New Media and Humanitarian Relief: Lessons from Haiti

New Media and Humanitarian Relief: Lessons from Haiti

Jessica Weiss | January 12, 2011

A new report by Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC), with support from Internews and funding from Knight Foundation, takes a critical look at the role of communications in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and recommends ways to improve the effectiveness of utilizing media in future disaster relief efforts.

In the weeks after the crisis, Haiti quickly became a real world laboratory for several new communication tools. The most notable innovations to emerge from Haiti were: the translation of crowdsourced data to actionable information; the use of SMS message broadcasting in a crisis; and crowdsourcing of open maps for humanitarian application. However, the report cautions against calling the Haitian experience a "new media success story," as some of the approaches – attempted for the first time – faltered. In addition, new media efforts did not preclude the importance of traditional media. As in past crises in the developing world, radio continued to be the most effective tool for serving the information needs of the local population. The report closes with a series of recommendations for technology groups, media development and humanitarian organizations, national governments and donors on improving the use of media in future recovery efforts.

Access the report here.




It seems that the links to french versions do not work.

first book about digital media coverage oh Haiti is out....

I have read with great interest this Report about digital media coverage of the Haiti relief effort. Ás a Latin American certified journalist, author of the first book written about the first 6 month in the aftermath of the earquake and a producer of the award winning first women's internet radio station worldwide since 1998, I's like to call your attention to that book. Because it is in Spanish, it has receives little coverage beyond the region.

"Estampas: La Ayiti (Haiti) que se levanta" ("Images of the Haiti that rises upo the the ocasion") is first book worldwide about the earthquake in Haiti from the perspective of Haitian women’s contributions the relief efforts, the human rights violations they suffer in the midst of natural disasters and their contributions and plight is the midst of humanitarian and environmental crisis.

Haiti is the poorest country in the American continent and was further devastated by an earthquake in January 12, 2010 that destroyed the whole city of Port au Prince, killing almos 300,000 people and leaving more than two million homeless.
This new book by Feminist International Radio (FIRE) is dedicated to the current historical struggles of Haitian women to build their own destiny with his people.

It has been written by me, María Suárez Toro, producer of FIRE. It covers the first five months of post earthquake humanitarian crisis that devastated the country and exposed the serious problems that afflicted the poorest country in the region and one of the toughest policies of exclusion, inequality and poverty.

The publication of 297 pages of text and photographs published by the editorial house is Puerto Rico, USA: Publicaciones Puertorriquenhas 2009..

It contains an Introduction that includes the many initiatives of RIF with the feminist movement, containing parts of the invisible contributions of women in Haiti since since the first continental revolution of slaves, through resistance to dictatorship and current struggles.

The body of the book has four parts: I. Traces and Faces, II. Challenges and Dilemmas, III. Challenges and Resistance and IV: First Impressions, First actions.

It presents many of the efforts, perspectives and struggles by Haitian women on the ground, experiences that may have been ignored until now by the media when they highlight what the humanitarian agencies do and oversee that the first level of mitigation and endurance has been mostly in the hands of the people especially women grassroots level. They feed, support in post trauma treatment, do first aid assistance, get food and shelter, etc.

Each chapter is preceded by a series of photographs that illustrate the activities and passages outlined in the media reports.
The chapters in each part of the book present first hand evidence by the author that show that although much of Haiti collapsed in the quake, a country that was already cracked by neoliberal policies, racism, poverty, inequality, abuse of power and environmental degradation, there is a people that strive to survive and that these people are the heirs of the first slave revolution in the continent 200 years ago.

Hence the title of the book, because although not always seen or covered by all media, there is a rising Ayiti (Haiti in creole) and is rising to the occasion.

.We are seeking support to translate it into French and English. Women are at the forefront, while off the spotlight.

María Suarez, FIRE

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