Meet Gemma and Charlotte on International Girls in ICT Day

Left: Head of Geospatial Services Gemma Davies. Right: Geospatial Coordinator Charlotte Moss. Image: MapAction.

International Girls in ICT Day, celebrated every April, aims to celebrate female leadership in ICT. “Women are nearly absent from software development, engineering, technology research, academia as well as at the highest levels of policy making. They also tend to leave science and technology jobs at higher rates than men,” states the commemorative day’s UN website. MapAction is nevertheless home to dozens of women staff and volunteers who are software developers, academics, data scientists or geospatial engineers to mention but a few specialisations. We spoke with two: Head of Geospatial Services Gemma Davies and Geospatial Coordinator Charlotte Moss about their passion for geospatial technology and maps.

GEMMA DAVIES, HEAD OF GEOSPATIAL SERVICES

Q: What made you want to get into working with geospatial information systems? 

Gemma: I’ve always loved logical problem solving and when I was first introduced to GIS at university I realised GIS was the perfect way to apply my logical analytical skills to the geography I was interested in.

Q: What is your official job title at MapAction?

Gemma: Head of Geospatial Services.

Q: What have you been working on recently?

Gemma: Most recently I have been working on improvements to our GIS training offer that will help equip people working in organisations like national disaster management agencies to make use of GIS in their work.

Q: What’s next on the horizon?

Gemma: In addition to training development, next on the horizon includes working with our innovation and technology team to automate consistent sourcing and processing of the datasets we most frequently use for emergency response.

Q: What do you like most about your job? 

Gemma: The job is really varied and you get to apply GIS very practically in a way that may positively impact people’s lives.

GIS is a powerful tool that aids understanding of the world around us and enhances decision-making.  Channelling this power in a way that uses the tools to benefit potentially at-risk populations is so important. 

Q: Why does GIS4Good matter?

Gemma: GIS is a powerful tool that aids understanding of the world around us and enhances decision making.  Channelling this power in a way that uses the tools to benefit potentially at-risk populations is so important. 

Three things you love about maps.

Gemma: They provide a virtual insight into places you are yet to explore; they bring information to life in new ways and they can help inform important decision-making.

READ ALSO: She survived a volcanic eruption and helped rebuild her island afterwards. Meet Lavern Ryan, a MapAction volunteer and GIS aficionado.

CHARLOTTE MOSS: GEOSPATIAL COORDINATOR

As a child I used to spend hours drawing treasure maps. Now I get to solve actual geospatial problems using GIS software rather than pencils!

READ ALSO: Putting children on the map in West and Central Africa through geo-spatial analysis

LEARN MORE: What is MapAction (video)?

Putting children on the map in West and Central Africa through geo-spatial analysis

UNICEF, CartONG and MapAction are announcing a new partnership in six countries: Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria. The ‘Reach the Unreached’ initiative aims to use analysis of geographic information (GIS) to find families that may be overlooked by those providing services such as birth registration and vaccination. 

Opening workshop in Senegal.

When traditional ways of identifying and registering people’s existence fail, such as government census and birth registration, children risk missing out on vital services like vaccination and receiving birth certificates. Africa is home to 91 million children under the age of 5 without a birth certificate, according to UNICEF data. In 2022 in West and Central Africa, 4.4 million children did not receive a single dose of vaccine, out of about 20 million children. Children lacking a legal identity risk not being included in planning for service provision. 

To address the problem, UNICEF is working with partners MapAction and CartONG, humanitarian GIS specialists, to help health ministries and their supporting national partners, make data-informed decisions to vaccinate children and ensure the necessary lifelong health assistance. 

READ ALSO: Ode to a geospatial humanitarian partnership and shared values

LIRE AUSSI: Partenariat Humanitaire Géospatial Et Valeurs Partagées : Un Hymne À L’action

UNICEF aims to provide the six countries with spatial data and GIS tools, namely maps and dashboards. This will help local authorities and stakeholders locate unreached children that do not access basic services. The data can then assist in decision-making for improving health planning, immunisation and birth registration.

Beyond mapping unreached children, the project will focus on different activities in each country. These will include spatial data collection and assessment, with a focus on health catchment areas, as well as the production of maps and data visualisation tools. The methodology will be documented throughout, alongside extensive capacity building, to enhance sustainability of the tools and methodologies developed.

A meeting of stakeholders in Cameroon. Photo: CartONG.

