Ericsson Response – a decade of humanitarian aid Communication has proved key in aid efforts
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Ericsson Response, a global initiative that provides the communication equipment and expertise needed to respond effectively to human suffering caused by natural disasters. The initiative formalises Ericsson's commitment to the issue based on its previous involvement and experience in various disaster response efforts throughout the world.
Formed in 2000, the organisation was born of a conviction among top managers at Ericsson of the need to invest in a non-profit, global initiative. Since 2000 Ericsson Response has participated in more than 50 natural disasters and human relief in Turkey (1999), Salvador (2001), India (2001), Afghanistan (2002), Iran (2003), Thailand (2004), Pakistan (2005), Lebanon (2006), Central African Republic (2008) Democratic Republic of Congo (2009) and Sudan (2009), to mention a few of them.
The initiative today has a network of 140 volunteers spread out in 30 countries. Tade Oyinlola, Director of Learning & Competence Develop for region sub-Saharan Africa, and a volunteer, says: “Ericsson Response has been a humbling and life changing experience; all volunteers are properly trained and equipped with the skills and contacts required for successful field support.”
Oyinlola was part of the relief effort to support the victims of the 2005 earthquake in the city of Muzzaffarabad (Pakistan).
Ericsson Response's operation after the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year was one of the biggest in the 10-year history of the organisation; the aid network facilitated an average of 3000 calls daily made by the relief agencies. On a visit to Haiti, the former United Nations' Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Sir John Holmes, said "Nothing is more important than good, rapid communications at the beginning of a disaster. The GSM network built up for humanitarian efforts in Haiti enabled aid workers to work more efficiently and to provide desperately needed support for suffering people."
Ericsson Response works in close cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the United Nation's (UN) different humanitarian organisations.