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Agos, powered by eBayanihan, promotes innovative and responsible use of mobile and web technologies to facilitate the flow of critical and actionable information to those who need it before, during, and after disasters. Its purpose is to connect those who need help directly with those who can truly help.
A collaborative platform that combines top-down government action with bottom up civic engagement, Agos helps communities mitigate risks and deal with climate change and natural hazards. Powered by the bayanihan spirit, it mobilizes different sectors of society and transforms ordinary citizens into movers who are helping build a more resilient nation.
The program has the following key components:
Working with Ateneo’s eBayanihan team, Rappler’s tech group develops and maintains the Agos Alert Map which integrates, sources and manages critical information required in disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. Through the Alert map, the Agos community of volunteers helps sift through and validate critical information, such as people in need of rescue or relief during disasters, so that national agencies, local government units, the private sector, and civil society groups can respond to such needs.
The Agos microsite is a rich knowledge base of engaging multimedia content that explains key concepts in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, such as the nature of hazards and how risks associated with them could be mitigated to prevent loss of lives and properties;
Through Move.PH, Rappler’s civic engagement unit, the program conducts on-ground activities such as trainings and workshops for national government agencies, local government units, and civil society groups and other groups. The purpose is to grow a community that aligns workflows, shares best practices, and directly communicates plans and efforts with the general public and the communities they serve.
BACKGROUND AND MILESTONES
The collaboration combines the rigor of academic analysis and research in eBayanihan with Rappler’s expertise in user experience, crowdsourcing, content creation, and community engagement.
Since 2013, the Agos-eBayanihan system has enabled real-world action to improve disaster management and response. Here are specific cases:
Community action during Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). – During Supertyphoon Yolanda, Rappler’s Agos team crowdsourced reports on devastation, missing people, and relief needs. The team also helped map cell signals in areas affected by the disaster.
Agos community in action during Typhoon Mario (Fung-wong). – When Typhoon Mario submerged many parts of Metro Manila in flood waters back in 2014, Riza Delgado was among many residents of the metro who found herself on the rooftop of her house in urban poor community in Tatalon, Quezon City. Heavily pregnant at the time, she went on labor and needed to be brought to a hospital immediately. Agos volunteers captured a Tweet regarding her condition. As a result, volunteers of the Philippine National Red Cross, an Agos partner, were able to rescue Risa. She delivered her baby girl, Yesha, an hour after the rescue.
“Whole of society approach” to disasters recognized by national government – Citizen action through social media was highlighted as an integral part of the government’s disaster response cluster during Supertyphoon Ruby, the strongest typhoon to hit the country after Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Drills popularized through hashtag #MMShakeDrill – Partnering with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the NDRRMC, Agos helped push content ahead of the first Metro Manila and nationwide earthquake drill in order to promote and encourage participation in the drill. Following this engagement, #MMShakeDrill now generates billions of views on Twitter every year.
Popularized information about hazards and disaster prevention – In-depth stories and engaging multimedia content in the Agos microsite that give face to survivors of disasters have been read by millions of people since 2013. On top of this, millions more were reached via social media.
Trained hundreds of disaster officials, partners and volunteers from Metro Manila and the nation’s most vulnerable provinces, on how to use social media and the Agos platform for disaster preparedness and response.
Community action through Agos has also been activated during other humanitarian crisis situations and emergencies. An example of this are efforts to respond to needs of evacuees during the Marawi crisis.
With support of the Australian Government, Agos launched the campaign: “Make #ZeroCasualty a reality” in 2014. The project connected a network of over 2,000 community disaster managers, civic leaders, CCA-DRRM experts, ICT practitioners and advocates who regularly converse on issues related to disasters. The Facebook group serves as a helpline of sorts for those in need of expert assistance.
Since then, Agos has developed and activated working partnerships with key agencies involved in disaster mitigation and response and activated emergency volunteer workflows regularly during crisis situations.
The platform now serves as the mechanism through which direct feedback from people affected by disasters are processed and channeled to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in order to determine real-time needs on the ground. The national government has acknowledged this a critical supplement to reports submitted via official channels.
A transparent way to check underserved communities, the system also assists private sector partners such as the Philippine Disaster Response Foundation (PDRF) in determining how to effectively assist government, to minimize duplicate efforts.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the Agos Alert Map?
The Agos Alert Map is a platform where responders, government officials, NGOs, the private sector, and individuals share critical information that can help save lives.
Using the Alert Map, Agos taps the wisdom of the crowds to help source and curate the streams of data, particularly during disasters.
The map is designed to scan social media for appeals for help or rescue, appeals for relief aid, and situation reports nationwide. It allows the public to send similar appeals via SMS for free. The software behind Agos automatically analyzes and plots the data in a single mobile-friendly map that is accessible to all.
With the platform, the public – including local government officials and responders – can visually identify areas in need of help or relief and what exactly is needed. In addition, responders will be able to indicate within Agos that help is on the way.
With the addition of data overlays such as hazard maps produced by our partner agencies, the map can also be used as a policy planning and educational tool.
How can civil society organizations benefit from partnering with Agos?
Agos partner CSOs may participate in Move workshops and training on how to use social media and technology effectively in their campaigns and programs. Through engaging stories and social media content, Agos helps amplify best practices and inspiring stories online to millions of people.
Civil society organizations are very good sources of information and have on-ground experience working with communities. CSOs can become partners of Agos and share their expertise and knowledge to improve the knowledge base on CCA-DRRM.
What is the purpose of the Agos volunteer program?
During emergencies, Agos volunteers help monitor and validate critical needs on the ground using the Alert Map and other social media platforms. Agos, however, welcomes volunteers any time of the year, even when there are no emergencies. Volunteers can help build disaster resilient communities nationwide by helping Agos consolidate local information their respective communities need to plan ahead. Volunteers can sign up for 3 key initiatives: preparedness, response, and recovery/rehabilitation.
Visit the MovePH sign-up page: www.rplr.co/movevolunteers
How can our organization be a partner of Agos?
Partners can come from LGUs, CSOs, and private corporations. Partners commit to using Agos as a platform to educate, inform, and prepare communities for disasters. As part of the commitment, they will integrate the use of Agos into their existing workflows and programs. Partner groups go through an onboarding programs that includes trainings on how to integrate social media and other digital technologies into their disaster response workflows and educational campaigns. Interested partners only need to formalize the partnership through a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
Email MovePH: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is Rappler getting involved in disaster risk reduction?
Rappler is a social news network that also aims to build institutions for positive social change. The Philippines is one of the most disaster prone countries in the world, highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Rappler wants to be a part of a solution that will have a long-term impact on our country. We believe now is the right time to build bridges between the public and private sectors for climate change adaptation, disaster preparedness and response. Our interest extends beyond public relations or profit.