TSF training for emergency responders extends to Africa

Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) is extending its annual training programme for humanitarian organisations to Africa.

The Inmarsat-sponsored emergency telecoms agency will train 100 international emergency responders in telecommunications and information technology throughout 2013.

Week-long sessions will be run in Asia and America as well as Africa.

Skill sharing
The first training programme took place in Bangkok, Thailand, in March. Delegates took part from 18 organisations providing aid in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines.

Course participants commit to sharing their new telecom skills with colleagues and partner organisations.

“In emergencies, information management and sharing has become critical for an effective humanitarian response,” said TSF spokesman Laure Crampé.

Assess situation
“When crisis strikes, teams on the ground need to assess the situation and communicate vital information as fast as possible, stay connected with headquarters and other emergency responders in the country, and also mobilise donors and assure visibility and advocacy.”

Following an emergency, when the need for telecommunications is greatest, the means to do so is often unavailable. The challenge for TSF is to set up emergency satellite telecoms as soon as possible.

The training programme, supported by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), enables TSF to build up the capabilities of emergency responders.

Rapid deployment
As well as training in the use of equipment including BGAN and IsatPhone Pro, delegates are prepared for rapid deployment to disaster scenes and shown how to manage crisis telecommunications.

It concludes with a practical simulation of a humanitarian crisis deployment.

TSF: www.tsfi.org