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Instant Network Emergency Response

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

Responded to emergencies in 14 countries

20+ missions in 7 years 

55 trained employee volunteers in 19 countries 

millions of calls provided to disaster victims, aid workers and refugees

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. 


Trained Vodafone employees

Vodafone Instant Network is an ultra - portable GSM network that packs into 4 cases weighing a total of less than 100kg.

The cases are transportable on commercial flights and allow emergency response partners such as Télécoms sans Frontières to respond immediately to any disaster, travelling with emergency communications equipment. Once on location a network can be established in less than 40 minutes. 

The Instant Network provides 2G and 3G connectivity, has inbuilt wireless capability and secure connectivity via firewall and VPN. And can be deployed anywhere in the world, in any scenario.

Meet our volunteers

No Ordinary Volunteer: Jeroen Aanraad

No Ordinary Volunteer: Jeroen Aanraad

I have always had a passion for travel. Experiencing great adventures, unique communities, and the majesty of nature around the world. 

No Ordinary Volunteer: James D’Rozario

No Ordinary Volunteer: James D’Rozario

James is one of our Instant Network Volunteers. In June 2019 he was deployed to Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya on a Instant Network Schools mission. This is his story.

No Ordinary Volunteer: Kelly-Tenille Mathurin

No Ordinary Volunteer: Kelly-Tenille Mathurin

Kelly-Tenille Mathurin is one of our Instant Network Volunteers. She has been deployed twice on Instant Network Schools missions to refugee camps in Tanzania (2016) and Kenya (2018).

No Ordinary Volunteer: Chris Trundley

No Ordinary Volunteer: Chris Trundley

Chris Trundley deployed to the Philippines after typhoon Mangkhut hit in 2018. Earlier this year he volunteered at Kakuma Refugee camp to support the Instant Network Schools programme.


Vodafone Foundation Instant Network team deployed to area devastated by Hurricane Irma

Vodafone Foundation Instant Network team preparing to deploy Instant Network equipment in Guadeloupe to connect rescue workers and to enable affected families to contact their relatives. Deployment of Instant Network 3G to provide connectivity, supporting the humanitarian relief programme. Instant Charge to provide free mobile charging to communities in areas with no power


Read the news release

We have connected over 84,700 devices, and offered free data equivalent to 2.2 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 partners, working on the ground in Greece.

Over 13 days, 3,00 calls were made. This is the equivalent of 5.1 million WhatsApp messages. This was done with three vounteers 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.

Over 10 days, 1,487 calls were make, supporting 7,250 people or 25% of the island's households. This was done with four volunteers from 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’.

Ocver 29 days, 443,288 calls were made and 1.4 million texts sent. This was done with six volunteers from the UK, Hungary and 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.'

Over 17 days, 296, 926 calls were made and 578, 994 text sent. This was done with two volunteers 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.

Over 47 days, 264,104 calls were made and 12,000 free minutes used by aid agencies and humanitarian calling centres.

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.

Explore our other programmes...


TecSOS is an initiative that seeks to support victims of domestic abuse and other vulnerable people, through provision of a specially adapted piece of technology that enables enhanced access to the police in an emergency

Instant Network Schools

Instant Network Schools mobilise classrooms within refugee camps in countries where Vodafone operates

Vodafone Business Ventures & Mencap partnership

A pioneering initiative from Vodafone Business Ventures to improve the lives of people with a learning disability.

Vodafone Foundation. Registered Office: 
Vodafone Foundation, 1 Kingdom Street, London, W2 6BY. Registered charity number 1089625. 
© 2020 Vodafone Foundation. 

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