fill the existing gaps in data and information analysis. This training will provide the IM team with the necessary tools and methods to support the Syrian Arab RC improve the capacity, skills and competencies in regards to humanitarian information analysis.The output of this training will reinforce the coordination between SARC departments, and ultimately improve SARC's continuous response.Finally, the timing of this training and the facilitation team couldn't be better. This was reflected by the team's participation and overall feedback to the training.” Hussam Saeid, Manager of the IM Department in SARC.The IM Department of SARC has an agreed strategic plan for 2019 and this course is aligned to those objectives which include giving exposure and recognising the incredible work the IM Department has achieved throughout the crisis and continues to improve the approach to a sustainable Information Management Department that consists of a team of almost 100 people throughout Syria.The course proved to be a success and was very well received by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent target audience and it was an important shared learning experience for participants as much as the facilitation team. The journey towards reaching improved data and information skills is step-by-step. The Humanitarian Information Analysis Course demonstrates the opportunities for data leaders as well as the importance to localize information and analysis workflows.In the picture (left to right), the facilitation team of the IFRC Humanitarian Information Analysis Course.Fadi Ibrahim, IM Officer - Syrian Arab Red CrescentAhmad Al-Jamal, IM Delegate - IFRC MENA Regional OfficeGuido Pizzini, Senior Officer IM and Analysis - IFRC Secretariat, GenevaHussam Saeid, Manager, IM Department - Syrian Arab Red CrescentRichard Davill, Global Surge IM - British Red Cross HQ, LondonFrancisco Maldonado, Senior Officer Global Surge - IFRC Secretariat, GenevaRaja Assaf, Senior Response Officer - IFRC MENA Regional OfficeCredits:Photo 1 credit: Group picture with the facilitation team and participants - Yazeed Damash / Syrian Arab Red CrescentPhoto 2 credit: Exercise on the Six Hat Techniques - Yazeed Damash / Syrian Arab Red CrescentPhoto 3 credit: Humanitarian Information Analysis Facilitators - Yazeed Damash / Syrian Arab Red Crescent[Editor note: blog post by Guido Pizzini and Richard Davill]

