In the aftermath of an emergency, the country's Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society jumps into action to scale up a response that meets the immediate needs of the people affected by the event. When the operational needs exceed the capacity of the National Society, a multilateral response scales up with support from the IFRC to mobilize financial, logistical, and human resources from around the world.
In order to effectively ramp up and maintain these multilateral operations, decision makers need a clear understanding of the emergency’s impact and the needs of the affected population, and access to systems and tools to collect and manage data about the operation’s response. That’s where the Surge Information Management Support (SIMS) network comes in. As an IFRC Global Tool, SIMS offers a wide variety of technical support through remote volunteers located across the globe.
SIMS members have a diverse range of technical skills. We generally organize remote supporters by the following specific profiles. Click on a card to learn more about the role and relevant competencies.
SIMS Remote Coordinators translate the operation's needs into discrete tasks, and manage the on-going process of assigning those tasks to the SIMS member with the appropriate set of skills.
Geospatial specialists create a variety of static and interactive map types, including basemaps, damage and impact maps, 3W's, and more.
Web Visualization specialists build and connect to data pipelines to create dashboards and other products that help operations make sense of data.
Information Design specialists help operations organize and analyze information in order to develop scenario plans and support strategic-level decision-making.
Data Transformation and Analysis specialists wrangle datasets to make them compatible with multiple analytical processes.
Data Collection specialists design and build systems for large-scale mobile surveys that help operations establish a more accurate profile of the needs of those affected by the emergency.
After SIMS is activated, a SIMS Remote Coordinator is assigned to liaise directly with the field and translate their needs into discrete tasks which are then assigned to remote supporters. Services can be delivered for several months after an activation begins, then SIMS supports the transition of its functions to longer-term delegate roles.
Thanks to the global distribution of the staff and volunteers that support SIMS, products and services can be developed around the clock and meet deadlines that keep up with fast paced operations. SIMS members have a diverse and highly-relevant set of skills. We are constantly developing new ones to stay up-to-date on the latest technology.
Learning from our collective experience is a fundamental part of how SIMS operates. As an activation wraps up, we follow a rigorous knowledge management process that includes evaluating the products and services delivered to identify best practices to enhance future operations. We frequently draft public stories about the response in order to share knowledge with the broader humanitarian sector.
SIMS has been activated 61 times since its inception in 2013, most recently in response to the Nepal Karnali Earthquake.
There are 80 active members of the SIMS network ready to provide support across a variety of technical areas.
A sudden onset disaster occurs or a slow onset disaster reaches a certain threshold.
Request for SIMS activation sent to IFRC Surge Desk.
The Surge Desk contacts the SIMS focal point and the network's members are alerted.
SIMS assigns a remote coordinator as the focal point that manages tasks and assigns to other remote members.
The operation is supported with the production of tools and products for up to three months.
IM support transitions to medium- or long-term delegate roles, remote support continues through separate funding, or surge support phases out completely.