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Dear Colleagues,

The Emergency Capacity Building Project is proud to announce the release of the final version of its Report on Information Technology and Requirements. This comprehensive five-part Report is the first in depth examination of information and technology issues for international NGOs in emergency response, the result of a six-month, inter-agency, multi-country assessment. It analyses critical requirements for NGOs in emergency response, providing a snapshot of existing initiatives, examples of good practice and useful reference documents for practitioners - we're sure that it will provide useful material for your work.

The ECB Project is an initiative of the Interagency Working Group, a seven agency consortium comprising CARE International, CRS, IRC, Mercy Corps, Oxfam-GB, Save the Children US and World Vision International. The project is funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft Corporation, with the goal to improve the speed, quality and effectiveness of the humanitarian community in saving lives, improving the welfare, and protecting the rights of people in emergency situations.

The Report consists of the following components:

  • Key Findings. A 2-page note explaining the background to the report and the Key Findings.
  • Pakistan. A review of agency response to the October 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
  • Darfur. A review of agency response in Darfur in February-March 2006.
  • Global. An overview of agency systems at the international level, carried out in October-November 2005.
  • Findings and Recommendations. The complete set of findings, accompanied by recommendations for improvements.
  • The Key Findings of the Report offer immediate insight into the challenges facing these agencies, and their peers and partners in the humanitarian sector. The assessment revealed five critical areas:
  • National Capacity. The capacity of national offices and their staff is the critical issue in emergency response.
  • Institutional Support. Without support from management, any information or technology initiatives are unlikely to succeed.
  • Strategic Management. A more coherent and systematic approach to managing information and technology is essential.
  • Information Requirements. We need to define what information we need and why before we can expect to get maximum value from it.
  • External Partnerships. We can't improve technology use by ourselves - we need to work with partners from the public and private sectors.

These findings have been used as the basis for developing a range of projects by the ECB Project and its partners. More information on these projects will be available on the ECB website at http://www.ecbproject.org. CD-ROM or hard copy versions of the report are available on request; if you would like to order one of these, please contact our Communications Officer Matt Bannerman at mbannerman@care.org.

Please send this note on to anybody that you think would be interested to receive it, particularly to your colleagues and networks. You can send any comments and questions to me at this address,

Best wishes

Paul Currion