The HXL Working Group is proud to announce the alpha release of the Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL). Inspired by social-media hashtags, HXL is a simple standard that adds hashtags to spreadsheet headers to make it easier to share and compare humanitarian data.
Cooperation over competition
Unlike most data standards, HXL is cooperative rather than competitive. A competitive standard typically considers the way you currently work to be a problem, and starts with a set of demands:
It seems like 11 was our lucky number for the month of September! We had 11 volunteers representing 11 languages from 11 Kenyan counties, which are frequently affected by disasters, participate in our first-ever Spider Network training.
GOAL and Sanergy are partnering with the Humanitarian Innovation Fund to develop suitable sanitation solutions for urban emergencies where both time and space are in limited supply. By improving on the idea of “flying toilets”, we aim to create a safe and easy-to-manage rapid-response Faecal Sludge Management system.
HelpAge International, Valid International and Brixton Health are developing an innovative method of assessing the needs of older people in emergencies, including their nutritional needs. The Rapid Assessment Method for Older People (RAM-OP) is meant to offer a simple, quick, reliable, robust and cost effective method for assessing the nutritional status and vulnerabilities of older people in emergencies.
A technical team from the Telecommunication service provider AirTel Bangladesh Ltd tested the mobile towers and carried out installations to ensure network coverage in the deep sea. They have also tested the necessary frequency from the main land to deep sea to check the functioning is accurate. At the same time, AirTel team is working to develop a Maps server in the Bay of Bengal, identifying the names of the specific spot/places in order to accurately locate the fishing vessels in the sea.
In one week time we will be on our way to Geneva to run our first requirements elicitation workshop with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC).
The next RAM-OP field test is going to take place in Tanzania: Kibaha District Council, west of Dar es Salaam. This district is largely rural. HelpAge is already working there with a partner, the Good Samaritan Social Service Trust (GSSST).
In order to prepare for the survey, I went to Tanzania in June for a week, to meet with our local partners and start recruiting the enumerators.
In the past week, we finally managed to successfully call a few people in Mugunga 3 camp using an interactive voice response (IVR) system based in our Goma sub-office. People in the camp heard automated questions from WFP on their mobile phones, to which they replied by keying in answers on their touchpads. We have been placing these automated calls using Verboice, InSTEDD’s free and open source IVR software. Verboice runs on a basic laptop connected to a GSM modem.