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24/01/2019 | Article

Community Health Response: from local to global

For the past year, we’ve been exploring new ways to work while engaging digital and local volunteers. Open principles, human-centred design, and agile software development align well with humanitarian principles, and with volunteering and local communities at the heart of the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, engaging volunteer software developers in solving humanitarian needs is a natural next step. For this reason, the Norwegian Red Cross and IFRC chose to use a two-fold volunteer model in the development of a new RCRC Community Based Surveillance (CBS) Platform; tech volunteers in Norway are building the software, while local volunteers are implementing the platform to detect epidemics. CBS is a system and methodology for detecting and reporting events of public health significance within a community by community members. The Red Cross Community Based Surveillance (CBS) platform gives a mechanism for local communities to report on health risks in real-time using SMS. By monitoring real-time data, we can respond to an outbreak before it spins out of control, thereby saving lives. This new technology could be a valuable contribution to outbreak prevention and response, as it provides a means to report and monitor health risks in real-time and in a simple manner. By closing the surveillance gap and enabling communities off the grid to alert of potential outbreaks, CBS can provide the means for early detection and early response. local to globalConnectivity infrastructure can hinder communities in communicating risks of public health significance. For instance, during the 2012 cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone, information sharing was a challenge. The Sierra Leone Red Cross established 400 Oral Rehydration Points (ORP) in the affected communities, where health risk data was collected. However, there was no means to receive and share this valuable health data as it had to be manually collected at all ORPs. For the hardest to reach communities, there was an information delay up the several weeks. From this case grew the idea of the CBS platform. How could we collect and analyse critical health data, in real time?Today we have developed the methodology and digital tool together with our partner national societies in Sierra Leone Red Cross, Haiti Red Cross, Madagascar Red Crescent and the Somali Red Crescent. While Norwegian volunteer tech developers programme the platform, the platform is simultaneously tested by our partner national societies on the ground who feed valuable user experience information back to the volunteer developers. The two-fold volunteer model with simultaneous implementation and software creation provides an opportunity to ensure that the CBS platform is built and adapted for scale-up and with the ability to provide a simple and reliable means for early detection, warning and response to outbreaks. By connecting local community volunteers with global volunteers we are building new forms of volunteering. Solving and building with the communityWhile looking at different available digital tools we were not able to find a tool that fit all the needs we had identified on the communities where we work. We sought advice from different technical companies and in the process learned that there were technical volunteers who wanted to contribute to the Red Cross, but who were struggling to find a way to contribute. They are not the typical “first aiders” volunteers, but they had something that we didn't have; competencies in tech development. Petri Wilhelmsen, Graphics and Simulators developer: “I write a lot of software. But this is an opportunity to use my skills to help something bigger. The tech we are working is something that both new and experienced devs can learn and participate.”The 4th Red Cross Codeathon was a 48-hour coding marathon, where 68 people met to improve on the CBS platform (12 domain experts, 56 volunteer developers). During the two-day codeathon, we worked on improving the CBS platform MVP (Most viable product), which is currently used live in Somaliland. The CBS platform follows the domain-driven design pattern where each “bounded context” acts as a microservice. The communication between the bounded contexts is event-driven, and within each microservice the front-end is based on React (some parts are still being rewritten from Angular), with a .NET Core backend and MongoDb for storage. They are dockerized and deployed to a Kubernetes cluster, with Kafka as the event hub. The analytics bounded context is built with R and D3js. (CBS Github)Each Codeathon participant joined a team consisting of health experts, CBS platform experts, developers, designers, project managers, and data analysts. Each team focused on one part of the plattform (bounded ccontext) with predefined challenges.Two of our most important tasks were to build an automatic alert system, as well as automatic visualization of data. These two functionalities will make it easier for our field colleagues to detect and respond to disease outbreaks earlier. Both of these features were drastically improved during codeathon: we now have a test-ready notification system and completed map analysis functions (with false data) which is to be linked to real platform data. In addition, we completed the front-end migration to React and made other parts of the platform more stable. Reimagining volunteering at RCRC and digital transformation are big themes at the Red Cross Red Crescent. By connecting and co-creating with community health volunteers in local communities and digital/technology volunteers, we aim to respond to the changing nature of humanitarian response. Thanks to all the community volunteers (local and global), donors, and all the supporters of the CBS project. The next steps of the CBS team is to plan out the next stages of the software and community. There will be another codeathon in the coming months. Details can be found via the CBS Mailing list and blog. [Editor note: This blog post was co-written by Rebecca Bushby, Tonje Tingberg, Anine Kongelf, Samson Gejibo, Roxanne Moore, and Heather Leson.][Credits: Truls Brekke, NorCross (Quiet moment at codeathon) ; All other photos: Heather Leson CCBY_30; CBS image: NorCross/IFRC.]

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16/01/2019 | Article

Convening a Data Literacy Consortium

What if Humanitarians collaborated on data literacy and data skills? Data is everywhere and part of all our jobs. We know that humanitarians, like other sectors, seek ways to upgrade their data/digital skills. There is a wealth of learning materials for all types of tools and more complex data skills. We identified the need to focus on helping bridge between the data curious and the data ready. Currently, there are networks for data science, information management, cash and every other sector across humanitarian response. The IFRC Data Playbook (beta) project provided us with a means to test for the larger goal to increase and collaborate on data literacy. When we prototyped and piloted the Data Playbook (beta) project, we started receiving positive feedback from other humanitarians. They were keen to use the content and co-create. We also partnered with the Center for Humanitarian Data on three workshops and some Data Playbook beta content. Partnerships within the Red Cross Red Crescent movement and with our humanitarian allies could help us all grow data literacy within our organizations. We invite you to join our first information session on a potential "Data Literacy Consortium." The upcoming Humanitarian Network Partnership Week provides an opportunity for us to share lessons and potentially begin a user group to co-create the consortium.Data Literacy Consortium Planning (brief)Join the IFRC and Centre for Humanitarian Data teams on Monday, February 4, 2019.(registration is free). If you are interested to join and learn more, we will host an online conversation in late February. Drop us a line [email protected] for more details. How's your Data Literacy?The Centre for Humanitarian Data has a data literacy survey. Can you add your thoughts? It will only take 5 - 10 minutes to help us all support and grow Data Literacy. Credits:Icon: Community by Noun Project Bruno CastroPhoto: Data Playbook Beta sprint (March 2019, Heather Leson) ccbyThanks!