“We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey, supporting efforts to light the way for the unseen and ensuring every child’s right to health and identity in West Africa through GIS innovation,” says Naomi Morris, Health Programme Manager for MapAction. 

“After several years of fruitful collaboration with UNICEF and MapAction, we are delighted to embark on this new project, which shows once again the transformative role GIS solutions can have in facilitating decision-making, especially in hard-to-reach areas,” adds Marie Beeckman, Project Lead from CartONG.

Once information is available, UNICEF works with local authorities to help the identified unregistered members of those communities to access birth registration certificates, life-saving vaccination and other services. 

So far the work has taken in scoping trips and landscape mapping of stakeholders in Cameroon. The next focus countries will be Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. Later in 2024, MapAction and CartONG will start similar activities in Chad, Guinea and Nigeria.

What is MapAction? Video

Cet article est également disponible en français grâce à notre partenaire CartONG.

Mettre les enfants sur la carte en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre grâce à l’analyse géospatiale

This work is supported by UNICEF.

CoP 28 : Good use of data is key to mitigating the climate emergency 

MapAction urges world leaders and stakeholders gathered at COP28 to promote data-driven solutions to improve the lives of people on the front lines of climate change. (A version of this article was first published before CoP27 in Egypt in 2022. It was updated for CoP28 in November 2023. )

In recent years we have seen a large increase in the number of natural disasters worldwide. Regular climate-related disasters are exacerbating water and food insecurity. 

How emergency relief stakeholders and governments coordinate their responses to the climate emergency can impact the recovery of affected communities. That is why good data is key to preparedness and mitigation, especially in locations with limited resources. 

Ice and snow on the Hindu Kush mountain range, which runs along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, is melting and causing devastating floods in both countries. Photo: MapAction

As the changing climate ravages and displaces some of the world’s poorest communities, good data use will not prevent such climate-driven occurrences. It can only soften the effects by helping the affected communities, and stakeholders, to be prepared and to coordinate relief strategies. Good use of data in decision-making at key moments can reduce the human cost of the climate emergency. 

“Data, often visualised through maps, can help identify who the most vulnerable people are, where they are, and highlight need,” said Nick Moody, MapAction’s chair of trustees, before CoP27 in 2022. “At CoP27 there was a recognition that while this information is critical during a crisis, it can have an even greater effect if used in advance. MapAction has a huge role to play in helping others to build resilience through data.”

Why MapAction?

Since MapAction’s inception over 20 years ago, the charity has provided data and specialist technical geospatial and data volunteers in more than 140 crises, many climate-related, worldwide. Our team has supported responses alongside UN, regional and national agencies as well as INGOs and local civil society organisations, providing relief to some of the most vulnerable climate-exposed people worldwide. 

READ ALSO: MapAction urges wider adoption of GIS for disaster resilience at UN Expert Meeting

Our 70+ volunteers come from across the ever-growing range of sectors using data and geospatial technology, bringing a huge diversity of technical expertise. MapAction gives them the training, operational experience and support needed to operate effectively in humanitarian situations. 

Working in collaboration with many emergency relief partners, our teams create unique situation maps, data visualisations, data sets and other products that help coordinate disaster relief using the best available information in the most insightful ways. The improved decisions they enable can help mitigate, for example, the impact of droughts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, famines and health crises, to save lives and protect communities. In 2023 alone, MapAction has provided data products, volunteer mapping teams or experts to support emergency response, anticipatory action programmes or capacity building in a dozen countries in five continents.

READ ALSO: MapAction continues to strengthen global disaster preparedness in summer of 2023

From response to anticipation

While MapAction’s initial expertise was in support of emergency response, our work is increasingly moving into early warning and preparedness. Anthropogenic climate change has been proven to alter both the likelihood and the severity of extreme weather events around the world, and the growing frequency of these can be predicted, if not precisely then generally. Being ready to spot the indicators, triggering early support for anticipatory action can be life-saving. Predictive analytics can allow us to define the mechanisms that trigger these actions by analysing current and historical data and developing models, as long as the data is reliable.

READ ALSO: Why we must address the gender gap in humanitarian data

“It is more important than ever to be able to respond effectively to such events, but also to be able to anticipate them, in order to more effectively mitigate their impact,” Daniele Castellana, former lead Data Scientist at MapAction, commented before CoP27. “Through our collaborations with the Centre for Humanitarian Data and the Start Network, MapAction has been working on this flourishing component of humanitarian aid.” MapAction launched its own InnovationHub in 2022.

