Monthly Archives: November, 2015

You are changing the World. And we’d like to help you.

November 30th, 2015 Posted by Training 0 comments on “You are changing the World. And we’d like to help you.”

This is the headline used by Google to launch “Google for nonprofits”, the possibility for nonprofit Organizations to have free access to Google products and Apps (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Hangouts, Google Ad Grants & others).
These tools can help the organizations to be in contact with donors, volunteers, to be more efficient, and to give more visibility to their interventions.
Let’s give you an idea as to which tools Google can offer you:
– you can reduce the IT costs and create a better collaboration between the HQ and Staff in the fields;
– you can store many documents: 30 GB of storage space on Gmail and Google Drive;
– you are connected wherever you are and you gain access to your data everywhere;
– you have assistance from Google 24/7; you don’t need hardware and updating;
– Google Apps for nonprofits is free for all the members of TechSoup Global.

One of the main problems faced by NGOs with staff working abroad in some remote areas with slow connections is the possibility to be in contact with the HQ, to send and receive documents, to store a lot of information about the projects that they are developing.
Thanks to Drive, you can save all your work in one secure online place. You can always gain access to them from pc, tablet or smartphone.
You can share all of your files immediately with your team without using heavy attachments or using different file versions (one of the worst nightmares!).
With Drive Document you can create and modify your text directly in your browser without any specific software. Many people can work simultaneously on the same doc and all the modifications are automatically saved.
Sometimes the work environment for aid workers is not so easy, they have to face many difficulties, the possibility to have a stronger connection with HQ can really be helpful.
Through Google Apps you have many tools to make it possible.
Google for nonprofits now is available for the Italian NGOs, follow the link

We hold trainings on the use of Google Apps and we support the change management for the transition to the Google system.

See our training session.

Refugee crisis: How should homeowners go about helping to provide shelter?

November 26th, 2015 Posted by Refugees 0 comments on “Refugee crisis: How should homeowners go about helping to provide shelter?”

There are many app, called “airbnb for refugees” that wants to get them together with people willing to share their homes.

MyRefuge is a platform to connect refugees with home owners who are happy to offer refugees shelter and food throughly there journey & advice them with charities & Ngo’s support how refugees can integrate with the community where they are staying.
It’s an AirBnB for refugees with no money involved – people can open up their homes to refugees who can find them easily, based on city and availability.
It was

at Techfugees conference and hackathon, as well as code to the kingdom hackathon where the got awarded best improved solution for refugee crisis.

Refugees Welcome (german: Flüchtlinge Willkommen) began as a project idea last November continuously garners active support.
We will put you in touch with a refugee who fits you and your flat. When you register your flat we ask for some details about your living situation, such as the number of flatmates, the languages you speak, your city and surroundings etc.. This information will help us match hosts with refugees.
Individuals all across Germany keep on signing up to help. To end of April more than 780 people have done so and we have therefore been able to place 26 refugees in private homes already.

www.refugees-welcome.net

 

Refugee Hero is a – mobile friendly – website with similar functionality to Airbnb. Heroes post a listing to accommodate a refugee. Listings can come from private heroes or from organizations opening up their facilities; such as churches, mosques, schools and universities. Refugees can directly access their data to make an appointment or the volunteers and government officials responsible can use Refugee Hero as an intermediary.

www.refugeehero.com-

Spare Room receives referrals of potential guests from established immigration and asylum advice agencies. We assess all referrals and we do not offer hospitality to those who have engaged in or actively supported violence. We aim to match guests with hosts offering a spare room.
Could you offer a temporary home to someone forced to flee their home country who is not permitted to work and is denied state support in the UK?

www.spare-room.org-

What is Blogfugees?

November 26th, 2015 Posted by Refugees 0 comments on “What is Blogfugees?”

The current refugees crisis spreading through Europe and all over the World gave us the idea of the importance to open a dedicated session on our blog.
When this tragedy reached our borders and, above all arrived on our media, many initiatives were born to involve the tech community on these issues.
The first one was Mike Butcher’s Techfugees a conference and a hackathon where the London tech community showed their support for refugees. In a few days a Facebook group and Twitter accounts exploded, showing the huge interest of the tech community

to be involved in this issue.
Many other conferences, events, hackathons have been organized all over Europe, one in Italy hosted by H-Farm where we’ve been present (you can read about it here).
During these months, following all these groups and initiatives we have collected some of the ideas and the applications developed in support of refugees.

So this blog wants to be a focal point for all of the organizations which work for refugees and need or are looking for help from technology experts.
This is the place where we collect everything that can be found online on “Technology for Refugees”.
The applications will be divided into groups, using different Tags, examples:
#mobility – online and offline maps, info on travel;
#security – safe or unsafe zone;
#services for refugees – reception centers, centers for asylum, news, rights and law, important phone numbers, dictionary etc..;
#for aid orgs – geospatial and technical knowledge to help support the humanitarian network, where, when and how to help directly in the field;
#education – mobile learning services.

