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World Food Programme Crowd Map

World Food Programme – Blog Post 2

Crowd Map and SMS Information

Rebecca Graffy, Vanessa Joch, Lucy Perkins, Eric Siegel

Establishing a Crowd Map:
For the first assignment since beginning work on the WFP’s response plan, our group did not meet in person to discuss the assignment and complete it together. We worked on the map remotely, discussing the process in an email thread. Each member of the team was made a super admin to divide up approval of text responsibilities. Team members added categories independently as they mapped.

Whether to Map:
The WFP’s goals of immediate food relief and long-term food security depend upon the ability to locate needy populations. The WFP needs to know where the IDPs are gathering, what they already have at their disposal, and what is most needed and where. Furthermore, the map allows us to see where the greatest needs are within the context of the current conditions of city infrastructure, allowing us to determine not only where aid is needed but also the most efficient ways to get it there.

What to Map:
The WFP has a strong interest in identifying the locations and needs of what we consider to be high risk populations (children, women, the elderly, and the ill). We mapped the reports of these groups in order to know where to concentrate aid efforts. Furthermore, we mapped mentions of IDP congregation and groups in need of water and food, as well as reports of violence in order to caution our staff. While reports of available resources were few, we found these important to map as well, so that staff on the ground may direct those in need in the neighborhood and may more efficiently distribute their supplies. Finally, we erred on the side of mapping most of the reports, even those not directly related to our programs. We did this with the idea that our categories are specific enough that we can filter the map to display the information necessary for our needs, and that we can share the additional information with other groups, or at least be aware of other needs. Additionally, knowing the  locations of hot-spot issues might be helpful in future implementation of programs that address our long-term goals.

How to categorize

We chose to split up the messages into 15 categories, with 7 main categories, based on the needs of our organization. Our main categories are (1) resources that are available (such as distribution of resources and working infrastructure), (2) refugee groups (including camps of IDPs and at risk population), (3) problems with infrastructure, (4) trapped persons, (5) resources needed (such as water, food, medical assistance and long-term assistance), (6) violence and (7) trusted reports.

Other considerations
We are considering a way to share the information that we cannot use at this moment and problems that we are not able to solve (such as medical needs, trapped persons) with other organizations. This way the information would not be lost, and aid could reach the affected people through other organizations.

Significance to WFP Programming
Although the proposed fishermen food distribution program might be used deliver supplies to IDPs along the banks of the river, the map showed us that this is not necessarily the most significant IDP location. There are many groups at risk of hunger located further inland and further down the coast of Rabat. We must therefore be sure to balance our relief operations accordingly, providing sufficient manpower for land distribution as well as for the fishermen project.

The map suggests that we should be aware of the locations of schools, stadiums, parks, and other communal public spaces, as these landmarks seem to be places where at risk populations are trapped and where IDPs are congregating. The map will help us to identify the location of these populations, the inroads to access them, and the potential obstacles — such as violence and damaged infrastructure — that may hinder our relief effort. It also provides us with a sense of the physical space within which the IDP camps are developing, which will be significant as we plan the logistics of aid distribution within the camps. By providing us with a visual impression of these many aspects of the situation, the map will serve as an essential tool in drafting and implementing a relief effort.

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