Vodafone, UN Foundations Launch Global Emergency Communications Partnership

Vodafone, UN Foundations Launch Global Emergency Communications Partnership

The United Nations World Food Programme, Vodafone Group Foundation, and the United Nations Foundation have announced a new global partnership that will work to increase the effectiveness of the information and communications technology (ICT) response to major emergencies and disasters around the world.

The partnership, which has received a $4.3 million commitment from the Vodafone Group Foundation-United Nations Foundation Technology Partnership and $1.8 million from WFP, will work to develop the first ICT training program open to global humanitarian relief organizations and will focus on standardizing ICT solutions used by aid organizations to help them improve their ability to establish communications networks in the immediate aftermath of a humanitarian crisis.

Over the next three years, the program intends to train more than five hundred staffers from WFP and other UN and nongovernmental organizations and will support the immediate deployment of rapid response ICT teams. The initiative builds upon a 2006 effort funded by the two foundations to develop ICT best practices and an ITC training curriculum.

"More and more frequently, the international aid community is being called on to help save lives, restore order and rebuild communities after major disasters," said Kathy Bushkin Calvin, chief operating officer of the UN Foundation. "By investing in disaster response before disaster strikes, and by opening this partnership to the entire relief community, we know that this will help strengthen everyone's efforts on the ground."