Posts tagged "#ict4refugees"

Technology & Refugees: Techfugees Summit 2018

November 13th, 2018 Posted by AI, Blockchain, Data Collection, Refugees, software development, web platform 0 comments on “Technology & Refugees: Techfugees Summit 2018”
We participated to the Techfugees Global Summit 2018, which took place in Paris on 25th and 26th of October.
I remembered the first time I found the first Facebook post of this community, and it immediately caught my attention, in few days this community became very big!
It was September 2015, few days before Europe has met the young Alan Kurdi (Kurdish: Alan Kurdî‎), initially reported as Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy of Kurdish ethnic background, whose image made global headlines after he drowned on 2 September 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. He and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe amid the European refugee crisis. Photographs of his body were taken by Turkish journalist Nilüfer Demir and quickly spread around the world, prompting international responses.
Thanks to Techfugees everybody discovered how big was the tech community who was doing something to face the Refugee “crisis” but, first of all, was trying to support the Refugees who are arriving in Europe.

(more…)

Merkur.io, field-ready and secure payment network

September 20th, 2018 Posted by Blockchain, Emergency, ICT4D, Refugees, software development 0 comments on “Merkur.io, field-ready and secure payment network”

At the beginning of 2018, Gnucoop and Merkur.io started a collaboration for providing a cash and voucher platform to NGOs and Humanitarian Agencies.

Merkur.io is a secure digital payment platform capable of turning humanitarian voucher fairs into a fraud free, rapid and effective experience to NGOs, merchants and humanitarian assistance right holders (beneficiaries).

Merkur.io handles Humanitarian Voucher Fairs through crypto-currencies, using  safe and efficient payment methods. Our network extends to remote and offline areas to deploy the system with solar power and paper QR codes, allowing for  reinforced security measures.

Cash based assistance in particular humanitarian voucher fairs have made humanitarian assistance faster and more efficient.

(more…)

iRHIS rolling out to new countries

August 3rd, 2018 Posted by Data Analysis, Data Collection, MHealth, Refugees, software development 0 comments on “iRHIS rolling out to new countries”

Here we are with some updates on the Integrated Refugee Health Information System (IRHIS) project that aims at monitoring UNHCR’s public health activities in Refugee Camps worldwide.
https://his.unhcr.org/

Fig.1 iRHIS Landing page

 

The mobile and web application designed to collect and report refugees medical records is up and running with a renovated look and it’s currently being used in 4 countries: Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and Ethiopia, involving over 1300 users and serving over 355.700 refugees.

While Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia have also participated to the pilot phase, the system has been introduced to Ethiopia only in the last month, where over 500 new users have started to collect data.

While Data is collected daily and mostly offline on tablets by health staff, data synchronization and aggregation is performed weekly to update indicators on dashboard, reports and landing page. In some locations, such as in 2 Refugee camps in Zambia and one camp in Kenya, individual data collection has not been possible due to internal constraints. In order to overcome the challenge, the system provides the possibility to also enter already aggregated data directly into the application using a specific online form at health facility level.

Once information has been entered into the system, dashboard, reports and landing page allow easily monitoring of mortality, morbidity, reproductive health, diseases surveillance, Epi and nutritional indicators.

The landing page, that is publicly available,  displays indicator values at country and camp levels. The picture below shows pie charts (Fig.2) about the top five causes of morbidity in 6 Rwandese Refugee camps, grouped by disease type ( Acute Health Conditions, Chronic Diseases, Injuries, Mental Health Disease)

Fig. 2: Total consultations, Rwanda-June 2018

 

The following image instead shows the breakdown of ‘Skilled Birth Attendance’ indicator in Rwandese camps (Fig.3)

Fig. 3: Skilled Birth attendance breakdown, Rwanda-June 2018

 

The dashboard is also a key element of the iRHIS system. Displayed data is based on users’ permissions and Figure 4 shows some dashboard indicators (population, morbidity and mortality) related to Kiziba Refugee camp in Rwanda.

