Dear InSTEDD Supporters,
2017 has been an exciting and eventful year! We are proud of our work, and honored to bring and foster technology innovation to communities across the globe. Below are a few highlights of this past year that inspire our team and we hope serve to inspire you as well.
Over the past year, we have seen the growing impact of Cambodia’s free to the public, National Disease Hotline. The Hotline was developed in 2015 using InSTEDD’s platform in an effort to help the Cambodia CDC track and respond quickly to disease outbreaks by improving two-way communication between health workers, response coordinators, and the public.
We are proud of the hotline as it underscores a key aspect of our mission: including the public as key players in improving their own health, resilience and development by informing, partnering with, and learning from them directly.
When it comes to helping the most vulnerable in the world, few agencies have the impact of World Food Program. We are thrilled to support their mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping program (mVAM). We have been supporting WFP efforts for several years as the mVam program developed and scaled, which allows us to have design trips, meet with leadership, and test prototypes to deeply understand their beneficiaries, the organization, and opportunities – so we can help them establish a long-term technical strategy.
This year we started working with WFP to design and implement chatbots as a way to establish ongoing communications with refugees and other people that WFP serves. Chatbots are an exciting emerging technology for engaging with and serving hard to reach populations. Thus far we have been designing and testing early models of a ‘food bot’ across several countries in Africa, receiving amazing feedback from end users in places like the Kakuma Refugee camp in North Western Kenya.
In addition to programs where beneficiaries can take action for their own wellbeing, we are helping international agencies, governments and NGOs improve their planning by having a real-time pulse on behaviors and trends at a population level.
Understanding how to interpret the signals of public health in a rapidly changing world, social impact groups need to keep tabs on trends and shifts in the public that affect what work needs to be done. In the health space, a notable example is the growth of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as a major factor in the decrease of quality of life in all countries, and with more rapid, accurate surveys, comes better, actionable data.
In October of this year Zambia completed its first ever mobile NCD survey with over 388,000 SMS and nearly 60,000 minutes of IVR calls performed (that’s like 41 days of being on the phone 24×7). Working together with survey experts RTI, and with CDC, the project saved our partners possibly millions of dollars, and by building on the proven InSTEDD platform the project could be implemented in record time. This open-source toolkit for large-scale surveys is another new member of the InSTEDD platform and is ready for any NGO or government organization to use as well.
Exploring optimal ways to serve vulnerable populations through technology innovation is what gets our team up each morning. I am humbled by this opportunity to collaborate with our partners in support of the greater good.
Whether you support InSTEDD by simply sharing and interacting on social channels, by working together, or supporting us philanthropically, know that your engagement means everything to myself and our team. We rely on our network of supporters to expand and grow our impact.
Thank you for reading and for helping to spread the message of InSTEDD and its partners. Wishing a mindful and peaceful holiday season to you and your family,
InSTEDD CEO, CTO
Selected 2017 Stories:
This year our 115 Cambodian National Disease Hotline project received thousands of calls per week. The hotline allows the Cambodian population to call 115 to receive health information or report an outbreak. Health workers are using a special branch of the hotline to do their weekly disease reports, saving significant time and energy. The Cambodian Ministry of Health monitors the hotline and sends rapid responders in critical situations, as shown in the video featuring outbreak response in a rural Cambodian village.
With the World Food Program and Cisco CSR, we have spent this year developing a chatbot technology to engage with vulnerable populations on food security issues via Facebook messenger. Early testing took place in refugee camps in Haiti, Nigeria, and Kenya. Technical development is ongoing, and the pilot deployment of a ‘foodbot’ will take place in Kenya in early 2018. After the roll out of FoodBot WFP, InSTEDD will work towards the release an open-source version of the chatbot technology that will be available for all humanitarian organizations.
Together with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and RTI International, InSTEDD created Surveda, a first-of-its-kind multi-modal mobile phone survey tool for a large scale population surveys. The tool is being used in a global survey on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in lower and middle income countries where little is known about the attitude and burden of these diseases. By deploying Surveda in collaboration with national ministries of health and mobile networks CDC and RTI intend to generate the data and insights needed for a comprehensive response to the growing threat of NCDs.
InSTEDD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation registered in California. For US taxpayers, this is a tax-deductible donation.