Relief Reporting

UN OCHA is facing challenges in the coordination of humanitarian activities across all stakeholders in a disaster or crisis situation. UN OCHA receives many files with data in different formats, which today is being consolidated and cleaned up manually; a repeated and error-prone effort during disaster response that often takes multiple days at times when every minute counts. Relief.iO helped with building a 4W Wizard.

The 4W Wizard collects real-time information on the aid rendered by the NGOs, in order to create visibility through UN OCHA’s ‘4W-Reporting’ (Who is doing What, When and Where) for better collaboration and planning on a common platform. Leveraging Machine Learning and Conversational AI technology, the Intelligent Enterprise CoE team created a solution to automate the data consolidation, cleaning and storing process for UN OCHA.

The machine learning based solution uses SAP technology coupled with Google’s Geolocation API to convert unstructured data into structured data that is usable. It comprises of the following features:

  • Identifying the correct worksheet in an Excel file
  • Standardizing headers in the worksheets
  • Correcting typographical errors in the data
  • Formatting the columns in the worksheets
  • Categorizing and classifying a huge dataset
  • Analyzing textual information with NLP and extract crucial information
  • Consolidating numerous worksheets into one clean file

Looking through tens of Excel files with thousands of lines can take UN OCHA days to consolidate them. It is very error-prone. With this machine learning solution however, the effort is reduced from days to just an hour or less, allowing UN OCHA to shift their focus to critical coordination tasks and to provide essential information back to NGOs when time is precious to save more lives.

While the team only joined the Relief.iO venture in April 2018, they created this 4W Wizard in record time and piloted the solution together with the UN already in July, following the Dam Collapse and flooding in Laos. The tool is currently also used in ongoing disasters by UN OCHA to support the coordination of humanitarian activities for The refugee camps in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh (Rohingya crisis), Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines and Palu earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia. The feedback received was throughout very positive“. – Carsten Boekholt (Founder of Relief.iO venture)

SAP has created a tool that I always imagined but never thought possible; a tool that can effectively clean humanitarian operational data regardless of how messy it is. It has the potential to make a huge difference in the field of humanitarian information management. I’m extremely grateful to SAP“. – John Marinos (Regional Information Management Officer – UN OCHA)