Fig. 4: Dashboard for Kiziba camp- week 30 2018

 

A great advantage of the system is that not only camp, country or regional supervisors but also clinicians at health center level can view updated indicators directly on their dashboard on their tablets. This helps them to always have a clear picture of the current status of the Health Facility or Camp where they work in. Furthermore, they can see their data collection efforts being used to generate valuable information.

Also reports are automatically generated weekly. They provide a comprehensive overview of public health and wash indicators at refugee camp level. Figure 5 and 6 show some examples of iRHIS reports.

Fig. 5: Example of HIS Indicator Report for Nyarugusu Camp (Tanzania, June 2018)

 

Fig. 6: Example of Disease Surveillance Report for Mugombwa Camp (Rwanda, week 30)

 

In the coming months, the system will be constantly monitored to improve its performance and facilitate the roll out in other countries. In August, Sudan will be added to the list of implementing countries. Particularly, next week health staff from 7 camps in Easter Sudan will be trained on the use of the new system.

We’ll continue keeping you posted on future updates of the project! Stay tuned!

Mission Report Maban County, South Sudan

January 5th, 2018 Posted by Data Collection, MHealth, Refugees, software development 0 comments on “Mission Report Maban County, South Sudan”
The last training session in the 5th pilot Country has been held in South Sudan, Maban CountySeveral refugee camps are currently located in Maban. They are largely occupied by people fleeing armed conflict in Sudan‘s Blue Nile and South Kordofan States. The largest camps are from west to east: Kaya, Yusuf Batil (locally known as Batil), Gendrassa (directly abutting Batil) and Doro (near the town of Bunj). The camps were initially supported by the World Food Programme, originally through food air drops, although as on 2013, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and several other NGOs started to provide more stable relief services.

Gendrassa Camp

The Maban UNHCR Health and Nutrition team has involved the NGOs working in the Health sector (Samaritan’s Purse, International Medical Corps, Medair, Relief International) for whom we held 3 days of training. The training was really successful, thanks to the enthusiastic involvement of the participantsThey were really well prepared people who are dedicating their life to the Sudanese Refugees who left their country and found a place to stay in South Sudan, another country afflicted by a civil war from 2014. They divided their time from the clinics to the NGO compound, where they spent time working on the reports of the day. The idea of using tablets and the chance of creating reports automatically, made them really happy.
We spent the second week visiting all the clinics and health posts they managed in the 4 refugee camps and the 2 hospitals outside the camps, which serve also the host community. We collected all the information necessary for the following pilot project. Indeed, in march 2018, they will leave paper in order to use only tablet for the data collection. Some of the clinics are in good conditions and well equipped, some other need to be rehabilitated, because working there it’s not easy. Maban County is quite difficult to be reached, especially for receiving building materials. They serve more than 100 refugees per day, giving health and nutrition support and they sincerely expressed their difficulties to work in these conditions.
We spent lot of time with all the people involved in the Health and Nutrition sector, UNHCR staff and NGOs local staff, we could learn many things. Having  time for visiting all the clinics in four different camps, having the possibility to talk to people and collecting information directly from the field about the situation in that country has been a really great experience.

The situation in the country is still really dramatic and complicate. Marking four years since the outbreak of South Sudan’s civil war, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on 13th December 2017, appealed for “urgent action by all sides to settle the conflict and put an end to the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis and Africa’s largest refugee crisis”Noting that 63 percent of all South Sudanese refugees are under 18, Grandi labelled the situation “a children’s refugee crisis” and stressed that: “many children are arriving unaccompanied, separated and deeply traumatised.” Refugee women arriving in neighbouring countries have also reported repeated rape, the killing of their husbands, and abduction of their children. The six countries neighbouring South Sudan host two million refugees, while nearly seven million citizens inside the country are in need of essential humanitarian assistance. Two million of these are internally displacedDespite this tragic situation, the South Sudanese staff we met showed us a great desire to work together and to do their job in the best possible way.
Thank you guys!

