Month: October 2013

The Fast-Paced World of Disaster Response

It has been a busy and exciting week here at the British Red Cross.

The week began with the earthquake in the Philippines.  A 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Bohol, Philippines, close to the major city of Cebu.  The team were on hand to quickly draw information from multiple sources, including from the US Geographical Survey (below).

Earthquake in Bohol, Philippines, Source: USGS

What is a ‘Data Scramble’?

Rapidly drawing map information from many sources is useful to help the internal Red Cross response to a disaster.  This is known as a ‘data scramble’ and involves a team of several people all looking at different sources to gather information.

US Government Shutdown Prevents Access to Disaster Data

Using Data for Disaster Maps

In the second week of my placement at the British Red Cross, I have been helping to make a flooding map of Southern Africa.  We have been marking out the areas affected by flooding, cyclone and cholera in Southern Africa in the past 5 years (see below).  As I mentioned last week, the GIS team support the work of the Red Cross both here in the UK and abroad.

Map to show the areas in Southern Africa affected by flooding, cholera and cyclones in the past 5 years

The map is to help the logistics team decide where to put equipment warehouses containing non-food equipment for disaster relief.  Other factors to consider include access to transport links and the political context.

Getting to the Heart of TBIF’s Social Value

I finally bid farewell to the team at the Big Issue Foundation a few weeks back, since which time I’ve been tinkering away at my final report. I’d wanted to get all my ideas nailed down before blogging my final post, hence why this one is coming a little late.

I had originally set out to calculate The Big Issue Foundation’s social return on investment, as explained briefly in my previous post. I started at TBIF with practically a layperson’s knowledge of their operations, being little more than an admirer of the magazine and its ethos. But over the course of the five or so weeks I spent working there, my understanding of how it functions and where it creates its social value developed greatly.

Mapping Disasters at the British Red Cross

This week, I started my placement at the British Red Cross in London.  The GIS team play an important and vital role here in the work of the British Red Cross, providing map services to the other departments.

At the start of the week, I joined a corporate strategy meeting and found out about the seven fundamental principles that guide the work of the Red Cross, which include neutrality and impartiality. British Red Cross strategy is formed through an inclusive process of stakeholder engagement.

Back at the GIS team, I have been getting to know the British Red Cross mapping tools and systems.

Some fantastic feedback!

Well it’s the end of the first week of the autumn term and all but one of the Charity Insights internships has come to an end. We have had some fantastic feedback from our charity partners. Here are just a selection of their comments:

“Will was an enthusiastic, well liked and respected member of the team. I think he exceeded expectations and that is in the light of having arrived with an excellent CV in the first place. The work he has undertaken with a creative, methodical and detailed approach on Social Return on Investment is invaluable.” Richard Mills, Big Issue

“Alex has been very enthusiastic, diligent and hardworking, and full of good ideas, and has been a real pleasure to work with.

End of a Fantastic Four Weeks

My fourth and final blog can only start one way, and that is by saying a huge thank you to all the staff at Blue Ventures and the people involved with Charity Insights at Imperial. It has been a memorable four weeks that I feel extremely privileged to have had. There is no doubt in my mind that the experience I have gained from this placement will impact my future career positively.

The last couple of days have been busy and it has been enjoyable seeing the project coming together. Furthermore, I discovered a great local café that do all day full English breakfasts that were great at helping me power through the work load.