When natural disasters occur, the ability to coordinate relief efficiently and effectively is critical. Responders are faced with a challenging environment that includes increasing complexity of inter-agency coordination, damaged and limited communications infrastructure, outdated or paper-based mapping/topography information, and difficulty in disseminating information quickly (both between the various response participants and the public). These challenges have been compounded by the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters as well as deepening global inter-dependencies occurring in the last decade.
One organization that is helping these countries tackle the digital divide is NetHope. Formed 10 years ago, NetHope is a nonprofit collaboration of IT leaders from 33 leading international NGOs that serve tens of millions of people each year in over 180 countries and that manage more than $30 billion (U.S.) in aid. NetHope members currently use SharePoint to share information, technology resources and best practices across their organizations in order to better support healthcare, education, agriculture, natural resource management, emergency response and microfinance programs. By fostering partnerships between NGOs as well as socially responsible corporations and foundations, NetHope leverages the power of collaboration and technology to scale humanitarian relief, emergency response and conservation programs to reach more people in need.