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Humanitarian Innovation Fund supports revamp of 'KnowledgePoint'

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Online humanitarian Q&A forum KnowledgePoint is modernising in its user experience, data security and use of gaming technology, among other areas, over the next six months.

The forum was set up in 2012 to give aid workers in remote locations access to free and fast expert advice, supporting aid agencies in exchanging and storing key technical knowledge.

KnowledgePoint has now gained more than 105,000 new and returning users across 183 countries*, with a global network of more than 150 technical experts answering questions in topics ranging from public health to security and logistics.  

KnowledgePoint Coordinator Harriette Purchas said: "KnowledgePoint is like having an expert 'in your back pocket'. You can now have access to leading specialists across all sectors, regardless of where they are, and tap into the vast wealth of experience that exists in the humanitarian, development, academic and private sectors.

For an aid worker in the field that is a powerful resource."

* All statistics are taken from Google Analytics. Google Analytics records each device or web browser that accesses the KnowledgePoint platform as a ‘new user.’ Each device or web browser that has accessed the KnowledgePoint platform once and proceeds to access it on a separate occasion is recorded by Google Analytics as a ‘returning user’.

Supporting the fight against Ebola

During the 2014-15 Ebola crisis, World Health Organization specialists used the site to share information with those working in the field and in remote locations that could not be safely assessed.

Answers: 6
Viewed: 5,216 times

Between October 2015 and May 2016, 24 Ebola-related questions were asked, receiving 52 responses and being viewed collectively over 212,000 times.

Increasing access

Elrha's Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) is now providing extra support to upgrade the platform to increase access and visibility within the humanitarian sector (see right). At the most fundamental level, the forum’s infrastructure, digital security provisions and suitability for mobile devices are being reviewed and upgraded.

This means that making improvements to the site will become much faster and much easier, user data protection will be reinforced, and more people will be able to access the platform. 

Increasing access

A living bank of knowledge

Harriette Purchas said: "KnowledgePoint strengthens the technical support that each organisation can offer, connecting all our individual resources into a global collaboration.

So often all you need is to ask a small question to clarify or check an issue. If you’re lucky enough to have an experienced colleague working on the project you would ask them. 

For those who aren’t so lucky, it’s vital that we keep this accessible bank of knowledge alive."

Left: Use of KnowledgePoint via mobile devices is growing
 

A living bank of knowledge

A more intuitive experience

Users will also be treated to a more intuitive and dynamic KnowledgePoint experience.

Gaming techniques are being incorporated to enhance the rewards of taking part and the system for notifying users about newly-posted questions and answers is being redesigned.

A team of carefully selected technical experts will post a series of in-depth KnowledgePoint contributions on urgent technical challenges within humanitarian response.

Have you got a question that you would like them to answer? Ask it here.

KnowledgePoint is a partnership between RedR UK, WaterAid, IRC Wash and Practical Action.

KnowledgePoint is supported by Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) programme, a grant-making facility supporting organisations and individuals to identify, nurture and share innovative and scalable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance.
 
The HIF programme is funded by the UK Government and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
 
Visit www.elrha.org for more information about Elrha’s work to improve humanitarian outcomes through research, innovation and partnership.