When it comes to providing technology and developing infrastructure to developing countries, few organizations come close to the scale of NetHope. Under the leadership of organizers including director Cory Eaves of General Atlantic, NetHope brings together 42 humanitarian organizations from around the world to provide communication and technology to the areas most in need.
NetHope encourages member organizations to collaborate, innovate, and leverage the full potential of information and communications technology (ICT) in five main areas:
NetHope works to improve communication between field offices in remote parts of the world where that sort of infrastructure hasn’t been developed yet. “Wiring the global village” was NetHope’s first mission in 2001, and it continues to be a vital part of the organization’s goals. They strive to provide low-cost communications options, including very small aperture terminal (VSAT) systems, long distance WiFi, fiber optics, and mobile networks. Their partnerships in this area include Cisco Systems, the Global VSAT Forum, and ITC Global.
NetHope provides training and technology solutions to increase productivity in the field. The NetHope Academy has trained 1,000 computer science students in Africa and Latin America in just three years! In addition to training, the Field Capacity area involves actually implementing tested technology solutions.
NetHope’s work in this area began in 2003 with the earthquake in Bam, Iran. Since then, they have continued to develop systems to support emergency responders and provide preparedness training. Gisli Olafsson, NetHope’s emergency response director, has been in West Africa assisting the international response to the Ebola outbreak since October of 2014. The scale of communications efforts in West Africa have gone beyond any scale seen before, as responders attempt to keep each area informed and in constant communication.
NetHope works to share the best solutions and services amongst the organizations working across the world, in particular looking at scalable ways to use ICT specific to each area’s unique needs. They also help member organizations with strategic cost management and standards for common processes.
Innovation for Development
Beginning in January 2008, the Innovation for Development initiative serves as a way for NetHope to design scalable ICT solutions in areas including healthcare, education, agriculture, conservation, and financial programs. Big name organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and USAID have been a huge help in this area.
NetHope’s dedication to not only providing ICT solutions, but also helping countries implement them, sets them apart as a dedicated, effective nonprofit.