A few years ago in the run-up to the Rio +20 conference, the UN became "paper smart".

In situations where millions are affected and need to respond to events, the UN should also become, and urge governments to become, "Content Smart" and more fully use the potential of social media.

The UN Secretary-General can initiate such change.
The UN and Government of Nepal could have made a better use of social media in responding and helping the victims of the Nepal Earthquake.

When a calamity, such as the Nepal Earthquake, strikes, most information is outside any administration's reach. Roads are blocked, and communications may be impaired. It is common knowledge that among first priorities are making roads usable, and restore communications as much as possible. Coordination is one of the key roles for government, in the case of Nepal supported by the UN Country team. For coordination one needs information. Traditionally, but in the case of Nepal rather inefficient, information is centralized, then dispatched, teams and resources allocated. In Nepal, a lot of resources seem to have been "delayed" in the planning and coordination. With "avoidable" suffering as a result.
Via social media, one can actively engage both citizens and aid teams in sharing pertinent information while avoiding the "administrative coordination bottleneck". The below facts can be checked via twitter account @SoCapNepal and #NPlgu hashtags that I used while commuting by train between Antwerp and Brussels during the past week. In the evenings I completed wikipages with hashtags for the villages in the severily hit districts. Via Twitter, the tweets can be found via the village's tags that I also add here.
People from Salyantar, #NP30041 and Jyamrung, #NP30019, both in Dhadhing district - #NP30 - could call to Singapore as early as April 25 and 28.
Check also what happened to people from #Majigaon near Melamchi #NP23048 in Sindhupalchowk #NP23 district.

If you, through the UN country teams, encourage national governments to use such local hashtags in their communications and promote it for use by all concerned, then a lot of "self-organisation" can happen via social media, an improved collective awareness, more effective response, suffering avoided, money well spent, mutual accountability, all are achievable benefits of becoming "Content smart".



Name1 Humanitarian response
Target Outcome Relief for the victims of the calamity.
(Partial) reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.
Social actors and roles donors and responders
Trigger or preceding interaction Disaster
Interfaces and services services
Inputs and outputs i/o
Stores and tools
Other characteristics
Part of par
Parts child
Succeeding Interactions suc
Alternatives alt
Action Realm Operations Monitoring & Evaluation Change
Risks risks
Further reading

A detailed analysis of the humanitarian response processes is underway in the context of the so-called Grand Bargain that was agreed at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit.

The Grand Bargain - A Shared Commitment to Better Serve People in Need has been the basis for the description of the Humanitarian response interaction.

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