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UNICEF and Fiji National Disaster Management Office Sign Letter of Understanding for Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery Tool


SUVA – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) signed a Letter of Understanding (LOU) on the usage of the RapidPro platform, in Suva on 8th March 2017.

Provided to Fiji’s NDMO through UNICEF Pacific, RapidPro is an open-source platform of applications that can help the government deliver information quickly and connect communities to lifesaving services through SMS messaging. The signing of the Letter of Understanding initiates the use of the RapidPro platform to assist the Fijian Government’s efforts in disaster risk management. The project involves the design of data collection templates around preparedness, response and recovery. The tool is targeted to a closed group of personnel who are already working closely with the NDMO in the lead up and during disasters.

UNICEF Pacific Representative Mr. Sheldon Yett and Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr. Meleti Bainimarama at the LOU signing in Suva on 8th March, 2017

“In both periods of normalcy and disasters, it is important to have updated data and rapid avenues of information gathering and sharing between authorities, responders and communities on the ground”, said Meleti Bainimarama, the Permanent Secretary for Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management. “RapidPro will be used initially to gather and share preparedness information with ground responders such as District Officers, Turaga ni Koros, or District Advisory Councillors.”

“RapidPro is an app store for international development,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “It gives governments and development professionals new tools they can use to connect citizens and critical services – mainstreaming innovation and making it work for the most disadvantaged children especially during disasters.”

RapidPro has been used in several countries and we found that ideas and solutions were sometimes created at the grassroots level,” Yett added. “We present specific challenges and they gave us back simple, straightforward, solutions.”

Mr. Bainimarama said, “While we have strengths in preparedness and response as evident during Tropical Cyclone Winston, improvements in communication systems and public messaging through new partnerships and innovation are among our lessons learnt.”

He thanked UNICEF for the timely initiative and added that the signing of the LOU marked another milestone in the collaboration between UNICEF and the Fiji NDMO in both development and disaster risk reduction.

RapidPro’s applications are produced by UNICEF in partnership with universities and software creators and are constantly updated as new challenges emerge. The applications were created in response to the experience and challenges of humanitarian workers, particularly when delivering aid and carrying out critical work to reach the most needed populations.

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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicefpacific.org

Follow us on Twitter @UNICEFPacific | Facebook @likeunicefpacific

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The Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management coordinates and implements the Fijian Government’s rural and maritime development initiatives with a mission to empower Fiji’s rural sector. We are also responsible for the national disaster management strategy focusing on building resilient communities. We have offices in each of Fiji’s 14 provinces leading the Fijian Government’s rural development and disaster management operations. For more information about the Ministry and its work visit: www.ruraldev.gov.fj.

Follow us on Twitter @FijiGov_MRMDNDM | Facebook: @developmentfiji

For more information please contact:
Donna Hoerder, UNICEF/Fiji, Tel. +679 3236100 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Penioni Kuinikoro, MRMDNDM, Tel. +679 3313400/+679 9472380, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.