Twine training in Rwanda

December 4th, 2017 Posted by Data Collection, ICT4D, MHealth, Refugees 0 comments on “Twine training in Rwanda”

In the framework of the collaboration with UNHCR, Gnucoop has started the pilot phase of the Twine Platform, developed for the collection, processing and reporting of the data about the public health within the refugee camps run by UNHCR.

This step involves six Countries, such as Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan, which have started to use the platform during October and November 2017.

After the first step, in the next few months, the platform will be roll out to the other Countries in which UNHCR is working. In the meantime, Gnucoop is providing support to those six Countries in the training of the medical staff about the use of the web app.

Our Project Manager, Paola Fava, has been involved in the training, installation and tablets allocation in the refugee camps of Gihembe and Nyabiheke, in Rwanda. The training has been held in Kigali and according to her, it was a successful experience.

Paola Fava with the medical staff

Nurses, doctors, coordinator of the nutritional centres and data managers of the Nyabiheke and Gihembe clinics, all belonging to the medical staff working at the American Refugee Committee (ARC), UNHCR’ partner in Rwanda, actively participated in the training.

According to Paola, “The involvement was considerable. The medical staff of the health facility in Gihembe and Nyabiheke participated in the training with enthusiasm. The interaction with them was great”.

Furthermore, during her visits to the centers, she had the chance to observe and appreciate the wonderful work of those people who face everyday enormous difficulties in order to provide assistance in a hard context like the one in Rwanda, but always with enthusiasm and smiling.

 

Twine platform is growing: from HIS (Health Information System) to Livelihood & Energy sector

August 3rd, 2017 Posted by ICT4D, Refugees, software development 0 comments on “Twine platform is growing: from HIS (Health Information System) to Livelihood & Energy sector”

According to UNHCRAfter fleeing war or persecution, the opportunity to work and earn a living is one of the most effective ways people can rebuild their lives in dignity and peace”.
UNHCR helps the displaced to achieve self-reliance by building their skills and knowledge, as well as providing access to the resources, training, assets, inputs, services and markets they need.

Access to safe and sustainable energy is a basic human need. Without it, the forcibly displaced – particularly women and children – may be at increased risk and have less time to rebuild their lives”.
In 2014, UNHCR launched a global strategy for Safe Access to Fuels and Energy (SAFE). The SAFE strategy offers crucial guidance and details innovative approaches and technologies, including clean or fuel-efficient cookers, alternative and sustainable fuels, and solar-powered lighting.

Photo Credit: Marco Marche

In the next months Gnucoop will work with UNHCR DIST (Division of Information Systems and Telecommunications), and its business partner Operational Solutions and Transitions Section (OSTS), to extend the new Twine monitoring base platform, to include the Energy and Livelihoods programme sectors.

As UNHCR DIST mentioned in the Concept Note: “There are several advantages to extending the Twine base platform. It will facilitate end-user/stakeholder access to important operational and decision-making data via a shared portal. Additionally, it will also extend our investment by leveraging a common infrastructure and user management”.

Cash and vouchers: a new way to respond to hunger and nutrition issues

July 17th, 2017 Posted by Emergency, ICT4D, MMoney, Refugees, software development 1 comment on “Cash and vouchers: a new way to respond to hunger and nutrition issues”
Infographic 1: Cash and voucher system

 

Cash and voucher system refers to a restricted number of tools, where the cash or voucher is given to individuals, households or communities, but not to governments or other state actors.

In certain humanitarian disasters, the supply of food to markets and shops is sustained, yet, the affected population loses the means to buy it. In such cases, the cash and voucher aid approach ensures humanitarian aid reaches directly those with the greatest need in a timely manner.

Cash and vouchers are quick to deliver, cost-effective and provide people in need with greater choice. Among its advantages are benefits for local economies, empowerment of the beneficiaries, dignity and decision power to people who can choose the items they would like to buy. The cash and voucher system has shown to help the morale of those in need and also prepares the ground for linking relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) activities.

Cash and vouchers can be spent on a variety of products but usually food, non-food items, fuel, blankets and other essentials are the first port of call for those who need support.

