In recognition of National Volunteer Week we are highlighting some stories about individual volunteers who made a difference in the lives of those impacted by disaster. Today we highlight all of our international team of volunteers. It may be National Volunteer week in the USA but Digital Volunteerism is an opportunity to help support disaster relief efforts from anywhere in the world! You can donate hours from home or literally anywhere that you receive internet signal. Today we are spotlighting international efforts and three commendations for extraordinary efforts. The global impact of volunteerism is immeasurable and growing each year. Digital volunteerism opportunities abound in today’s technology rich world and individuals working from home have the opportunity to change someone’s life. “To take advantage of the new information environment, aid agencies need to adapt in three ways. They need to finds ways to work with new data sources, to collaborate with a wider range of partners, and to understand that information in itself is a life-saving need for people in crisis. It is as important as food and water” said a UN OCHA studies report published this month. The UN has been doing just that. When Typhoon Pablo struck the Philippines, UN OCHA reached out to the Digital Humanitarian Network and Humanity Road was tapped as one of the supporting agencies for that effort.
There is a commitment from the volunteers not only to rescue, response and recovery efforts but for disaster preparedness and overall process improvement. They are dedicated to improving on their own skills and the system of responding to events to save time and lives. This was evidence in the largest exercise of the year which was also the first of its kind effort in support of Rim of the Pacific, named RIMPAC. For the 2012 RIMPAC exercise 88 volunteers from 20 countries contributed a whopping 1,640 hours of service. Another exercise was Pacific Endeavor which supported a tabletop exercise in which 22 nations participated.
We would like to extend a special thank you to the following volunteers for their many hours of service
Germany – Christoph Dennenmoser, exercise Lead RIMPAC & operations support
Samoa – Dave Leng Team Lead, RIMPAC
UK – Justine MacKinnon –DHN Exercise support, UN SPIDER Conference
New Zealand – Caroline Milligan and the Wellington Emergency Mgt team` – supported RIMPAC
Canada – Melissa Elliott provided critical inputs for programming during RIMPAC
Italy – Eliana Zemmer – staffing and credentialing support, and Italian translation support (Posthumously)
India – Avi Sharma – Pacific Endeavor and disaster desk support
Ghana – Yakubu Yakubu, cholera outbreak monitoring
USA – Sylvia Myers – Animals in Disaster team support
SPECIAL EVENT – RIMPAC COMMEMORATIVE COIN – For excellence in support of RIMPAC
Melissa Elliott, Toronto, is being presented with a 2012 RIMPAC commemorative coin. “Operational support during disaster means a commitment to excellence even in the face of adversity and Melissa was a shining example of that during this event. Her contributions to quality assurance for the outputted reports was exemplary and I’m greatly appreciative of her dedication” said Cat Graham
GLOBAL CITIZENS AWARD – Christoph Dennemoser, Team Lead for our Urgent Needs cluster presented Gisli Olaffson with the Global Citizen’s Award at the 2012 ICCM Conference in Washington, DC. “Gisli was honored for his dedication to improving the disaster response chain, his expertise in leadership and innovation, and humanitarian service to the public through contributing his time, skills and expertise in technology, event management, and crisis communications.” Said Christoph, “His work and dedication are improving response and recovery and the use of social media for good.”
GOLD PAW – Cindy Becker, Team Lead for our Animals in Disaster team honored Sylvia Myers with the Gold Paw Pin in appreciation for her contributions and volunteerism in support of our Animals in Disaster program. Thank you for your humanitarian service to the public and animals affected or at risk for disaster. Thank you for your dedication to improving response and recovery and the use of social media for good.
In 2012 volunteers responded to over 300 events and put in an estimated 31,000 service hours for disaster response, disaster preparedness and process improvement. Volunteers will be receiving certificates of appreciation for their volunteer hours. We would like to express our deepest appreciation for all volunteers around the world who contribute their time and expertise, you are global humanitarians.