What image comes to your mind when you hear the term deployer? For me, it is an action scene from a movie with choppers landing in enemy territory, soldiers in full gear storming battle lines while bombs fly overhead. In fact, the Free Dictionary describes to deploy as:
To position (troops) in readiness for combat, as along a front or line.
To bring (forces or material) into action.
To base (a weapons system) in the field.
2. To distribute (persons or forces) systematically or strategically.
3. To put into use or action.
For Ushahidi, deployers are the people that execute the above. Whenever there’s a crisis such as an earthquake, human rights violations, environmental abuse, breach of good governance, and so many more instances, our deployers come into action. Using the Ushahidi platform, they band together like-minded volunteers to rapidly and purposefully gather, analyse, respond and act on data and information.
Thereby becoming the voice of the voiceless -the hurt, the scared, the marginalised; amplifying their voices to duty bearers - those who have an obligation and responsibility to respect, protect and promote humanity; and ultimately enabling informed decision-making, stopping suffering and influencing change. We, as Ushahidi, deeply value our deployers as they remain the unseen, unheard and unsung heroes.
In appreciation of the hearts and minds that are poured into the deployments, our annual Ushahidi Donation Campaign is in support of our deployers. They do so much with so little, and we want to lend them a hand and scale their impact.
Starting us off is Bike Scouts community.
This was launched in 2013 as an alternative means of access to communications and essential supplies for people and places isolated by Typhoon Yolanda - using bicycles and teams of Volunteer Bicycle Messengers. They have operated as a volunteer-driven platform for the past eight years with zero funding. The community has grown to 150,000+ volunteers composed of 45 local teams and 4,000 team leaders.
Incorporating our Ushahidi platform, they launched a mobile app that now serves as the primary tool for its community’s disaster data collection, disaster documentation, and storytelling. All work-related reports up to the launch of the Bike Scouts app have relied on field reports and estimates by local team leaders and verified through photography, video documentation, and supporting reports from partner organisations and agencies. The Bike Scouts app enables real-time impact reporting for all of its activities and projects.
How are they using the Ushahidi platform?
They provide a way for people to effectively and efficiently help each other in times of crisis by working as a network of support that provides access to help and resources at scale. They have volunteer Bicycle Messengers that collect the main body of data and communications requests.
Beyond using the platform, what are they doing?
Offline, they worked with UNOCHA in the Philippines to map the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of economic, psychological, and social effects. Further, they continue to help monitor, document and respond to disasters such as the recent category-5 typhoon in the Batanes Islands and flooding caused by Typhoon Maring in Northern Philippines. They are growing membership and involvement online through Zoom workshops on sustainability, bicycle mobility, resilience, and community-based disaster response.
They also use drones to survey surrounding terrain for data and documentation.
For the Taal Volcano eruption in 2020: 3000+ reports were generated through the Ushahidi platform, essential supplies were delivered to Manila, Batangas, Cavite, Laguna. This operation lasted three weeks, and Goozam and Private Donors supported them.
Bike Scouts have been busy for the past eight years; read more about their impact here. Below are pictures of Bike Scouts in action during COVID and Taal volcano response.
Join us in this journey of gratitude and support our Heartbeat - Ushahidi Deployers, Bike Scouts by sharing this message and donating Now!
*The flexible donation options allow you to choose among donating every time 1,000 reports are published on our platform, monthly or one-time.