Another purpose of this blog is to deal with those organizations who are working on these issues in order to support them in the use of technology.
You can find here a lovely piece by @rohan__silva on #techfugees where he underlines two important things:
first it’s a shame that the organisations playing the central role in responding to the refugee crisis — government aid agencies and big charities — are so disconnected from the type of grassroots innovation on display at the Techfugees event and secondly it was wonderful to see London’s technology cluster coming together for such an important cause.

If you have created an app for refugees or if you know of some successful projects please contact us at info@gnucoop.com with the object #techfugees.

Does Technology Make M&E More or Less Efficient?

November 13th, 2015 Posted by ICT4D, M&E 0 comments on “Does Technology Make M&E More or Less Efficient?”

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
This quote, attributed to Bill Gates, refers to how technology works to complement good systems, not replace them. During break-out sessions at the recent ICTforAg Conference, we discussed why this is also true of the relationship between information and communication technologies (ICT) and monitoring and evaluation (M&E). ICTs – most notably smart phones and tablets – are often used as a more efficient means to obtain and analyze project data. Although M&E is often seen as a driver for the use of ICTs, there are still many challenges for organizations to realize the full potential of ICT in M&E.
It’s Not Just About Technology
Panelists Ben Jacques-Leslie from the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL), Katherine Scaife Diaz from TechnoServe, and Michael Reiter from FINTRAC presented on their organizations’ history of integrating ICT into M&E. Each presenter touched on the imperative of working better and more efficiently. This spurred an interest in more efficiency in data collection, which has been addressed through the use of ICTs.
Technologies such as satellite imagery have been piloted to more accurately and efficiently measure yield, while current point of sale technology could improve the accuracy of input costs estimates and commodity sales prices.
But the question that remained in everyone’s minds was: Is efficiency and confidence in data collection achieved through technology, or is it more a function of using sound M&E systems? Mr. Jacques-Leslie argued that there is currently little evidence that technology actually improves data quality and that this is something that JPAL intends to study.
Going back to that Gates quote, which Katherine Scaife Diaz shared at the beginning of the session, no amount of technology can work around inefficient M&E systems. Technology applied to an inefficient system will only magnify the problem.
Data Collection Methods & The Human Element
Although the disdain for paper-based data collection was palpable in the room, I saw many heads nodding when a participant noted that paper might still be the best data collection method in places where there simply isn’t the infrastructure and experience to support the use of ICTs. If technology use is appropriate – and data collection becomes more efficient as a result – can decision-makers really make full use of all the data? And in this scenario, what is truly efficient? Is it spending less time collecting the same amount of data or collecting even more data with the newfound time?
If it is the latter, does that mean it’s time for the development sector to embrace advanced algorithms that use development data to create simple triggers to help decision makers, thus removing much of the human analysis element? Does the sector have sufficient trust in the current quality of data to move in that direction?
Data quality is of utmost importance to M&E, but ensuring data quality continues to be a struggle within the sector. The group explored many technology-based ideas to increase data quality and participant tracking, including biometric data collection (iris scanning, finger print scanning) and technology enabled systems to identify outlier data.
Unfortunately, many of these solutions have yet to be developed, are cost-prohibitive, or are fraught with data privacy concerns. As a result, the human element surfaced again. Many of us agreed that data is only as good as the skills of the person collecting it. Some enumerators have higher capacity than others, yet system-wide data quality checks rarely account for this. Could data quality be improved through the use of reputation-based data verification systems that focus data quality checks on lower capacity enumerators while giving higher capacity enumerators more leeway?
Unquestionably, ICT has the potential to transform the efficiency and usefulness of data collection, as well as boosting organizational confidence in data collected through M&E systems. But it also has the potential to create inefficiencies if applied in inefficient operations where human capacity and technological infrastructure is low.

Read original post via @ICT_Works

Gnucoop at Techfugees Italy

November 10th, 2015 Posted by Refugees 1 comment on “Gnucoop at Techfugees Italy”

On 5th and 6th of November we participated at the Italian edition of Techfugees, hosted by H-Farm.
The program included a hackaton to work on tech solutions and products to aid both refugees and agencies, starting on Thursday evening, after a brief presentation of the needs made by some humanitarian actors: Red Cross, INTERSOS, Save the Children (you can find their presentation here).
The second day foresaw a series of panels about technologies,Corporate Care, funding, mapping, sharing economy etc… (Program is available here).

All the participants has been divided into 5 groups.
Our team consisted of three people.
We decided to work on the Intersos Challenge n.2: a system to manage the security of aid workers, that can track their location wherever they are.
Briefly, the idea is the following:
The mobile app automatically reports the location of the Aid worker, sending GPS coordinates to the server.
The operator can select the security level of the area.
The platform sends an alert notification when it detects that an operator is located in an area previously reported as dangerous.
The frequency of the notifications varies depending on the security level of the area and on the time of permanence in the same place.
Through the Crowdmapping platform we will have a security level map of the area of intervention.
Below the video we prepared for the final panel of the conference and the presentation to the donor.

The winning team proposed a project to meet the Red Cross Challenge 2: Efficient use of resources – How to distribute food supplies to avoid waste.
Thanks to Paypal they will develop the platform over the next few months.

We have been awarded a “Special Mention” and we’ll develop the App!