Instant Network Emergency Response deploys people and technology to provide free communications and technical support in areas affected by natural or humanitarian disaster

10 emergency response missions in 4 years 

  2.9m calls placed using Instant Network 

Connected 84,000 devices 

Offered the equivalent of 1.7 billion Whatsapp messages to refugees in Greece 

The issue

Communication in the immediate aftermath of a disaster is key both to support those affected and to assist in the assessment of damage and the coordination of rescue and relief efforts.

 

 

Our aim

Through the award winning Instant Network programme the Vodafone Foundation deploys employee volunteers and communications technologies in emergencies to restore and provide free, vital communications and technical support to aid agencies, victims and refugees in remote areas.

The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network team is also committed to developing new technologies to best support the humanitarian community.

 

Instant Network volunteers

There are 70 trained Vodafone employees who make up the Instant Network team. These volunteers remain on standby ready to deploy in response to natural or humanitarian disasters. All volunteers who deploy to the field complete Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) to ensure they are prepared to deploy in difficult circumstances. 

70

Trained Vodafone employees

Deployments

Connected: 84,000 + devices
Free data: equivalent of 15 million minutes or 1.7 billion WhatsApp messages since November 2015

In Serbia and Macedonia, our NGO Partner, TSF, and Vodafone Foundation connected 241,199 devices and provided 19,932 GB of free data through their free Wi-Fi access points since September 2015.

Vodafone Foundation also deployed 8 Instant Charge units enabling thousands of refugees in camps to charge their phones. Instant Charge was specially designed for the response to the refugee crisis and will be also used in disasters combined with free networks Vodafone Foundation deploys to reconnect aid workers and victims.

 “I remember people coming to us and asking for charging and WiFi before they asked for any of what we would see as their basic needs.  The most important thing to them, was to be able to connect with their families.” reported UNHCR, our patners, working on the ground in Greece. 

Length of deployment: 13 Days
Calls made: 3,000
Messages sent: equivalent of 5.1 million Whatsapps or 18,000 web pages viewed
Number of volunteers: 3 (from New Zealand)

Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in Fiji and the South Pacific Basin in recorded history.

Length of deployment: 10 days
Calls made: 1,487 (4,156 minutes)
Supported estimated: 7,250 people and 25% of island’s households
Number of Volunteers: 4 (From Vodafone New Zealand)

Cyclone Pam was a category 5 tropical storm that crippled the islands’ infrastructure and telecommunications.

The team travelled to Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital on Wednesday 18 March at the request of local operator Telecoms Vanuatu Limited (TVL), supporting the UN Mission and Telecoms sans Frontieres.

1,487 calls were made totalling 4,156 minutes, supporting an estimated 7,250 people and 25% of the island’s households. Thirteen agencies including World Vision, Unicef, Red Cross also used our connection sharing data ranging from aid distribution spreadsheets to co-ordinates for remote aid drops by helicopters.

‘A service we were able to facilitate with one of our VSATs was for the local bank. By enabling them to make phone calls and use the Internet, we helped them process 2 million Vatu (USD $20,000) in transactions and order 8 million Vatu (USD $80,000) in cash to refill their ATM – just in time for the next government employee payday’.

Length of deployment: 29 Days
Calls made: 443,288
SMS sent: 1.4 million
Number of Volunteers: 6 (From UK, Hungary & New Zealand)

The Vodafone Foundation deployed two Instant Networks to support rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the deadliest storms to hit the Philippines.

On arrival in Guian, Oisin Walton, Vodafone Foundation Instant Network manager commented: 'People were standing around with their phones in hand as we drive into town.  It was as if word had spread that we were coming to set up a network…There is a lot of focus on the provision of traditional aid in the aftermath of a disaster, so food, water and shelter, which are of course crucial but you cannot underestimate the impact that communications has.  We set up a free calling point with Smart near the town hall so those without phones could give news as well. It's a joy every time to see people on phones, smiling, passing on the phone to family and friends.'

 

Length of deployment: 17 Days
Calls made: 296,926
SMS Sent: 578,994
Number of volunteers: 2 (from New Zealand)

Two volunteers arrived in the Philippines to assist in the deployment of Vodafone Instant Network, in partnership with Telecoms Sans Frontieres and local operator Smart Communications Inc. (Smart). 

On 8 December Clifford Robertson and Jason Rogers two Vodafone New Zealand employees who trained as volunteers in October, arrived in the Philippines to assist in the deployment of Vodafone Instant Network, in partnership with Telecoms Sans Frontieres and local operator Smart Communications Inc. (Smart).  Clifford and Jason were the first volunteers to deploy to the field as part of the Vodafone Foundation Volunteer programme.

"On the drive to Baganga we encountered total devastation – the scale of the destruction is difficult to comprehend…Most of the local houses are destroyed and only a few concrete structures remain and even some of those are severely damaged… Communications are critical to the coordination of government and NGO relief efforts and we've collaborated with the local mobile operator Smart to reconnect the community of Baganga to the rest of the country. Within seconds of the Instant Network coming online, the compound where the NGOs and government agencies are located lit up with phone calls and text messages. It never felt so good to be a telecommunications engineer” - Clifford.

 

Length of deployment: 47 days
Calls made: 264,104 and 12,000 free minutes used by aid agencies and humanitarian calling centers

In February 2012, a team from Safaricom, Vodafone Foundation, Télécoms sans Frontières, Huawei and the Kenya Red Cross deployed Vodafone Instant Network to Kaikor, Northen Kenya, to assist relied efforts and the deliver food to this isolated community.

The deployment in Kaikor lasted 47 days, during which time 264,104 calls were made over Vodafone Instant Network, including almost 12,000 free minutes used by aid agencies and humanitarian calling centres.