In today’s ICT4D class we explored the use of technology during emergencies. While I was initially aware of ICTs for the purpose of humanitarian efforts following a disaster or country emergency, I was not completely versed in the potential that ICT has during before and during the actual emergency event. Following our discussion of ICT for disaster resilience, I decided to do some research on my focus country, Nepal. Situated in a highly volatile geographic region, Nepal is susceptible to massive earthquakes on a fairly regular basis. Therefore, the humanitarian efforts in the country have given a significant amount of thought to the integration of ICT for disaster preparedness. According to an article by the ICT Humanitarian Emergency Platform, Nepal is working on reducing the impact of natural disasters through the use of ICT. Specifically, the International Committee of the Red Cross has developed an Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) for maintaining communication during an earthquake.
The EPP includes a number of procedures to maintain information and communication throughout a disaster. To start with, they have technical physical equipment stored away for easy transportation and relocation. During a disaster, the plan initiates communication to the Headquarters in Geneva which then deploys a secondary emergency response. The plan also includes setting up communication with satellite phones and establishes connections to the office and corporate networks from remote locations. The goal of the plan is to keep officials in contact with each other because “communications is one of the most important tools during an emergency response operation.”
The plan, however, does not go into detail on what to do once communications are set up. Importantly, ICT during a disaster is necessary but not sufficient to reducing harm and damage to a country and its people. Similarly, even if officials have access to communication and information, it does not mean that anyone else does. I would like to find further emergency plans for Nepal that explore how ICT can be an advantage to the average person on the ground during a disaster. More so, I would like to see how ICT is integrated into the preparation, response, and recovery of more organizations in Nepal beyond The Red Cross. All questions aside, I was pleasantly surprised that humanitarian efforts in Nepal had integrated ICT into their action plan.
Social media is extremely important for professionals in any aspect of business. The social networking website, Ryze.com is a free and paid website designed for business professionals. The site is focused towards new entrepreneurs who are looking to promote their business. The website is widespread in the business world of entrepreneurs, but is still looking to gain more widespread exposure. The site claims to have over 500,000 members in 200 countries. It also states that over 1,000 external organizations use the website to network. The website was founded in San Francisco in 2001 at the beginning of the new generation of social networking services. The website is similar to LinkedIn in the sense that new businesses can gain exposure and network with other professionals, but has not seen as much popularity as its counterpart.
Here’s a YouTube video that explains Ryze and how to create an account and use the website:
From the research I’ve done about Ryze, it seems like a great idea to get entrepreneurs connected and network new and innovative ideas. This could be potentially helpful in the developing world, especially with NGOs and businesses that are focused on development, but the organization must place a larger emphasis on marketing it’s product to be utilized by a greater degree of professionals.