TSF & the European Commission train 66 International NGOs

2013 - Field ICT Training for Emergency Responders




3 continents, 34 countries, 66 international NGOs, 115 emergency workers


Thanks to the funding provided by ECHO (the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department); Télécoms sans Frontières’ six month telecommunications and information technology training programme has recently come to an end. The programme, alongside over 100 emergency workers from numerous NGOs took place over three continents: Asia, South America, and for the very first time, Africa.


The four training sessions were held in four different countriesBangkok, Thailand (from 18th – 23rd March), Managua, Nicaragua (from 6th – 11th May), Dakar, Senegal (from 20th – 25th May) and finally in Nairobi, Kenya (from 17th – 22nd June).


The first one hundred participants in the programme were trained to prepare for emergency response and introduced to ICT solutions. The main goal of the training sessions was to reinforce people’s skills and strengthen the coordination of humanitarian organisations involved in emergency response.


A total of 66 international humanitarian organisations from 34 different countries participated in the training events, amongst which the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UNHCR, Action Against Hunger, Médecins sans Frontières, CARE, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Islamic Relief, Concern, Plan International and Merlin, to name but a few.


Capacity building in response operations to humanitarian crises is vital for the effective implementation of coordination mechanisms, especially in support of ground operations. The purpose of TSF training courses is to strengthen the coordination and competence of emergency actors in a particular region. The participants are prepared for emergencies and discover ICT solutions, including the structure and methodology of the United Nations. With more effective response from the emergency players, humanitarian aid on the ground will have a stronger impact on affected populations.



Nirobi session: from 17th to 22nd June, 2013


Since 2011, the region of East Africa has been hit by one of the most devastating droughts in its history, after two seasons of lack of rainfall which led to agricultural shortages and dramatic losses of cattle. A state of famine, threatening more than 13 million people, has been declared by the UN and humanitarian organizations.



The unstable region of the Horn of Africa, and East Africa as a whole, experiences recurrent crises and a severe shortage of the telecommunication facilities and resources necessary for a proper emergency response. Such an environment is an obstacle to humanitarian aid for the target populations. Thus, there is a vital need for capacity building for emergency agencies on the ground to improve the impact of their response in any crisis.


TSF experts intervened in Kenya following the food crisis that hit the country in 2012 and made telecom assessments to identify the needs of humanitarian workers and refugees, and offered free calls to victims. The TSF teams also established an internet connection to benefit the NGO VSF Belgium to optimize its work with affected people.


This week, for the second time in Africa, TSF, thanks to the financial support of the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), is carrying out ICT training for East-African humanitarian organizations involved in emergency response. The training session has begun in Nairobi, Kenya on June 17, 2013.

Nairobi training is receiving 25 participants representing 17 international organizations involved in emergency response in 7 East-African countries: DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

At the end of this training program, TSF will remain available for a year to provide remote support through an interactive web portal of technical support ICT Relief that aims to increase the reactivity and effectiveness of relief efforts.




Dakar session: from 20th to 25th May, 2013


In the region of the Sahel and in West Africa, prolonged drought combined with conflicts causes recurrent crises, affecting millions of people. The limited or totally lacking access to means of communication slows the delivery of humanitarian aid to these vulnerable populations. In light of this complex humanitarian situation, there is a crucial need for increased capacity coordination of humanitarian actors and improved diffusion of information in the field.Cartedakaren


Effective telecom solutions can therefore reduce the impact of the crisis on people's lives.


Thus, TSF teams have been working in Mali since February 2013, have offered free calls to the victims of the conflict and then installed a satellite connection for the benefit of local authorities.


For the first time on the African continent, TSF, with funding from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), is giving ICT training to the West African humanitarian organizations involved in emergency response. This training session began in Dakar, Senegal, May 20th, 2013.

The objective is to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian organizations in West Africa involved in emergency response.





Managua session: from 6th to 11th May, 2013


cartemanaguaenIn order to strengthen the proficiency of humanitarian organizations in crisis situations and help to save lives, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF), thanks to the financial support of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), has organized between May 6th and 11th, in Managua, a training session in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for 25 participants working in humanitarian organizations from Latin America involved in emergency response.

The training course will directly benefit 25 participants from 14 humanitarian organizations working in 10 countries (Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela and Peru). Indirectly, these workshops will also be of use to other humanitarian actors working in emergencies through partnerships and information exchange.




