The Emergency Capacity Building Project IT Requirements Publications

The work that has resulted in the formation of the Open-Source Volunteers project began as an effort to assist in the development of open-source tools and packages to assist in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, notably in support for the Sahana project described in previous posts. In order to bring myself up to speed in this area I read just over 1500 posts to the humanitarian-ict list back in June and published what I called an “e-mail sampler” in the ReliefSource wiki.

On the main lessons I learned in reading all those posts was that an exceptional group with diverse skills had come together to address this issue and there was a lot of information buried in the posts that reflect the participant’s expertise.

I recently learned of a new report that makes it much easier to “get up to speed.” It was primarily the work of Paul Currion and was done as part of The Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) project. According to their web site:

The Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB) is a collaborative effort of seven humanitarian agencies that are jointly tackling common problems in emergency response and preparedness.

In 2003, Oxfam-GB, Save the Children-US, World Vision International, Catholic Relief Services, the International Rescue Committee, CARE International, and Mercy Corps formed the

An assessment of the agencies’ emergency response capabilities in 2004 identified four main areas where collaboration would be highly beneficial. With a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and, later from Microsoft Corporation, these areas formed the basis of the Emergency Capacity Building Project.

Starting in March 2005, the IWG is using this funding over a two-year period to leverage the agencies’ substantial resources – $3 billion annually for programs carried out in over 100 countries with 50,000 staff members – to build their capacity for emergency response.

The project has recently published several reports on Information and Technology Requirements for emergency response. This is a detailed, comprehensive study that is very well-written survey that provides an excellent introduction to the challenges and opportunities in this area.
The reports include

Copyright (c) 2006 by David Shields. Licensed under the Apache License 2.0.



  1. Posted October 23, 2006 at 17:39 | Permalink | Reply

    tracks progress on this important issue. Has links to background material on emergency response with extremely extensive material from Canadian sources.

  2. Posted October 23, 2006 at 18:02 | Permalink | Reply

    As Katrina proved, developed countries also have serious need to reform the way they deal with emergencies and communications during those. Here’s an example of recommendations to two Canadian cabinet ministers regarding the way they should organize aid to municipalities:

    and the general financial framework against which they need to evaluate these expenditures:

    Is there equivalent work in the US, UK, AU, EU or elsewhere?

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