With the institutional shift from food aid to food assistance, WFP  now has three distinct transfer modalities for distributing resources to target beneficiaries:
Cash,
Vouchers,
Food in kind (in-kind contribution and/or procured).

Cash and vouchers, together with food, provide WFP with additional flexibility in responding to hunger and nutrition issues, and allow the organization to tailor a food assistance response to the needs of beneficiaries – including those with special needs – and their contexts (i.e. what is possible, acceptable and/or feasible in a given situation), facilitating their access to available food in the local markets

The diversification of transfer modality options requires: (i) a systematic analysis of markets to determine suitability of a market based response; and (ii) a better understanding of the context through a series of sectoral capacity assessments. These will identify what is possible and feasible in a given context, and what is acceptable for beneficiaries in order to ensure that the chosen transfer modality is the most appropriate option.

The transfer modality consit of:
Cash trasnfers – monetary assistance in the form of physical cash or electronic disbursement to a targeted individual or household that enables direct access to food from the marketplace,
Voucher transfers – assistance to a targeted individual or household in the form of a paper or electronic entitlement reedemable at preselected retailers or at specifically organised fairs for a predifined list of commodities, but not for cash,
Food in-kind transfers – assistance to a targeted individual or household in the form of dry or wet rations.

The two main types of vouchers are:
Commodity voucher – redeemable for fixed quantities of specified foods,
Value voucher – redeemable for a choice of specified food items with the equivalent cash value of the voucher.

Furthermore, there are
two voucher distribution models:
Paper voucher – The beneficiary receives paper coupons and/or a scratch card that has a commodity or monetary value and that can be exchanged at contracted retailers or at specifically organized fairs. Both cash and commodity vouchers can be exchanged for items or services, but not for cash. Paper vouchers are distributed on a monthly basis and have a predefined validity period.
Electronic voucher – Electronic vouchers (e-vouchers) carry information on the monetary value of assistance or items and quantities they can be exchanged for on a barcode, a magnetic band or microchip on the card, or by short message service (SMS). Electronic voucher instruments (bank card, cell phone, SCOPECARD, etc.) are issued to beneficiaries only once, whereas their redemption value or quantity is credited remotely at predefined temporal intervals.


Infographic 2: Paper and electronic voucher
Infographic 3: Summary features of e-transfer mechanisms

Public Health Information System for UNHCR…some updates

June 30th, 2017 Posted by ICT4D, MHealth, Refugees, software development 0 comments on “Public Health Information System for UNHCR…some updates”
In collaboration with UNHCR​, Gnucoop has been troubleshooting, bug-fixing and maintaining the Twine web platform, that allows UNHCR and partners’ staff to collect and explore public health, water-sanitation and nutritional data, from health facility level in about 40 countries worldwide up to HQ level.
After this phase, Gnucoop was granted the commission to re-design the current Twine application to make it more suitable to current and future needs, overcoming the limitations of the original application.
This application allows to collect data and compile entry forms in a user-friendly way, visualize data, analyse and generate reports at different levels.

 

 

Through the web app you can analyse and generate reports, analyse public health, wash and nutrition indicators.

 

 

It’s possible to navigate through a dashboard and repository

section at multiple geographical level:  from refugee camps worldwide to country offices up to regional and HQ level. 

 

 

It’s possible to navigate through a dashboard and repository section at multiple geographical level:  from refugee camps worldwide to country offices up to regional and HQ level. 

Field Mission in Kakuma Refugees Camp

March 2nd, 2017 Posted by ICT4D, MHealth, Refugees, software development 0 comments on “Field Mission in Kakuma Refugees Camp”

From 20th to 24th of February we have been in Kakuma Refugees Camp.
This mission is part of the project we’re developing in support of UNHCR.
During the first day we’ve visited the General Hospital of the Refugees Camp, managed by IRC (International Rescue Committe)
First visit to IRC General Hospital

Together with the partners we discussed the program of the following days, which aim was to submit the new data collection system to the clinic staff and test it.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing at the IRC Main Hospital (OPD, IPD, RH, EPI Sectors) 

From our point of view, getting the chance to be on the field personally was of great utility. In addition to that, the presence of two persons with different competencies and capabilities – namely one developer and one project manager – was essential to understand and face the issues rised.