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08/01/2019 | Article

Co-Creating IFRC’s Data Playbook, Online Discussion Notes

[Editor note: Guest post from Dirk Slater of Fabriders. Cross-posted with permission]FabRiders’ Network-Centric Resources project supports the development of people-powered and participatory resources that establish assets for networks and communities. On Friday, December 14th, 2018, we held an online discussion with Heather Leson, Data Literacy Lead at the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent (IFRC) Societies about collaborating with FabRiders in developing the Data Playbook, a prototype of social learning designed on modularized pick-and-choose model for 30 minute to 1 hour conversations or lunch and learns. Playbooks are designed to be guided by the users and leaders to decide what ‘activity’ or ‘action’ best suits the given need. There are nine modules, 65 pieces of content, and a methodology for sharing curriculum across all the sectors and networks. The material has been compiled, piloted, and tested in collaboration with many contributors from across IFRC and National Societies. The Beta was supported by the American Red Cross.Important points from the discussion:Co-creating the Playbook led to success as a diverse set of stakeholders were engaged meaningfully from the start of the project.There is plenty of technical and tool related courses out there, the Playbook aims to answer the ‘why do I need to know about data’Social learning provides opportunities for teams to interact and understand each other’s role in data projects.The audience for the Data Playbook is humanitarians, but it is released with a Creative Commons license so that other people can white label it and use and benefit it.Partnering with other humanitarian organisations, such as the Centre for Humanitarian Data, has been critical in identifying and piloting content for the Playbook.Once content became available to prototype and test out, there was a big leap in engagement.Feedback has come in many different forms, though most often through informal conversation. Every piece of feedback needs follow-up, showing how the feedback impacted a new version of the content.The current content is in pdfs, flash drives and paper are the mediums for distribution. The Prepare Center has recently put the Data Playbook online.Co-creation and community building need to go hand in hand.Not mentioned but worth noting! Lynne Stuart at Idea in a Forest designed templates and visual cues for the playbook to help users navigate content.The online conversation in full: and inspiration mentionedAtlassian Data PlaybookDIY ToolkitMozilla and MozFestAspirationMobilisation Lab’s Campaign AcceleratorSchool of DataOpen OrganisationData Responsibility in a Fractured World (World Economic Forum video)Responsible Data ForumHandbook on Data ProtectionNotes from the conversation:The International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) works with 191 National societies around the world, like the Canadian Red Cross and the British Red Cross. When Heather began working there, she realised that there’s a lot of materials and courses for Data Scientist and more technical courses based on tools, but there wasn’t a lot of courses specifically for humanitarians. Inspiration came from the Atlassian Team Playbook and the DIY Toolkit. She wanted to build materials that would enable conversations with those that are afraid of data. Instead of developing a curriculum from scratch, she decided to map what already existed in IFRC.The beta version of the playbook became a place to collect knowledge that already existed, and engages and convene ambassadors. While the playbook is aimed at the Data Curious and is meant to serve the Data Ready, it also presents ways to deal with the Data Deniers and the Data Hostels. A typical comment she gets is: ‘Heather, I am saving lives, what do you mean I have to understand this data stuff?’Social learning is critical for data literacy as it becomes a way for teams to interact with each other about data and also better understand each other’s roles. Data literacy is not about understanding how to use spreadsheets, but rather understanding the eco-system and variety of roles needed to undertake a data project.Social learning is a tradition within the Red Cross, e.g., the first aid training. However, it’s not that big of a tradition to be applied to tech and data elements.The co-creation process has been driving the Data Playbook to greater success in helping to build data literacy. Getting people to share their existing data curriculum becomes a way of helping to build confidence and leads to the building of skills.As a result of putting the