30 April 2013

Feature: Mobile Apps

Applications with a forced migration/humanitarian assistance focus are increasingly being developed for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.  But it's hard to know what is currently available.  Below is an initial list of apps that I have come across so far, but it's no doubt very incomplete.  If anyone knows of other relevant apps or a useful directory that provides access to apps in our field, please comment!


In Search of Home (Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting) [info]
- "With reporting by Stephanie Hanes, and photography by Greg Constantine, this interactive book takes you on a journey to visit the stateless people of Kenya, Burma and the Dominican Republic"; voted one of the best tablet/Mobile Delivery projects from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA).  See also related blog post.

Advocacy/raising awareness:

AiCandle (Amnesty International) [info]
- "Show your solidarity with the human rights movement and join our global network of more than 3 million activists, supporters and members."

And Then I Was a Refugee... (Australian Red Cross) [info]
- An app that "highlights some very real scenarios faced by people from refugee backgrounds including hunger and dehydration, tribal links, insecurity, people smuggling and endless queues. Our goal is to demystify the refugee experience and show people that this is a crisis millions of people find themselves in today. To add even more to the authenticity we have included stories and photos of people who have had a refugee experience and are now settled in Australia."

My Life as a Refugee (UNHCR) [info]
- A game that "lets players contemplate the same life-changing decisions refugees make in a true-to-life quest to try to survive, reach safety, reunite with loved ones and re-start their lives."

Refugee Lives (Medill School of Journalism) [info] [access]
- "Northwestern students documented the lives of refugees from three different places in the world – Jordan, Malawi and Namibia — depicting the daily lives of refugees and establishing connections between resettled refugees and those abroad."


Intervention Journal (Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins) [info]
- "An international multi-disciplinary journal of mental health, psychosocial work and counseling in areas of armed conflict" and the official journal of the War Trauma Foundation.

Perspective (Norwegian Refugee Council) [info]
- "The first international foreign affairs magazine published by a Norwegian NGO. The English-speaking magazine focuses on humanitarian assistance and international politics."

News & information:

Global Emergency Overview [info] [access]
- "Provides an easily accessible, updated snapshot of natural disasters and complex emergencies at a global level. This overview is combined with a more in-depth analysis provided through the Disaster Needs Analyses. The GEO provides a more agile manner in which to share the analysis and receive feedback from responders in the field."

Human Rights Watch [info]
- "Delivers the week's most pressing global human rights news as well as the organization's in-depth reports, allowing users to learn more about current challenges and opportunities to create change. The 'latest news' section is regularly updated, ensuring that viewers have the most current information possible."

Humanitarian Response Kiosk (OCHA) [info] [info]
- "One of the challenges faced by humanitarian workers is access to timely, relevant and accurate information. New technology provides an opportunity for humanitarian workers to develop better ways to access and share this information, and get aid to those who need it more quickly and effectively."

*Uhuru [info]
- A "web-based interface that advertises refugee microenterprises—it is a location-based advertisement venue that directs customers to refugee businesses, thereby increasing revenues."

*UNHCR News App [info]
- "With UNHCR's unique content - news and human interest stories, striking photosets and full-screen video reportage - you'll stay up to date with the latest displacement news from around the world, all in three languages (English, French, Arabic). Special sections detail current emergencies, profile our High Commissioner, introduce key documents and show how you can help. Media professionals will particularly appreciate our latest press releases and briefing notes."

Operational support:

Focus Reader (UNHCR) [info]
- "Focus Reader provides quick access to UNHCR’s planning data entered in Focus Client. It offers simple views reflecting the different components of an operations plan such as narratives, indicators, budgets, office and positions structures of a single operation. Focus Reader's main advantage is its simplicity and speed. Users with basic Focus Client knowledge will be able to utilize the tool with minimal guidance. Due to its limited size, Focus Reader functions perfectly in environments with limited internet connectivity."

Global MedAid (U.S. Dept. of Defense) [info] [access]
- "Provides tools and resources to health sector personnel performing humanitarian and disaster relief operations. The App is intended for use by healthcare professionals such as public health officers, medics, nurses or doctors. This innovative app supports personal preparation, enables just-in-time learning and enhances productivity in the field.

iGDACS (UN & European Commission) [info]
- "Provides near real-time information about natural disasters and gives the possibility to send back information in the form of a geo-located image and/or text."

SAFE: Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy (Women's Refugee Commission) [info]
- Scroll down to "What are the global guidance documents?"; "the tools included in this app guide humanitarian actors through the various steps and sectors involved in designing and implementing an appropriate cooking strategy and thus contribute to improved access to safe cooking fuel."

- "A tool for taking and sharing geo-tagged photos specifically designed to work over low bandwidth. The photos are automatically mapped, thus helping towards overall situational awareness."


Learn & Connect (UNHCR) [info]
- "The e-learning platform for UNHCR, bringing training opportunities to more than 8,000 staff members and partners worldwide. With this mobile application UNHCR’s Global Learning Centre offers an additional learning opportunity for staff members, allowing them to access bite-size training courses via their mobile devices. These training courses have been designed to offer staff members access to the information they need, when and where they need it, covering a diverse range of topics from Management & Leadership to Emergency & Security."

Note that more web sites are also being optimized for mobile devices.  Here are some examples:

Forced Migration Review (FMR) [access]
- As of issue no. 42, FMR is now in A5 format, in part to make it easier to read on mobile devices.

Oxford Journals [info]
- Adding an "m." at the beginning of a journal's URL will direct a user to the mobile version; see, e.g., International Journal of Refugee Law, the Journal of Refugee Studies, and Refugee Survey Quarterly.

Refugees United [info] [access]

RefWorld [info]

ReliefWeb Mobile [info] [access]

Other app listings:
- Disaster Apps and Mobile Optimized Web Pages [access]
- UN Mobile Applications [access]

Learn more about apps at this upcoming event:

Linking Humanitarian Organizations with Mobile Data Collection Tool Providers, Paris, 15-17 May 2013 [info]


Tagged Events & Opportunities and Web Sites/Tools. 

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