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|Friday, 07 September 2012 12:44|
Enhancing Aid Delivery to Syrian Refugees: Souktel and Partners Launch Mobile Shipment Tracking System
With the crisis in Syria worsening daily, the need for fast, reliable emergency aid delivery has grown dramatically--especially in the past month: As of late August, Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 200,000 Syrians have now fled to neighboring countries. Meanwhile, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent reports that tens of thousands of citizens are displaced internally, within the country’s borders.
For these crisis-affected communities, basic food, water and medical supplies are increasingly hard to obtain as conflict continues in key cities and towns. For the aid agencies that provide this assistance, getting supplies to the ‘right people at the right time’ poses an equal challenge.
Earlier this summer, however, Souktel began working with partners to tackle this problem--developing a mobile supply chain management system that streamlines aid distribution to Syrian refugees: In the warehouse, mobile inventory management tools keep track of incoming and outgoing shipments, and a reporting module catalogs the value and quantity of all goods that arrive and depart. In the field, the system uses smartphone applications to track packages via satellite and report back on their status--and their GPS coordinates--in real time. The end result is a faster, more efficient aid supply chain where items like medicine get to local communities more quickly--with fewer bottlenecks, and fewer shipments going missing.
While the conflict, sadly, shows few signs of resolution, Souktel hopes that this new initiative will help address the immediate food and medicine shortages faced by Syrian refugees across the region. Drawing on its experience delivering emergency mobile services during crises like the 2009 Gaza conflict and the 2011 East Africa famine, the organization is committed to helping its Middle East neighbors improve their lives, especially in times of need.
Souktel and Al Jazeera TV Empower Libyan Voters to Share Views via Mobile
As the Arab Spring gave way to ground-breaking democratic elections in Libya and Egypt this year, voters also had a first-ever chance to share their views on the political process. And with mobile penetration close to 100% in both countries, cell phones quickly emerged as a key tool for amplifying local voices. Souktel and Al Jazeera TV took the lead in leveraging this trend--launching new mobile services that empowered voters to have their say about the elections as they unfolded.
In early July, the partners rolled out a new campaign called Libya Speaks, which sent out text messages to citizens across the country asking if they planned on taking part in the elections, and why. More than 5,000 Libyan mobile users were polled; real-time SMS responses were then mapped on the news network's website, to give audiences a clear picture of local community views.
The SMS feedback was candid, and revealed a wide spectrum of opinions: “No, I won’t vote,” responded a participant in Tripoli. Meanwhile, voter Abdul Aziz from Tobruq texted: “Surely I will take part [in the elections]. I'm hoping security and freedom will be achieved”.
"The goal of this campaign is to give a voice to communities who haven't previously had a way to share their views," says Souktel CEO Jacob Korenblum. "In North America or Europe, people are almost over-inundated with opportunities to post, tweet, or blog their perspectives on an issue. In Libya, though, this was the first time anyone had asked ‘average citizens’ what they actually thought about the vote. Facilitating this kind of debate is key to building a strong civil society".
Souktel's work with Al Jazeera builds on previous mobile polling successes: Last year, the partners joined forces with "crowd-mapping" leader Ushahidi to carry out a similar campaign in the Horn of Africa. Previously, the three organizations worked together to create the first-ever SMS citizen reporting initiative during the 2009 conflict in Gaza.
What is Souktel? The Mobile Advantage
Souktel is a unique service that helps aid providers get news and data to/from local communities—through audio and SMS alerts and surveys on mobile phones. Learn how Souktel’s technology helps aid providers save time, save money, and connect with more people than ever. See our demos. Meet our users. Find out how Souktel can help you: www.souktel.org