Hand holds a mobile phone (by Meredith Kohut/Internews)

Mobile App to Improve Information Sharing Amid Crises

March 21, 2012
Partnership between Internews' Humanitarian Information Projects and ACAPS wins internal Mobile App Competition

A new mobile app designed to make it easier for humanitarian agencies to share up-to-date information was selected for development in the first internal Mobile App Competition organized by the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning. The app is a collaboration between Internews' Humanitarian Information Projects and the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS).

The proposed mobile app will share the content developed in the Disaster Needs Analyses (DNAs) produced by ACAPS. The DNAs provide humanitarian actors with an overview of existing information on current crises as well as lessons learned from previous disasters. The judges were impressed with the potential of this idea to improve humanitarian operations and address the needs of disaster-affected people, including the local media.

"Ensuring shared situation awareness among humanitarians in a rapidly evolving humanitarian situation is a major challenge. This application will allow us to share the DNAs in a more agile and timely manner," said Lars Peter Nissen, Director of ACAPS. "Furthermore, it will enable feedback from the field to the analysis team in Geneva, ensuring that the analysis can be updated and kept in pace with operational developments." Currently, DNAs are shared as PDF files.

The competition challenged Internews staff to work with partner organizations and propose innovative ideas for a mobile app that would improve information, access, and exchange. As part of the award, the ICIL commits $10,000 to develop the mobile app and will support further fundraising efforts to develop it.

The joint competition entry from Internews' Humanitarian Information Projects and ACAPS comes as the result of a growing partnership between the two teams to improve the information available to first responders in contexts of crisis. Through the DFID-funded infoasaid project, Internews and ACAPS have been collaborating to ensure that DNAs also contain a specific section on media and telecommunications landscapes.


ACAPS is an initiative of a consortium of three NGOs (the Norwegian Refugee Council, HelpAge International, and Merlin) dedicated to improving needs assessments in complex emergencies, sudden onset disasters and protracted crises. ACAPS works with a number of humanitarian actors, including the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Needs Assessment Task Force. Learn more about ACAPS on their web site, and on Twitter at @ACAPSproject.

About the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

The Internews Center for Innovation & Learning experiments with, captures and shares innovative approaches to communication from around the world. The Center has committed to capturing the technological discoveries of field offices to enrich the knowledge base of the international development community as a whole. Follow the Center online and on Twitter at @info_innovation.

About Internews and Humanitarian Information

Working in partnership with local media and aid providers, Internews aims to fulfill people's right to access information, ask questions, and participate in their own relief and recovery. Download a copy of When Information Saves Lives, 2011 Internews' Annual Humanitarian Report, keep track of Internews' Humanitarian Information Projects online, and follow the latest humanitarian communication developments on Twitter @internews, @internewseurope and @jqg.