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Policy paper

Mobile Technology in Emergencies

2012 — By David Hollow, Joel Mitchell, Catherine Gladwell, Ruth Aggiss

Mobile phones are increasingly accessible to those affected by crisis and can play a strategic role in the delivery of rapid, cost-effective, scalable humanitarian assistance. However, the full potential of mobile phones to work as transformative tools in emergency response has not yet been realised. This research identifies three key themes that should be addressed in order to change this situation: increasing accountability, building preparedness and prioritising collaboration and highlights that making progress with each of these issues is dependent on a shared commitment from INGOs, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and governments. The report investigates how mobile technology can support accountability, preparedness and collaboration, and includes a special focus section on mobile-based cash transfer. Recommendations are provided to INGOs, MNOs and governments. These include ensuring mobile-based services are introduced in emergency preparedness and contingency planning activities; prioritising increasing network coverage for the most remote areas in the midst of emergencies; and recognising the need to incorporate emergency support for communication as an essential component of response.