Bangkok session: from 18th to 23rd March, 2013


The first session has begun in Bangkok, Thailand, on the campus of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) where the TSF regional base is located. From 18th to 23rd of March 2013, TSF has trained 25 participants from 18 different international organizations working in emergency response in 9 beneficiary countries in Asia:cartebangkoken

Afghanistan : Concern, International Medical Corps (IMC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Save the Children, Bangladesh : Action Aid, Action Contre la Faim; India : Adventist Development and Relief Agency India (ADRA); Indonesia : Mercycorps, Croix Rouge; Nepal : CARE, Plan, Save the Children; Pakistan : ACTED, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Médecins du Monde, UNHCR, Save the Children; Philippines : Plan, Save the Children; Sri Lanka : Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); Myanmar : International Rescue Committee (IRC), Solidarités International.




Six days of intense training to prepare a group of specialists in emergency telecommunications


In emergencies, information management and sharing has become critical for an effective humanitarian response. When crisis strikes, teams on the ground need to assess the situation and communicate vital information as fast as possible, stay connected with headquarters and other emergency responders in the country, but also mobilize donors and ensure visibility and advocacy. Following an emergency – where the need for telecommunications is greatest – telecommunications are often unavailable (telecommunications services are disrupted or over-saturated), slowing down the ability of local organizations to communicate, share information and assist affected communities. The challenge for Télécoms Sans Frontières and its partner the European Commission is to reinforce humanitarian capacities so as to optimize global response and thus contribute to saving lives.

This training is primarily meant for IT officers and managers from organizations involved in humanitarian emergency response. Participants need to have a minimal telecoms or IT technical background, and hold a position in their organization where they will use the skills acquired to provide IT support to their own organization for emergency response. The course will be taught in English, and there is a maximum of 25 trainees per session. 



Objective and content of the training program


Participating organizations will be trained in emergency communication systems. The program includes the environment of an emergency, the use of equipment and telecommunications services accessible in an emergency situation, practical sessions and a simulation exercise. At the end of the training session, the beneficiary organizations will have acquired the necessary know-how for emergency deployment of modern telecommunications technologies to establish fast and reliable Internet and phone connections.


bkktrainecho4The purpose of TSF training courses is to strengthen the collaboration with, and further build the capacity of, the emergency responders in a particular region. Participants are trained in emergency ICT solutions and emergency mechanisms, including United Nations systems and methodology. The aim is to prepare them for rapid deployment to sudden-onset emergencies, and prepare them to assist the national authorities and the United Nations within the country thanks to a better understanding of the regions' evolving disaster preparedness, risk reduction and disaster response trends.


• The management of crisis telecommunications module includes elements such as the environment of the emergency response and emergency telecommunications and how to organize the telecom response, cost management and the preparation of a telecom budget.
• The module concerning ICT equipment used in emergency situations aims to train participants in the use of ICT equipment and the services available in emergency response.
• The final phase of training consists of a practical simulation exercise of a deployment of emergency communications in a humanitarian crisis.


Another emergency ICT training session was organised in Nairobi from 24th until 28th June 2013 for the staff of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department. The 15 participants from 10 different countries took part in this programme, the aim of which was to reinforce their skills in preparation and emergency response on the field. By the end of the session, those who took part became autonomous in the installation and the management of basic networks and satellite resources, as well as the setting up of emergency offices or providing communication for mobile teams on the field.


At the end of each session, the participating organisations acquired the necessary knowledge for the emergency deployment of modern telecommunication technology in order to establish reliable and efficient internet and telephone connections. All the participants are therefore able to pass on their skills to their organisation as well as their local partners, thus optimising the efficiency of their responses and interventions amongst the affected population. Consequently, thanks to various partnerships and the exchanging of information, these workshops will also be beneficial to other humanitarian responders working in similar emergency situations.


Since 2009, TSF has organised numerous training sessions which reinforce people’s skills in the emergency response field, through the use of information and communication technology. More than 715 representatives from various NGOs, UN agencies and local authorities have been able to benefit from these programmes. Thanks to this, TSF has contributed in the strengthening of humanitarian aptitudes, so as to optimise global responses and thus contribute in saving people’s lives.



ICT Training Draft Agenda:

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Click on a link to see more information about each session:
- Bangkok, Thailand (March 18-23, 2013)

- Managua, Nicaragua (May 5-11, 2013) (spanish)

- Dakar, Senegal (May 20-26, 2013) (french)
- Nairobi, Kenya (June 16-23, 2013)