Using Effective Communication and Technology to Thrive Pre- and Post-Disaster

September 17, 2018 Tina Bolding

This is a guest post from Ashlee Sang, Content Manager at Telecom4Good

Whether you’re working in the most remote corners of the world or managing the aftermath of a natural disaster in an urban hub, proper equipment and training are essential to developing your organization and the communities where you work. Securing stable technology in the aftermath of an emergency situation is top priority, not only to communicate with disaster victims, but also to reach international offices and relief agencies with the resources to help. Wi-Fi equipment is needed to facilitate response efforts. Reliable Internet also provides access to online training from DisasterReady to find strategies and solutions as new issues arise.

Communication channels become imperative to survival when dealing with emergencies, allowing first responders on the ground to meet basic needs and share information. At Telecom4Good, we do not want budget or access to be a barrier to having top quality communications technology. Through our Disaster Response Donation Program, NGOs can borrow Cisco Meraki equipment to build wireless networks during the critical period after natural disasters strike. We provide configuration and setup assistance, along with equipment monitoring, so relief workers are fully operational. Once the area is stable, the equipment is returned to us using Telecom4Good funds. This entire program is cost-free for our NGO partners and deployment is available within hours of the disaster hitting.

During times of emergency or stability, we believe in the power of the Internet to be a catalyst for change by opening the door to new knowledge. The more people we can get connected to dependable, secure Internet, the more likely they are to find sustainable solutions to personal and social problems. Through our Give Free Wi-Fi Program, we can provide Internet to communities surrounding an NGO office at no additional cost to them or the organization. With our Free Internet to Rural Schools and Health Centers Program, we empower these local leaders to take their efforts to new heights through knowledge found on the Internet. By simply connecting people to the source, the content DisasterReady offers to humanitarian and development organizations can be truly transformational to individuals, organizations, and entire communities.

Our flagship program, the Bandwidth Aggregation Program​ (BAP), leverages the power of collaboration to save you and neighboring NGOs 30-55% on Internet costs through group rates with trusted Internet service providers. Better, more reliable Internet facilitates easier communication between offices and makes staff’s time more efficient. A common frustration is slow and unstable Internet, especially for teams placed in field offices or those needing to get in touch with staff in remote areas. This connectivity problem is widespread and not only wastes time, but also prevents real-time collaborative decision-making. The BAP allows organizations to increase their programmatic impact by decreasing their IT costs and effort spent trying to get—and stay—connected.

Both DisasterReady and Telecom4Good’s goal is to equip humanitarians around the world. While DisasterReady uses eLearning to spark development, we facilitate growth through the tools and networks needed to get connected. Our programs save our NGO partners money and internal resources so they can focus on what they do best—developing their own programs for communities in need. Technology and knowledge have a symbiotic history and will continue to fuel progress within NGOs and the communities they serve.


About the Author

Tina Bolding is the Director of and is responsible for the strategy, development and outreach for this effort to support the critical and demanding training needs of the global humanitarian community. Before joining the Foundation, Tina served as chief human resources officer at Food for the Hungry, an international relief and development organization, where she built a global HR department and implemented support services to assist HR operations across 22 countries. Tina holds a BA in Organizational Communication and Psychology from the University of Tulsa.


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