Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR Partner: NetHope

Using technology to coordinate and speed disaster relief efforts

Share this page             

Before food, water, and lifesaving care reaches disaster victims, the humanitarian organizations dedicated to providing emergency response need contact with them. NetHope uses technology to speed emergency response, build capacity, and reduce communications costs for member humanitarian organizations.

Who: A catalyst for collaboration

NetHope enables humanitarian and conservation organizations to better serve the developing world through smarter use of technology. NetHope helps 40+ member organizations collaborate, innovate, and leverage the full potential of information and communications technology (ICT) to support their causes.

  • Speed emergency response and coordination by rapidly restoring communications services after a disaster occurs.
  • Develop innovative, affordable networking solutions to bring low-cost, high-bandwidth access to connect the unconnected.
  • Pool resources, aggregate purchasing, and share expertise to reduce communications costs for members so they can deliver better services to more people.
  • Reduce suffering and establish sustainable access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunity in the developing world.

How: A consortium that connects and cares

Cisco helped found NetHope in 2001 in collaboration with Save the Children and continues to support the organization with equipment, employee time, and expertise. Member organizations contribute expertise, knowledge, and other in-kind assets to the NetHope collective, while corporations like Cisco and charitable foundations give in-kind and cash donations to support initiatives.

  • 2 Cisco Leadership Fellows have served as executive directors of NetHope.
  • NetReliefKits, developed with Cisco technology, help restore voice and data communications with easy-to-deploy, suitcase-sized cabinets.
  • NetHope’s cloud services initiative readies members with limited IT expertise to make the most of current technologies to help them reduce costs, save time, and better manage data.
  • The connectivity and infrastructure initiative leverages Cisco expertise to help members understand technology options and support joint connectivity and infrastructure projects.
  • Cisco employees provides on-the-ground communications support to first responders, government agencies, and relief organizations as part of Cisco’s Tactical Operations team.

Impact Multiplied

No one organization can provide everything a region needs to sustain life and restore order after a natural disaster. NetHope has attracted some of the world’s leading humanitarian and conservation organizations to its membership, including Oxfam, Plan International, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. When member organizations are able to better coordinate services using technology, they eliminate gaps in service, reduce duplication, and deliver more goods and services to people in need.

  • 48 hours after the South Asia tsunami in 2004, NetHope partners had established voice and data communications with NetReliefKits.
  • Restored broadband access after the 2010 Haiti earthquake saved lives by speeding delivery of food, water, shelter, and medical assistance from 15 NetHope members.
  • A long-distance wireless network reduced costs from up to to $1000 per megabyte of data to a standard rate of $260 per megabyte, improving access for aid agencies who support 500,000 people living in Dadaab, Kenya, the world’s largest refugee camp.
  • 1000 high-definition video cameras donated by Cisco make it easy for members to tell their story from remote locations to expedite response and enhance fundraising.
  • As part of the Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) program, NetHope is helping the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) create sustainable, replicable network architectures.

"Being able to leverage the expertise of the Cisco employees to create solutions to the issues that we face with our work, that is extremely valuable and goes way beyond just sharing the technology itself. That relationship has been one of the biggest wins in my mind.” – Gisli Olafsson, Global Program Director, NetHope

Connecting the world's largest refugee camp to the world Connecting Refugees >