READ ALSO: MapAction Data Science Lab: the story so far

Early action is one of the most effective ways to address the ever-growing climate impacts. That is why MapAction has partnered with the START Network, a coalition that focuses on humanitarian action through innovation, fast funding and early action; Insurance Development Forum is also a partner in this work. START Network brings together 55 international non-governmental organisations and 7,000 partners worldwide. MapAction is also working with INFORM to support updating forecast and risk models with select national disaster management agencies worldwide.

READ ALSO: 7 Country Missions Completed Successfully as Part of Phase 1 Programme for Anticipatory Action and Disaster Risk Reduction

From commitment to action

MapAction has made concrete commitments to actively seek solutions to reduce the impact of climate change. In October 2021, we signed the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organisations. The charter was developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and guided by a 19-person strong Advisory Committee which included representatives of local, national and international NGOs, UN agencies and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as academics, researchers and experts in the humanitarian, development, climate and environmental fields.

Signing that charter commits us to being a part of the solution and helping people adapt to a changing climate and environment. It will also help strengthen our own resolve and efforts to be environmentally sustainable. Most of all, it recognises that our efforts must be a collective endeavour – no organisation can tackle this alone.

Together with a growing range of partners, looking to engage ever more locally, we are using geospatial data, data visualization and data science to start laying the groundwork for climate resilience. The objective is to improve preventive actions and strategies in humanitarian response. 

Because what we map today we can mitigate tomorrow and in the future. That is why the science of how we source, analyze, shape, share and deploy data must be at the heart of all current and future discussions on adapting to climate change. 

For more info on MapAction’s work, please drop by our website

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If you haven’t yet done so, please do subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular updates on our work. 

A version of this article was first published before CoP27 in Egypt in 2022. It was updated for CoP28 in November 2023.

MapAction’s work in geospatial is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), UNICEF, Calleva Foundation and other foundations, private individuals and companies. Learn more here.

Ode to a geospatial humanitarian partnership and shared values

From Mexico to South Sudan, Malawi and worldwide, MapAction and CartONG have worked together for nearly a decade to bring geospatial solutions to the humanitarian aid and international development sector. Our underlying core shared values help us support NGOs and aid actors for more impactful assistance.

Image: CartONG.

What happens if information barriers aren’t broken down for humanitarian agencies in emergencies? Food gets sent to the wrong people, search and rescue teams are misinformed, temporary settlements are set up in misguided places. Lives are lost or ruined because the right data was missing.

Breaking down information barriers

At MapAction and CartONG we embrace and live by the same values embedded in a single idea: the application of geospatial technology to improve the quality and impact of humanitarian assistance and development projects. Every map, mapathon, training event, data analysis tool or geospatial element of disaster preparedness we co-strive to create can be the key to getting aid to a stricken community or to understanding and preparing for the worst effects of a drought, flood or health emergency. These shared core values and resources have led to a beautiful cross-channel partnership between UK-based MapAction and France-based CartONG. A partnership that aims to improve the impact of aid actions by providing decision-makers and vulnerable communities with the right data to understand and mitigate any crisis.

Decade-long partnership

Our partnership has already lasted nearly a decade. As part of the Covid-19 response, MapAction seconded staff to help CartONG with the surge of activities in its partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Having already worked together for several years on various projects, including as part of the H2H Network, a peer-to-peer humanitarian network, MapAction and CartONG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work more closely together in 2020.

READ ALSO: MapAction strengthens partnership with CartONG

READ MORE: CartONG strengthens collaboration with MapAction via the signing of a MoU

CartONG and MapAction have since worked together on a number of different projects. In Mexico, together with UNICEF and the Mexican government, MapAction and CartONG supported the creation of a dashboard aiming to display and monitor real-time information on key education indicators on elementary schools at the national level in order to map COVID-19 affectations before the start of the new school year in 2020. It was created to display and monitor real-time information on key education indicators for all elementary schools. This relied on over 200,000 individual schools uploading their data on a daily basis, and was the first time that this information would be collected and displayed at a national level.

Screenshot from a dashboard on the Mexico project. Image: Screenshot/UNICEF.