The workers have been explained and shown by the developer how to use the application in the very real field conditions and how to deal with some problems. We had to acknowledge that those mechanisms and passages often considered “trivial” by technicians are not regarded as such also by the users, therefore we took this as a lesson learned for the next field testing.
The deep knowledge of forms has been very helpful for feedback gathering and the related reviewing processes.
Furthermore, we could count for some urgent issues on our staff in Italy, who was reacting almost in real time to any request. 
Two categories of users participated in the test:

  • Nurses / Midwives for forms related to Reproductive Health;
  • Refugees employed in the clinics, for all the other forms.

Generally, the feedback we received was content-related, while almost nothing about the new collection system, that is the transition from the use of paper to electronic devices, was mentioned.
Only in the Expanding Program in Immunization (EPI) sector of the Main Hospital, the clinicians have expressed strong doubts, and declared to prefer the current paper forms.

It was the first testing so we focussed on the first feedback from the users, how they reacted to the use of the new system.  As already explained, they did not make any comments on the application but simply suggested some changes on the content of the form. 
In terms of timing, probably, after few days, they will get used to the system and get faster.

We suggest to spend more time to explain better to the users how it will change the entire process of data collecting and reviewing, thanks to the new system and make them aware about its potentials.

Data for refugees: a new data collection system for UNHCR

December 6th, 2016 Posted by Refugees 0 comments on “Data for refugees: a new data collection system for UNHCR”

Since a couple of months Gnucoop is engaged in a big project is support of UNHCR. Twine is a web-based platform currently used by UNHCR in refugee operations for data collection and reporting. We first approached this system in order to analyse its weaknesses and to come up with suggestions for the development of a new high performing and user-friendly application.
The so-called “NewTwine” – it is our purpose to give it as well a brand-new name – is being designed from scratch, including a total review of the current system architecture and the development of a mobile application for a unique data collection tool that represents the biggest news of the project.
This application allows to collect data and compile entry forms in a user-friendly way, visualize data, analyse and generate reports at different levels: from refugee camps worldwide to country offices up to regional and HQ level. The type of information concerns healthcare, water and sanitation, nutrition and food security sectors, where the Health Information System (HIS) functionalities entail the biggest component.
Twine is something that user can easily learn to utilize and this is huge beneficial for UNHCR at all levels because it allows the standardization and the speedup of several operations: it has just one interface for data entry; it offers the possibility of working offline and synchronizing when connection is available; it allows selected users to create and modify forms for data collection.
The project´s implementation started in April 2016 and is going to be completed until June 2017. We are currently testing the collecting section. During the analysis phase we have been piloting a new data collection modality using Twine in the WASH sector. Scope of it was the identification of strengths and challenges before extending the new system to other intervention sectors.
A five-week-feature testing between August and September 2016 took place in four Countries, such as Kenya, Jordan, Rwanda and Tanzania. First the Out-Patient Data (OPD) collection forms were tested on 80 tablets, but the application will be responsive and therefore data could be also entered by PC, Laptop, and smartphones.
Different persons, with individual expectations and experiences brought many useful and necessary feedback to modify and give us a better direction for the future development of the application.
During the testing 49 versions of the application have been released and more than 150 issues fixed. Based on the feedbacks, we were able to pinpoint some weaker points in development including the   enhancement of the offline-sync function and also thinking about harmonizing across the different Twine platforms (web and mobile).  The need to focus more on the aesthetic/user interface aspects of the app has been also pointed out.
The data elaboration and reporting section is being developed  now. This tool will allow the user to create new reports and customize her/his own dashboard.
Up to now a very collaborative working atmosphere between Gnucoop staff and UNHCR is being contributing to the first positive results. We are very satisfied with that and share the opinion of Eugene Paik – Public Health Data Analyst at UNHCR – when saying that “the development is heading in the right direction”.