How disaster relief workers are using data analytics to support and measure their efforts (free PDF)

As natural disasters continue to escalate, the role of NGOs in relief efforts is growing. This ebook looks at how data-driven technology helps them achieve transparency, plan operational objectives, and direct their aid and support where it’s needed.

From the ebook:

Hurricanes don’t really have birthdays. But if they did, August 17, 2017, would mark the official birthday of hurricane Harvey, when the system became a tropical depression in the east of Barbados. From that point on, Harvey wreaked havoc everywhere it hit, leaving behind destroyed property and infrastructure and people in dire need of help.

Notwithstanding state- and federal-backed disaster relief, the role of privately backed non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the wake of emergencies has been key. Whether that is a good thing is a matter of perspective, but one of the things that plays a part in this discussion is transparency.

With state and federal organizations, in theory at least, there is a certain level of trust and mechanisms for auditing. With NGOs, however, the need to showcase to donors and to the public at large how their money is spent is perhaps even more pronounced.

Team Rubicon’s Open Initiative
One of the organizations at the forefront of the post-Harvey cleanup was Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon is an NGO focused on disaster relief, founded by US Marines William McNulty and Jacob “Jake” Wood. Team Rubicon has a double bottom-line: It uses disaster response to help reintegrate veterans into civilian life.

Team Rubicon was formed in the wake of the Haiti earthquake, and it has participated in a number of disaster response efforts since. As Team Rubicon grew, its team identified the need for accountability and launched its Open Initiative to address this.

In the spirit of being open, Team Rubicon created a space to share key data points, ranging from financial support and impact to membership growth and operational metrics. These data points help Team Rubicon make deliberate investments, draft operational planning objectives, and ensure that it delivers impact to communities affected by disasters.

Team Rubicon has partnered with Qlik, a vendor providing data analytics software, to implement its Open Initiative. Julie Whipple, Qlik global head of corporate responsibility, told ZDNet the collaboration began when she met several members of Team Rubicon at a NetHope conference in Atlanta in 2017.

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