READ ALSO: Developing an analytic dashboard for back to school follow-up in Mexico with MapAction

READ MORE: Post-COVID Progress: Helping Mexican schools reopen

In South Sudan, MapAction and CartONG, together with other partners, worked to  identify the data challenges that might slow down ‘final mile’ vaccine delivery in a challenging data environment. One outcome of this work was the Integrated Humanitarian Data Package, that aimed to give quick and easy access to key geographic data that underpins the planning and delivery of vaccination programmes. This pilot health project highlighted the vital role that geospatial technology can play in creating effective healthcare solutions. High quality mapping and data analysis is key to understanding how many people need vaccinating, where they are, and how and where the vaccines can be safely stored and delivered.

READ ALSO: South Sudan data package to support effective and equitable Covid vaccine delivery

In 2023, CartONG and MapAction again used the IHDP to map the outbreak of cholera in Malawi. We are also both partners on the ‘UNICEF Geospatial Hotline’, where interested UN departments can request specific geospatial services from our organisations.

As we look ahead, we know the crises we try to mitigate will become evermore complex and challenging; the funding landscape evermore volatile. That is why our partnership continues to grow and why the alliances we are building with organisations like H2H, UNICEF and Start Network are so vital. We will soon also be announcing a new and exciting joint-project linked to health in West Africa. More on that soon.

We both remain committed to continue to deliver capacity building events and projects worldwide to strengthen disaster preparedness and improve the impact of humanitarian assistance.

Souhaitez-vous lire cet article en français ? Cliquez ici!

MapAction’s work in geospatial is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), UNICEF, Calleva Foundation and other foundations, private individuals and companies. Learn more here.

MapAction urges wider adoption of GIS for disaster resilience at UN Expert Meeting

MapAction’s Head of Programme Development spoke at the UNGGIM this week, promoting the efficiencies that can be gained by effective use of geospatial services to meet the priorities of the  Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in understanding risk and vulnerability, governance, financing and especially in early warning and preparedness to respond in emergencies. The UNGGIM is the UN Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management.

MapAction’s Alan Mills adresses UNGGIM meeting. Aug 2023

The full text of Alan’s statement is as follows.

I make this statement on behalf of the Not for Profit Organization, MapAction. MapAction notes the report of the Working Group on Geospatial Information and Services on Disaster and thanks the group for its efforts over the intersessional period.”

“We remind the Expert Committee that the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adopted by 187 member states of the United Nations has seven years remaining to deliver its targets. The Sendai Framework relies on information management and mapping across its remit, to understand
disaster risk and resilience, to aid the strengthening of disaster risk governance, support investment in DRR and enhance preparedness for effective disaster response.”

“Given the increasing humanitarian demands around the globe, whether from meteorological events and climate change impacts, seismic shocks, food insecurity or displacement, the implementation of the UN-IGIF and application of the guidelines set out in the Strategic Framework of Disasters provides geospatial resource efficiencies in helping to build resilience and support the most vulnerable in our communities.”

“As resilience building is a priority for all your citizens MapAction urges more Member State delegations to actively participate in the working group in disasters, shape its workplan to be robust to address these priorities and demonstrate active implementation of IGIF and the SFD in support of disaster risk reduction.”

“Partners not just from the existing UN geospatial network, the academic network and the private sector network but also geospatial civil society organizations, including MapAction, who have no network presence within this Expert Committee, and non-geospatial practitioners in resilience building and emergency response all stand by to be consulted, provide context, technical innovation and resource to deliver on this remit once direction is given.”

Alan was also a Panellist in the UNGGIM Side Meeting – ‘Authoritative Data in an Evolving Geospatial Landscape‘, promoting the specific data needs of responders to humanitarian crises. MapAction has been a regular attendee at UNGGIM for several years, in our Official Observer Role. Over this time we have contributed to moving the agenda forwards significantly in terms of improved geospatial data availability for humanitarian purposes.

MapAction’s work in geospatial is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), UNICEF, Calleva Foundation and other foundations, private individuals and companies. Learn more here.

MapAction attends UN Global Geospatial Information Management event

MapAction’s Chief Executive, Liz Hughes, and senior geospatial expert member, Alan Mills, are at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. They are representing MapAction at the twelfth session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), under MapAction’s official observer status.

The event, held from 3 – 5 August 2022 (side events from 1 August), comprises designated Member State experts and relevant international organisations. It seeks to promote international cooperation in global geospatial information management and provide an international forum for coordination and dialogue. 

Led by Member States, UN-GGIM sessions seek to address global challenges regarding the production, availability and application of geospatial information, including in development agendas and policymaking. This includes joint decision-making and setting directions towards nationally integrated geospatial information management within national, regional and global policy frameworks and development agendas.

