Pioneering tech kit connects humanitarians in Nigeria


Innovation solutions provide emergency connectivity for aid workers on humanitarian crisis

from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – NEW innovation is providing emergency connectivity for aid workers responding to the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria.

Dubbed CrisisNet, it is an invention developed by technical specialists of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), a global network of organisations working together to provide shared communications services in humanitarian emergencies.

The emergency kit in a moveable box consisting of a ready-to-deploy and adaptable internet connectivity set that can serve humanitarians during critical times.

According to the inventors, the CrisisNet kit was pilot tested during a World Food Programme (WFP) Nigeria mission to the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in the northeastern town of Gwoza earlier in 2023.

From the camp, the team used the kit to hold a live video conference call with WFP Berlin (Germany), WFP Nigeria, the local Maiduguri Area Office, and WFP Headquarters in Rome, Italy to capture real time information in the IDP camp and to broadcast a focus group discussion with women living in the IDP camp.

The CrisisNet kit was recently deployed a second time to enable live broadcasting of a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) training session in the other northeastern cities of Damaturu and Yobe to online participants.

“It was great to connect with colleagues around the world while we were in the camp in deep field Nigeria,” commented Chi Lael, WFP Nigeria Head of Communications and Advocacy.

The internet connection was described as strong and the communication clear without interference.

The CrisisNet kit is designed to replicate the communications systems set up in the eight humanitarian hubs across northeast Nigeria.

“CrisisNet is a product developed to provide reliable and mobile connectivity to ease internet cut-out issues or even the total collapse of the existing network in deep field locations. This tool will be there during a disaster, shock, or emergency,” said Caleb Anwara, IT Operations Associate at ETC.

Nigeria’s internet service providers moved out of deep field locations since the onset of the Islamist insurgency in 2009.

This has left key areas across the northeast as connectivity black-out zones.

Continued conflict has resulted in a large-scale humanitarian and protection crisis, with millions of people affected.

– CAJ News

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