WFP trains experts for global disaster relief

Today, the World Food Programme's (WFP) first class of twenty-one emergency telecommunications team leaders graduated from a two-week training course in Pisa, Italy. The course was held at one of Italy's most prestigious universities, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, which specializes in humanitarian training programmes. All twenty-one participants are now set for deployment to difficult and dangerous disaster zones after completing this new specialised programme that specifically addresses the unique needs of ICT 'first responders'.

WFP's ICT Emergency Preparedness and Response Programme is funded by a partnership between the Vodafone Group Foundation and the United Nations Foundation and focuses on three aims: an emergency deployment guide, a software application and a team of ICT leaders trained to operate in grave security conditions. It strives to double the number of ICT managers trained and on standby for employment to the next disaster.

Stressing the need for trained staff for efficient ICT Emergency Response, Mr. Paul Margie, Senior Director of Technology Partnerships at the UN Foundation, said "we learned from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that a dollar spent in preparation for disasters goes much further than a dollar donated after the disaster. The goal of this unique public-private partnership is to strengthen emergency response missions by creating technology coordination, faster response times, and more lives saved."