Vodacom Provides Connectivity to Gift of the Givers in Disaster Situation

The ever-increasing frequency and intensity of natural and man-made disasters has necessitated a greater state of preparedness by organisations involved in disaster response worldwide. Gift of the Givers, through public, media, corporate and governmental support, with its team of highly-skilled, dedicated, South African volunteers of diverse backgrounds, has carried the African flag to 37 countries in its 20 year history of disaster response.

Effective communication is one of the cardinal principles of logistics preparedness in successful interventions. Vodacom has added a massive boost to Gift of the Givers ever expanding disaster response capacity by partnering us with their Instant Network programme. Through this system, a portable mobile network can be set up in within a few hours in any disaster zone that could help relief workers reach victims more quickly. One of the major challenges facing relief agencies operating in these chaotic conditions is the lack of an effective communications network to get help where it is most needed. Thanks to its innovative design, the prototype can be packed into three suitcases which can be transported on commercial flights, avoiding the inevitable delays that surround cargo deliveries of bulkier equipment. Dedicated Vodacom technical staff will be an integral part of the Gift of the Givers response team, a first for Gift of the Givers on the African continent and a great stride in the interest of serving humanity unconditionally. Twenty five handsets with free airtime will be provided for the purpose.

Ahmed Bham, head of Gift of the Givers Search and Rescue Team accompanies Vodacom technical representatives from the African continent and Europe to a 4-day technical workshop on the Vodafone Instant Network programme in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-7 December 2012, where he will learn the system as well as do a presentation on Gift of the Givers rapid and highly advanced response capacity.

“In the wake of a humanitarian disaster, the first 48 hours are critical
in establishing an effective relief effort,” says Maya Makanjee, chief officer corporate affairs at Vodacom. “We want to use our expertise and technology to assist Gift of the Givers to empower both aid workers and victims in disaster zones across Africa. Vodacom acknowledges the admirable work done by Gift of the Givers and we look forward to what promises to be a magnificent partnership.”

About Vodacom Instant Network: Vodacom has identified that when natural disasters strike, telecommunications networks are often destroyed or no coverage is in place in the affected areas, leaving victims without any way to contact their loved ones and hampering relief efforts. Communications are essential to humanitarian organisations to exchange information on the situation, efficiently coordinate and better meet the needs of those affected. Mobile technology enables victims and humanitarian organisations with voice, SMS, internet access, mobile banking, crisis mapping, data capturing and security alerts.

In disaster situations in countries in which Vodacom operates, they will respond to emergencies by re-establishing networks as quickly as possible for its customers. In each Vodacom market, working groups have been formed and trained to have local capacity
that are composed of the local Technology department and their Foundation.

Major advantages of the Instant Network system:

  • Quick deployment by 2 persons within 4 hours. Once on the ground, the equipment can be installed and on air in standalone mode within less than 1hour.
  • Low Power Consumption 160W – Green power solutions and intelligent energy management.
  • Low VSAT DAMA Bandwidth requirement min 32kbps = optimised transmission.
  • Light and small (100kg, packed in 3 portable cases) for rapid transportation, flyable as luggage in commercial flights.
  • Deep Rural EDGE Throughput - Super Mobile.
  • Based on Huawei NFB (No Frills BTS Architecture).
  • Vodacom’s dynamic network architecture.
  • Local network for local calls / SMS.
  • External calls through satellite back haul.
  • Scalable from 1 to 4 sites, 500 to 12,000 users.
  • State-of-the-art capacity management.
  • 25 handsets with pre-loaded SIMS (4,000 minutes free talk time/4,000 SMS).

About Vodacom:

Vodacom is an African mobile communications company providing voice, messaging, data and converged services to around 50 million active customers. From our roots in South Africa, we have grown our operations to include networks in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (‘DRC’), Mozambique and Lesotho. Vodacom is majority owned by Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile communications companies by revenue.

  • Vodacom