MapAction’s Alan Mills presented and was a panel member at the ‘Geospatial Information and Services for Disasters’ side event on 1 August. He discussed the challenges and suggested ways to apply geospatial information across complex humanitarian problems. 

Disaster responses can take many forms and include multiple stakeholders, but he put forward that whatever the combination of these complex dimensions, reliable, consistent and well presented information, geographical information in particular, is essential. This will allow those involved to understand and identify the vulnerabilities and risks, what is happening, who has been affected and what resources people need to recover.

He drew on the experience MapAction has in supporting governments, international and regional agencies, civil society organisations and communities. He then outlined four brief scenarios that highlight the need for sharing timely, accurate, information, analysing it effectively and communicating through good visualisation. The intention was to show that UN-GGIM can and should provide the gold standard, allowing humanitarian and emergency response workers to relieve suffering and leave no one behind.

MapAction Chief Executive Liz Hughes said: “MapAction has been working to help manage global humanitarian crises for 20 years. We therefore have a lot of experience to share, in terms of how we have worked with governments, UN and other agencies and civil society organisations. We want to strengthen the system and are looking at ways to increase protection and reduce vulnerability. UN-GGIM provides a great forum to meet with other experts in the field and to jointly set the future agenda.”

MapAction’s work in geospatial is funded by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), UNICEF, Calleva Foundation and other foundations, private individuals and companies. Learn more here.

Post-COVID Progress: Helping Mexican schools reopen

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parts of the world came to a standstill. Workplaces and schools were forced to shut down in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. In Mexico schools were closed in March 2020 and as with many countries, students moved from time in the classroom to online learning and homeschooling.

As COVID restrictions were lifted, the Mexican Ministry of Education needed to track the progress of schools reopening across the country. A dashboard was required to show schools across the whole of the country gradually opening post-COVID restrictions.

During crises, data visualisation has a vital role in making sense of complex environments and needs. That’s why MapAction is increasingly being asked for different types of data visualisation and geospatial information tools, such as this dashboard.

Under a long-term service agreement between UNICEF, MapAction and CartONG, UNICEF Mexico requested support for the Mexican Ministry of Education for the system. Together we created the dashboard.

It was created to display and monitor real-time information on key education indicators for all elementary schools. This relied on over 200,000 individual schools uploading their data on a daily basis, and was the first time that this information would be collected and displayed at a national level.

Originally considered as a monitoring and decision-making tool for head teachers and officials, it was amended to be designed for the public, requiring changes to the underlying infrastructure.

The finished dashboard included the quantity of children and teachers returning and trend analysis. As no safe water assessments had been carried out on a country-level since 2013, it also included the supply of safe water facilities.

MapAction carried out the development, setup and support on all the Azure Cloud infrastructure (the back-end part of the development of the dashboard). In addition, MapAction also handled all technical communications with the Ministry of Education’s database engineers, and was in charge of running a series of key tests (Quality Assurance, User Acceptance test, automated system tests, etc.), with the support of CartONG’s team. Among the tasks carried out by CartONG was the development of the front-end of the dashboard. It was imperative for making it user-friendly so that it could be accessible for a diverse range of users. The collaboration between MapAction and CartONG meant that the dashboard was technically effective, whilst also being easy to use.
The dashboard has proven a useful tool for the Ministry of Education, and allowed the transition back to school to be as smooth as possible. The overall feedback from both the Ministry and Unicef Mexico has been positive.

The dashboard is available to view on UNICEF Mexico’s website (in Spanish).

Partnering to support education in Mexico

MapAction is working in close collaboration with our partner CartONG to provide GIS & information management support to UNICEF – another long-term MapAction partner – on an as-needed basis around the world.

UNICEF logo

Working with UNICEF’s head quarters, country offices and partners in different parts of the globe, we are focusing on helping with geospatial data collection and management, mapping, knowledge management and capacity building.

One of the projects we have been collectively working on is a data analysis dashboard to help educators in Mexico respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This dashboard, which is updated on a daily basis, is a dynamic, interactive visualisation of information enabling education teams to monitor changes and identify trends in school attendance following COVID closures. It also provides general information on the state of schools’ water and sanitation infrastructure.

