Help.NGO continues to respond to the ongoing COVID epidemic domestically and internationally. During the initial stages of the outbreak, and with the support of AWS, Help.NGO rapidly procured materials such as COVID test kits and PPE (personal protective equipment) in support of UN agencies to allow staff to fulfill their ongoing duties as humanitarians.
Traditional UN and NGO response agencies have been burdened by international logistical challenges in shipping, travel, and expert roster support to implement specialized connectivity equipment in the wake of the COVID crisis. This often results in delays in information sharing and limitations in internet connectivity as responding entities rapidly shift locations from field clinics and hospitals to airports and warehouses with vaccine implementation. Thanks to generous funding from the Internet Society, Help.NGO will continue its efforts to address the urgent threat of internet disruption of programs critical to the ongoing pandemic response, through actions including the implementation of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the COVAX facility rollout. Help.NGO SMEs will also work to build global connectivity and response capacity for future disaster response, risk, and reduction operations.
Help.NGO continues to work with an important private sector partner, Amazon Web Services (AWS), on a variety of disaster preparedness and risk mitigation measures. These include pre-positioning of specialized equipment such as UAS, and connectivity solutions, training and increasing capacity, research and development, and volunteer deployment.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from Central and South America like Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela flee from poverty and violence, attempting to cross through Mexico to find safety in North America. In partnership with Télécoms Sans Frontières, Help.NGO subject matter experts work to improve access to essential information such as legal information for asylum seekers, information about the migration route, regularization of immigration status, consulate contact information, contact information for migrant support organizations, as well as access to internet services for migrants who travel from Central to North America seeking refuge.
Help.NGO remains engaged year round in researching and developing technological solutions for the most pressing problems the humanitarian community faces.
Ongoing research projects include leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to maximise the use of UAS imagery with a view towards (1) decreasing time spent identifying and classifying types of post-disaster damage; (2) improving the understanding of the type and scope of debris and damage; and (3) leveraging these improvements in intelligence to organize more efficient clean-up and lower costs of debris removal.
Other research includes developing improved technical capacity for field development of machine learning for object recognition and ground surveys. Increasing the rate of output delivery and coupling these outputs with baseline data sets regarding building density can improve existing census data, providing more accurate information about affected populations within a given emergency context.