DHIS2 serves as a platform for the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) in Mali to coordinate and share information regarding crisis alerts, rapid assessments, and humanitarian responses
In northern and central Mali, rapid response actors aim to provide emergency assistance to vulnerable households in food, shelter, water/sanitation/hygiene, health, and essential household items based on needs assessments conducted within 25-30 days of a crisis alert being validated. The RRM mechanism offers a harmonized tool to facilitate coordination among humanitarian actors from the time of the alert until the response.
A Coordinated Approach
An RRM is designed to conduct rapid multi-sectoral needs assessments following sudden-onset crises caused by conflict or natural disasters and to provide humanitarian assistance on the basis of needs identified. In Mali, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) partners closely with local NGOs and the district-level government to implement the Kisili RRM project funded by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Food for Peace (FFP). In addition, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is the technical lead for a consortium of international NGOs that contribute to an RRM approach primarily funded by the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). Other RRM actors and funders include the Swedish Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Canada, the Danish International Development Agency, and several UN agencies.
With so many organizations involved, information-sharing and effective communication is essential to ensure that humanitarian efforts are complementary rather than duplicative and meet the basic needs of those affected immediately following a crisis. The DHIS2 platform contributes to life-saving humanitarian assistance in Mali by providing real-time statistics in a dashboard format—including graphs, charts, and maps—that can be easily shared and accessed by humanitarian actors. Information at the regional, district, and commune levels regarding confirmed alerts, assessments conducted, responses by sector, and gaps in terms of unmet needs facilitates planning and mobilization of resources to assist internally displaced and vulnerable households affected by conflict and flooding.
Humanitarian Information Sharing and Management
The RRM Mali DHIS online platform is currently maintained by CRS with the financial support of USAID/OFDA&FFP. As the RRM technical leads, CRS and NRC are responsible for data entry, data management, and dissemination of information related to the online platform. In developing the platform, CRS and NRC collaborated closely with UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Mali to ensure the data address humanitarian actors’ information needs. The DHIS2 platform data has been presented at humanitarian cluster coordination meetings, and more than 100 humanitarian workers in Mali have obtained DHIS2 user accounts to view the online dashboards and access data for planning and reporting purposes.
To further increase information-sharing, CRS is collaborating with Logical Outcomes to develop a Wordpress plugin that will link DHIS2 data to a public website where humanitarian actors can view certain dashboards without having to log into an account. CRS and Logical Outcomes also plan to make the Wordpress plugin open-source so that other organizations in the DHIS2 community may benefit from this innovative tool for their own public websites.
Photo Credit: Abdourahamane Ag Rhissa/CRS Mali (Rapid assessment in Gao Region, October 2019)