The LIRNEasia and Sarvodaya conducted feasibility study to integrate the Freedom Fone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System with the Sahana Disaster Management System was presented at the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) technology fair. The congregation took place in London, UK, March 22 & 23.
Brenda Burrell (Technical Director Freedom Fone), residing in Harare and I in Kunming, were invited with very short notice and couldn’t acquire visas to UK on time. However, our colleague in Oxford Fran Boon (Sahana Software Foundation) was able to fill our shoes given that he was already attending and presenting at the conference. Click to view the slides used to ignite the crisis management relevant message.
Fran Boon, presenting the Sahana Eden prospective of the case study, highlighted the key message: “Sahana Eden should become the single front-facing application for users and this should talk to the IVR via application programming interfaces (APIs). The APIs should allow for dynamic real-time interfacing with all functions: structuring menus, uploading audio files to the menu tree nodes, accessing “leave-a-message” audio files, and controlling outbound dialling. The Freedom Fone and Sahana Eden communities are currently discussing how this could be done.”
In the Freedom Fone version of the case study, Brenda elaborates: “The lessons to date are promising for integrating voice for emergency communication; especially to bridge the last-mile with incident management hubs. Moreover, it is a particularly effective way to enable ICTs for low computer literate non-English working language community-based disaster management organizations in developing countries. Sahana Foundation and Freedom Fone are keen to pursue the integration of the two platforms. If successful, this would position the integrated voice-enabled disaster communication system, for wider adoption, especially, with community-based emergency management and response organisations.”
The Freedom Fone is such an amazing innovation. What they are doing with this technology is quite wonderful.
It will be interesting to see how the Freedom Fone takes root in the coming years, and I think this latest step to integrating it with emergency services will give it a massive boost.
Chris from BMHQ.
The feasibility study carried out with the Freedom Fone and Sahana integration was promising. However, we didn’t have sufficient funds to continue beyond the pilot.
We see great potential using Freedom Fone as an interface to extend Sahana for communities that are more inclined to using voice over text, especially, those non Latin scripting languages but mostly lesser computer illiterate community members. Now that Freedom Fone integrates with cheap Huawei dongles it is even more attractive.
Presently I’m trying to find funding to continue this work but it is not easy. I see Internews as a very good partner who can benefit from such an integration; however, selling the idea to them and others is a slow process.
Sahana was used to identify the location of relief camps and the demographic breakdown of over 26,000 victims to help them target relief.