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community mapping

How social media data can improve people’s lives - if used responsibly

Stefaan Verhulst's picture

Image 20170412 25862 wxzwfmIn January 2015, heavy rains triggered unprecedented floods in Malawi. Over the next five weeks, the floods displaced more than 230,000 people and damaged over 64,000 hectares of land.

Almost half the country was labelled a “disaster zone” by Malawi’s government. And as the humanitarian crisis unfolded, relief agencies, such as the Red Cross were faced with the daunting task of allocating aid and resources to places that were virtually unrecorded by the country’s mapping data, and thus rendered almost invisible.

Humanitarian workers struggled to navigate in many of the most affected areas, and one result was that aid did not necessarily reach those most in need.

To prevent similar knowledge gaps in the future, researchers, volunteers and humanitarian workers in Malawi and elsewhere, have turned to an unlikely partner: Facebook.

In 2016, as part of its “Missing Maps” project, the Red Cross accessed Facebook’s rich population density data to find and map people who were critically vulnerable to natural disasters and health emergencies, but remained unrecorded in existing maps.

From Nairobi to Manila, mobile phones are changing the lives of bus riders

Shomik Mehndiratta's picture
Las Vegas via Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

What do casinos in the Las Vegas desert, beachside cultural sites in Malta, and palm groves around centuries-old markets in Marrakech have in common? The answer lies beneath a veneer of seemingly disparate societies and geographies: this improbable urban trio shares the same story of dwindling water resources and associated crisis management. The good news is that these fast growing, tourist-invaded, and arid urban areas are constantly writing new chapters of their water stories. We believe that these chapters, featuring a world of possibilities for innovation and learning, are worth sharing with water scarce cities around the world.
 
The Water Scarce Cities Initiative (WSC) is a pioneering World Bank global program that connects diverse stakeholders to share their experiences in bolstering integrated approaches for water security and climate resilience. With its sights set on collective progress, WSC partnered with the 5 + 5 group for the Water Strategy in the Western Mediterranean (WSWM) to hold a Regional Water Scarce Cities Workshop in Casablanca, Morocco from May 22-23, 2017. From Cyprus to Barcelona (Spain), the workshop inspired and motivated over 40 diverse participants from the Western Mediterranean region and beyond to explore the connections between their water security and urban resilience experiences.

Watching Tanzania leapfrog the digital divide

Boutheina Guermazi's picture
Equipped with unique tourist destinations, a strong national brand, and favorable trade positions with developed countries, Nepal is a country full of untapped potential. But several obstacles are holding it back from being a modern and globally connected economy. Some of these are unavoidable, such as its remote and landlocked location. But others, including outdated and restrictive trade and investment policies, lack of sufficient infrastructure, and a low capacity for adhering to quality standards for exports, could be resolved with a more modern trade framework.

Call for Feedback: How-To Note on Community Mapping for Better Services

Samhir Vasdev's picture

Latin America's Growth prospects:Made in China?

Global turmoil. Growing prospects of another recession. Crisis in the Eurozone. China’s role as a global growth and recovery engine thrown into question.

The current situation looks worrying enough as it is for Latin America –and the rest of the world for that matter- but the region’s growth prospects should be looked at beyond the current juncture and on the merits of its long-term strengths.
 
Here’s why. The last ten years or so have been very good for many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. They have witnessed the consolidation of a stable and resilient
macro-financial framework, relatively high growth rates, and advances in the equity agenda.

This new economic face of the region was perhaps most clearly portrayed by a rather robust performance, especially of South American countries, in the context of the recent global crisis. In effect, compared to the middle-income country average, the region’s recession in 2009 was relatively short-lived and, with the notable exception of Mexico, remarkably mild, which helped to make its recovery in 2010-2011 stronger.