Early warning system through SMS

Mobile Services that Empower Vulnerable Communities
Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP)
SMS System for Early Warning and Response
Shenkut Ayele
EW Assessment and Response Coordinator/Manager
March 20, 2013
ICT4D Conference
Accra, Ghana
JEOP Background
• USAID funded emergency food assistance program providing
food aid to 984,211 people (August 2012-July 2014)
• Operational in 79 districts across 6 regions through consortium
members in collaboration with GoE/DRMFSS
• Program innovations include SILC, Behavior Change
Communication (on improved use of supplemental blended
food to prevent malnutrition) and EWS/SMS systems
• Previous JEOP EWS (2010 – 2012) faced specific issues:
• Generating timely, reliable, complementary and
qualitative data for decision-making
• Timely reporting for effective response
• Real time Data & reporting could only be addressed through
JEOP operation areas:
ICT4D Solution
To address the challenges identified, JEOP designed a
Participatory Early Warning and Response System using
• HNI – DataWinners Software
• Building the SMS System with online training from
HNI (via Skype)
• Information from the field/districts sent to a database
• Real timely data via Weekly SMS collected and
uploaded on DataWinners Database (web based)
• Training of SMS data Senders and Govt staff of each
District & members of District EW committees
• EW Coordinator and Focal Persons per JEOP Partners
ICT4D Solution (Cont.)
Data Collection & Information Flow
Export of Data from
Database to Excel
Data Analysis with use of IPC
and Reporting (Monthly
Data Transfer to
Database (CRS)
Mobile Phone #: Data
Receiver (CRS)
Mobile Phones/SMS –
Data Sender
Data collection with
tools/ Copy of
information to District EW
Sources of EW
Federal Gov
Regional Gov
District Gov
Community EW
Other Partners
Key Successes
• 71/79 JEOP Operational districts covered
• Timely reporting on 24 key indicators (previously 16)
• Coordination/Complementarity
• Effective communication/Transparency
• Sharing of information with donors & partners
• Learning/Innovation
• Linking EW Data to Targeting/Actions/Forecasting and
Planning (call forward requests/Pipelines)
• Monthly EW updates
• Better understanding the food insecurity situation of
• SMS senders learned and adopted the system
• Data exportation to excel
Key Issues / Challenges
• More robust data analysis and export from
• Filtering data with more query options
• Synchronization with GoE EWS
• Production of graphs (by district/crops/price
• Maps , Tables (by district/crops/price etc…)
• Exporting Data to other software applications
such as SPSS
Lessons Learned
• Vulnerable communities are both sources and receivers of EW
• District officials have more voice to represent the vulnerable
community to higher levels of government
• Improved food aid beneficiary targeting can help districts meet
• Through the lesson learning forum, JEOP’s SMS system has
been identified as a key contributing factor for the
complementarity/coordination of the national EW and response
• The SMS system has the potential for different purposes
accommodative capacity
• Regional officials and partners expressed their interest to adopt
the SMS system for more wider purpose
Summary and Close
• SMS is a key solution to Early Warning and Response to
address food insecurity in Ethiopia
• It is generating quality and accurate real time EW data
from JEOP districts
• JEOP management and stakeholders use the EW data
for resource planning and to trigger response
• GoE and USAID are very interested in the results
achieved by JEOP in rolling out a similar system at
national level.

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