iMMAP Inc.'s Strategic Expansion into DRC, Sudan, and Somalia

To enhance data-driven aid interventions, iMMAP Inc. launched new programs in 2023 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Somalia.

The Congo River at sunset, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. © Marie Frechon/UN Photo. CC BY 2.0 Deed

The escalating humanitarian needs across Africa emphasize the urgency of the situation as a decisive "wake-up call" for both national, regional and international stakeholders. These pressing humanitarian crises underscores the need of reliable and accurate data to ensure that life-saving humanitarian aid is delivered swiftly and effectively, alleviating the adversities faced by the affected populations in these regions.  

Building on its existing programs in Nigeria and Ethiopia, iMMAP Inc. is expanding its operations to address these pressing humanitarian needs. To shed further light on this, Laura Martinelli, the Africa Desk Coordinator at iMMAP Inc., shares her insights. 

Recognizing the critical need for data-driven humanitarian interventions, iMMAP Inc. is expanding its operations thanks to the support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) to provide timely and accurate humanitarian data and facilitate informed decisions by various organizations in delivering impactful aid. Amid challenging geopolitical and humanitarian scenarios, we are looking to foster more coordinated and effective humanitarian responses, which are crucial in addressing the pressing needs of the affected populations.

In humanitarian contexts, the transformative power of robust information management cannot be overstated. iMMAP Inc.'s strategic expansion into the DRC, Sudan and Somalia aims to enhance coordination efforts among partners from various sectors and cluster, local authorities, and international organizations. Utilizing iMMAP Inc.’s expertise in information management, data analysis, needs assessments and geospatial technologies, iMMAP Inc. facilitates interventions that are designed to address underlying challenges that perpetuate cycles of crisis. This dual focus not only improves the efficiency of ongoing humanitarian efforts from those actors engaged in the response but also contributes to long-term strategic planning and policy formulation, as well as building local capacities and ensuring solid and coordinated data eco-systems are available at the National level. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Empowering Health Actors in the DRC: iMMAP Inc.'s Information Management Initiative

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a vast nation with a population exceeding 95 million. Despite the substantial progress in health indicators over the past three decades, the country remains in the grip of protracted crises and faces multiple humanitarian challenges. The UN has underscored the dire healthcare situation in the DRC, particularly in the eastern regions, where increased violence, natural disasters, and disease outbreaks aggravated a health crisis.  

A public health engineer tests the water quality at a recently installed tap stand in Bunia, Ituri. © Caroline Gluck/Oxfam. CC BY 2.0 Deed. 

The dire healthcare scenario is further complicated by the high poverty rate, with 73% of the population living on less than $1.90 a day as of 2018.  Amidst these adversities, the Health Cluster in DRC, consisting of 131 Health partners including 50 International NGOs, 61 National NGOs, and 6 UN agencies, strives to coordinate and enhance the healthcare response, particularly in crisis-affected areas, consisting of 131 Health partners including 50 INGOs, 61 National NGOs, and 6 UN agencies, strives to coordinate and enhance the healthcare response, particularly in crisis-affected areas. 

The DRC is severely strained by a multitude of infectious diseases alongside systemic challenges. With around 580,000 individuals, the country has a high prevalence of HIV. Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria are other significant health concerns, with malaria alone accounting for an estimated 60% of all hospital visits. Since June 2019, the DRC has been grappling with the world's largest measles epidemic, further complicated by vaccination campaign delays and coordination challenges. Additionally, the DRC is endemic to a range of infectious diseases including Meningitis, Typhoid, Cholera, and Bubonic plague, and has witnessed six Ebola outbreaks since 2018. 

These challenges underscore the urgency and significance of iMMAP Inc.'s new program in the DRC, aimed at enhancing the health response capacity through crucial information management services for health actors. This initiative is envisioned to foster better coordination and healthcare service delivery in this complex humanitarian setting. iMMAP Inc. is launching a dedicated Humanitarian Information Support Team (HIST) to address critical information management gaps that currently impede effective healthcare delivery and coordination in the DRC. Drawing on successful models from Nigeria and Ethiopia, this specialized unit will focus on creating and disseminating essential information management products such as maps, advocacy materials, and online dashboards. In addition, the team will offer services in data quality management and analysis. Through these concerted efforts, iMMAP Inc. aims to significantly enhance the responsiveness and efficiency of the healthcare sector in the DRC. 


Humanitarian Information and Support Team (HIST) in Somalia

Caption: IDPs Fleeing Drought at Al Adala Camp, Mogadishu. ©UN Photo/Omar Abdisalan. CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed 

Somalia is amid a rapidly unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, exacerbated by the most severe and prolonged drought the country has experienced in the past 40 years. Noted by Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), this extreme, multi-season drought is unprecedented, outlasting and surpassing the severity of the 2010/2011 and 2016/2017 droughts. Noting the situation on the ground, iMMAP Inc. has initiated Information Management support to Humanitarian Responders program in Somalia through the creation of a Humanitarian Information and Support Team (HIST).  

The program operates in close collaboration with OCHA to complement its existing role in coordinating humanitarian efforts in the country. The initiative seeks to address the identified gaps in information management within the clusters, which currently impede response coordination efforts. Anchored in a central hub in Mogadishu, the program extends its information management support to various regions across Somalia, aiding sub-national cluster coordination structures both directly and indirectly. 


Information Management and Analysis Support for Humanitarian Aid in Sudan Amid Crisis

In Sudan, the escalating conflict has triggered a humanitarian crisis affecting various segments of the population. This situation has led to an increasing number of internally displaced persons, a deteriorating healthcare system, and acute shortages of vital resources, painting a bleak picture for the country of 49 million people.  

Caption: Internally Displaced Persons farming in Dali, North Darfur. © UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran. CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed. 

iMMAP Inc. has initiated a focused information management program to strengthen humanitarian activities in Sudan. A dedicated team offers on-demand Information Management (IM) services, such as situation analysis and data visualization, to enhance coordination and response. The initiative utilizes secondary data and satellite imagery to identify and fill information gaps, thereby refining existing efforts. Innovative geospatial and earth observation techniques are also being employed for more robust data analysis. 

The main goal of this initiative is to facilitate a data-centric approach to humanitarian aid in Sudan, by aiding humanitarian actors who are working to address the needs outlined in the 2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO). The project also offers analytical services to humanitarian clusters and the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group as required.  

In collaboration with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), it aims to enhance existing IM capacities and promote data sharing via the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX). These efforts are aimed in improving the understanding of Sudan's evolving humanitarian and security situation, aiding in effective planning and response.