Case Studies: RedR

RedR

RedR - Engineers for Disaster Relief - is an international charity that provides assistance to disaster victims by selecting, training and providing competent and effective personnel to humanitarian relief agencies worldwide.

Providing Technical Expertise to Relief Workers

One of the many initiatives we operate is a Technical Support Service (TSS), which exists to provide effective technical advice to our members when on relief assignments in the field. In many situations relief workers may have very limited access to outside technical expertise, particularly due to the isolated working conditions and urgency often associated with disaster relief assignments. The TSS enables members to access a network of technical experts who are well placed to research and provide detailed advice on a wide range of questions.

"The diverse possibilities of L-Soft's list management facilities have been a great asset to RedR, saving us time and money and helping information flow quickly and reliably to the people that matter to us all around the world."

For this service to function effectively we needed a reliable system that could distribute requests for support to our network of experts (operating in specialist groups). It was also important that responses would be visible to members of each technical group and that this accumulating wealth of expertise would be available for others to tap into.

The services offered generously by L-Soft provided an excellent solution to all these needs.

Four email lists have been set up, covering water & sanitation, water sources and construction with a catchall list for other technical enquiries. Whenever RedR receives a request for support – be it by email, fax, phone or letter – it is posted in a standard format to the relevant L-Soft email list. First responses generally come back within the hour and are forwarded directly to the relief worker in the field. Since we began using L-Soft's services at the start of 2000 we have been able to assist with over 30 requests for support – normally within 24 hours.

The searchable archives L-Soft provides on the Internet are open for anyone to explore and in this way we hope that other relief workers working on technical projects may benefit from the increasing expertise.

Facilitating Internal Discussion

A second use of L-Soft's services has been in facilitating internal discussions and information sharing within RedR. Two confidential lists have been set up to do this – one for all RedR staff and the other for the use of RedR's International Committee. In both cases, it has been possible for information to be communicated between personnel in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The International Committee is planning to hold a virtual conference using this facility, thereby working through a lot of important preliminary discussion before their next face-to-face meeting.

Spreading our News

More recently, RedR has made use of an L-Soft announcement list to provide brief news updates about RedR to anyone who wishes to join the list. This news list has proved very popular, netting over 250 subscribers in the first two months.

"The diverse possibilities of L-Soft's list management facilities have been a great asset to RedR, saving us time and money and helping information flow quickly and reliably to the people that matter to us all around the world."

Case study written in August 2000 with the assistance of Sam Platt, Administrative Officer/Web site & Technical Support Services, RedR.




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