call out asking for content, we got hundreds of contributors from around the world. We got exercises, slide decks, session plans, etc. that were all compiled and then templatised for the playbook.Part of the process was to run a week-long ’sprint’ at the IFRC Geneva office. We started by creating profiles for the Data Curious, Data Advocates, Data Active and Data Ready to inform the content of the playbook. Once we had the user profiles up on a wall, we got IFRC staff to drop by and tell us what they thought. We then created a wall of ’topics’ that represented the existing curriculum we had collected from around the world. We asked IFRC staff to tell us what topics were priorities and were relevant to their work.Also, around the time of the sprint, Heather was traveling to various Red Cross Red Crescent offices and was running training pilots. She has even more content to contribute as a result of the sprints.Along with the National Offices, there are key sector programmes that contributed, include the Cash Programme, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Reporting (PMER), the Health programme and SuRGE (emergency response). All of the content within the playbook was used and is currently used. It is a living breathing document. Another goal with the content is to make sure it is embedded, so thinking about how things like data protection fit into the strategies of the Red Cross Red Crescent programs. So it’s never about data off on an island by itself. Another criteria for content for the playbook is that it needs to help solve problems immediately.The audience for the Data Playbook is humanitarians, but it is released with a Creative Commons license so that other people can white label it and use and benefit it.This beta version is really about testing it and making that it works and figuring out what’s missing so we can figure out what we need to focus on for a V. 1.The initial beta version of the playbook was released on pdf’s and meant for distribution via flash drives, because of the capacities and infrastructures of many key contributors, such as some branches of the Nepal Red Cross Society.Data Literacy will not happen at the Red Cross Red Crescent without partners. The Red Cross Red Crescent works with many partners in the Humanitarian space, including OCHA. It’s been critical for Heather to work closely with the Centre for Humanitarian Data and they have collaborated on piloting several workshops and training. As a result of these partnerships, Heather has focused on building a Data Literacy Consortium to continue to develop exercises and materials on data literacy.Currently, some of the material in the Playbook has been translated by reaching out to national offices or by specific programs. There will be a much stronger push to engage community translation once we get to a V1.In order to make the material in the Playbook accessible to different learning styles and methodologies, we encourage remixing and modification of what is there. We realise that local trainers are going to know what is best for their audience/participants.Important learning for co-creation of resources was the value of prototyping content. Once we had content available and began to solicit comment and review, we saw an enormous uptake in using the materials. People started to understand better the concept and what we were trying to do.At the beginning of the development of the Data Playbook, this style of co-creation was not a common practice in IFRC, particularly around data and technology. Now there are examples of other parts of the Red Cross Red Crescent picking up co-creation methodologies and language.While Heather has been open to taking feedback in many forms, she finds it often comes through informal conversation. Another critical element to receiving feedback is then follow-up to show how the input impacted a new version.The Data Playbook is currently up on the Preparedness website and is gaining a lot of use now that it is accessible on the internet. Anyone that does have feedback from the humanitarian space should talk to Heather, but if you are doing development work or advocacy please talk to Dirk.Another benefit of the co-creation process is being able to break down knowledge hierarchies and get people to exchange and engage no matter where they are or sit in the organisational structure. Co-creation and community building need to be married. It’s about inclusivity and making sure people feel comfortable to say ‘I don’t know’, even when they have been on the job for 35 years. It’s about applying open principles and taking co-creation to every element of a workshop, training or informal data working group.

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