A 3W web platform in the South Eastern Africa Region #ict4d

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A 3W web platform in the South Eastern Africa Region

In 2012, Gnucoop developed a 3W web platform for Cooperazione Internazionale, an italian NGO, to help the organisation and its partners monitoring DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) activities in 4 countries (Comoros Islands, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique) in the South Eastern Africa Region (DIPECHO funded project).


Projects about disaster preparedness or response are complex as many indicators and variables need to be monitored at the same time and they may concern very different sectors of intervention: from food security and shelter management to wash and sanitation infrastructure and capacity building activities. The 3W platforms are usually built from a 3W matrix (“Who is doing What and Where“) , a well-known global tool used by humanitarian organisations to capture data from the field  and manage cluster data. The matrix is then used to generate several types of information products: from maps to graphs and tables. 3W applications provide decision makers and project managers with an easy to use system to keep control over current activities and plan future ones in a specific region.

WHO: Who is involved?

More and more cooperation projects are requiring interactions among several organisations and governmental bodies. Also donors tend to fund projects from NGOs’ consortium to improve efficiency  of implemented actions in a specific area while avoiding overlapping and duplication of efforts. Answering to the question ‘Who is involved?’ helps to clearly identify partners working together on the same project as well as other actors that are operating in the same region.  This may also lead to new opportunities for further collaborations.

WHAT: What is being implemented?

Within a specific project, such as the DIPECHO Regional one, each partner may be specialised in a specific sector of intervention, i.e.: wash, food security, health, etc... However, these sectors are interconnected and it can be very important for a partner to know what other organisations are doing in the same area in order to identify potential collaborations or gaps. Answering to the question ‘What is being implemented?’ helps to have a clear picture of what has been achieved so far by partners as well as avoiding overlapping and duplication of efforts.  This can also turn out to be very useful in time of emergencies, as this information is critical to plan accurate response.

WHERE: Where is the activity taking place?

Project activities are implemented in several locations. If geographical coordinates of villages or towns where activities are implemented are known, it is possible to add them to basemaps such as GoogleMap or OpenstreetMap and integrating them on a web application using basic GIS or webGIS tools. Answering to the question ‘Where are activities taking place?’ helps to have a clear picture of where partners are working and if other organisations are carrying out activities in the same area or, on the contrary, if some areas are uncovered and need to be assisted.


In the latest years, the 3W tool has also been extended to the 4th W, that represents the ‘When’, adding a temporal dimension to captured data and the 5th W, that represents the ‘Why’, indicating the needs behind a specific activity or intervention.

It is extremely important that these platforms are always kept up to date in order to provide meaningful information and guide humanitarian actors in organising a response.

To view the DIPECHO platform, click here: http://www.gi4drrdb.coopi.org/

To view our data management project, click here: https://www.gnucoop.com/gic-portfolio-category/?gcip_cid=1175753