Screenshot of Mexican schools dashboard showing map of Mexico and numerical variables with sample data
Screenshot of the dashboard showing sample data

The dashboard is currently in beta. When finalised, it is planned that all teachers across Mexico will have access to it to help them plan and respond to the evolving COVID crisis.

As well as helping CartONG to build the dashboard, MapAction has provided data processing scripts to ensure a seamless feed of data and has lead on the user testing and quality assurance aspects of the project.

MapAction strengthens partnership with CartONG

MapAction and CartONG, a French NGO specialised in humanitarian information management, have been working together closely on several projects in recent months.

Laptop screen displaying the front page of the MoU with MapAction and CartONG logos visible

Most recently, we have been providing support to CartONG to help deliver a global information platform for MSF and working with them to provide a national education dashboard for Mexico, as part of our joint long-term agreement with Unicef.

Our partnership has now been formalised by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by MapAction’s Chief Executive Liz Hughes and CartONG’s Technical Director Sandra Sudhoff. The new agreement sets out how we will work together in future to help each other achieve our charitable purposes.

Liz commented, “This agreement underlines our mutual commitment to collaborate even more in future so that we can strengthen and amplify each other’s work. Our charitable objectives are quite closely aligned, but we each bring different skill sets, relationships and expertise to the table. Collaboration is essential to everything MapAction does, so it’s great to be able to cement our partnership in this way.”

Montage of two photos, Liz Hughes doing a thumbs up to camera and Sandra Sudhoff signing the MoU at her desk, smiling to camera.

Geospatial training in Guyana

The latest phase of our collaboration with Unicef and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) of Guyana is currently underway in the country’s capital of Georgetown. We are training CDC volunteers in spatial techniques to help respond as needed across the country, including potential flood response and assisting migrant communities.

Participants in this week’s practical training exercises have already completed an online training course we conducted during December. During this extended course, students will learn to apply geospatial techniques to the their own projects over a two-week period.

Extending our response to the economic crisis in Venezuela

Since October, MapAction has been working in Guyana with the Civil Defence Commission and Unicef to support Venezuelan and Guyanese communities affected by the Venezuelan economic crisis. This work has now been extended until 2019.

Photo: EU/N Mazars

Large numbers of people have left Venezuela as a result of economic hardship, and many of them are in Guyana. Registering incoming Venezuelans and understanding which communities are in need of support to host them continues to be vitally important.

MapAction has been helping Unicef to analyse how effective the response to the economic crisis in Venezuela has been, in particular bringing the situation for children into focus. Our work with the Guyana Civil Defence Commission involves assisting a move from a paper-based to a digital information management system. Both partners are keen to extend this work through the end of this year and beyond.

We’re very grateful to the Calleva Foundation for supporting this important work.

Supporting Unicef in Cameroon

MapAction has sent two highly-experienced volunteers to Cameroon to support Unicef’s work with refugees in-country.

According to Unicef, the northern region of Cameroon is hosting over 66,000 refugees from Nigeria. The situation is further compounded by ongoing insecurity which is limiting people’s movements and having an adverse effect on food security. In eastern areas communities are also hosting as many as 139,000 refugees from the ongoing crisis in Central African Republic.

MapAction’s team is working in partnership with Unicef to map strategic areas for humanitarian intervention in affected regions. They will also help strengthen information management capacity in Cameroon by delivering specialist training in humanitarian mapping tools and techniques.

Emma Mumford, MapAction’s Operations Director, commented: “I am very proud that MapAction is supporting this underreported, yet acute humanitarian crisis, contributing to Unicef’s important work supporting vulnerable children in the country and in the region. I hope it will lead to further collaboration in future as the needs are clearly so great.”

[Photo: A MapAction volunteer training Unicef staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014]

Sahel preparedness mapping with UNICEF

DAKAR, 9 Feb – A severe food crisis is forecast to strike the Sahel region of West Africa later in 2012, potentially affecting 7 to 10 million people in eight countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon). Low rainfall, poor harvests and high food prices are making communities vulnerable to extreme malnutrition. The number of children dying from nutrition-related causes is already estimated at more than 490,000 per year.

MapAction has deployed a team of two volunteers to undertake a mapping preparedness project from the UNICEF regional office in Dakar, Senegal. The team will work with UNICEF information management staff to do preparatory map setup and initial vulnerability maps, with a focus on food security and nutrition.

This is MapAction’s third deployment to the Sahel region. In 2005, our volunteers helped map priority needs in a food crisis in Niger and in 2009 we responded to floods in Burkina Faso.