iMMAP Presents its Work in Analyzing Facebook Data for the Venezuela Response

Our team participated in AI (Artificial Intelligence) for Social Good workshop, held in Qatar, and presented the work and accomplishments of iMMAP in applying Facebook data for humanitarian decision-making

February 28, 2019, Doha –In line with our mission to find innovative solutions for humanitarian and development challenges, iMMAP participated in the AI (Artificial Intelligence) for Social Good workshop at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha, Qatar, on February 17th, 2019

The workshop, jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Qatar Center for Artificial Intelligence (QCAI) at the QCRI, brought together experts from UN agencies, NGOs, academic institutions and industry partners to present their experience with applying AI to humanitarian and development aid.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a set of transformative technologies with the potential to greatly aid the development and humanitarian sectors through powerful data analysisQatar Computing Research Institute

Mr. Jeffrey Villaveces, Country Director in Colombia, presented the work of iMMAP in assisting the humanitarian operations for the Venezuela crisis: iMMAP has been working on tracking the location of Venezuelan migrants across Colombia and other Latin American countries in order to gain a better knowledge on the migration flows that can be applied to decision-making processes.

Our team is applying and analyzing Facebook data, and contrasting that information with other sources such as households’ surveys in order to confirm its reliability, and then compiling, visualizing and making available this data to help understand the distribution and growth patterns of Venezuelan migration in Colombia and the wider region.

The impact of the response to this emergency depends critically on the availability and quality of the information. Currently, estimates are that a total of 3.4 million Venezuelans have left the country, including more than 1 million in Colombia, with 5,000 additional Venezuelans fleeing the country daily.

Supported by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), iMMAP Colombia is providing information management support to OCHA, UNHCR and IOM in responding to the humanitarian emergency in the country, participating in humanitarian needs overview (HNO) and people in needs (PIN) analyses processes, where this type of data is invaluable for planning humanitarian action.

Thus far, the HNO 2019 have made use of Facebook data to support the distribution of PIN. The HNO, in turn, has helped provide a basis for humanitarian programme cycles for both the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Venezuelans managed from Panama and the Humanitarian Response Plan 2019 in Colombia.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for iMMAP and QCRI to sign a memorandum of understanding, to establish a formal partnership and subsequently to continue the collaboration to find innovative approaches to support humanitarian operations.

This agreement, signed by iMMAP´s Chief of Operations Mr. Christophe Bois and QCRI´s Executive Director Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid, aligns with iMMAP´s mission to find innovative solutions by harnessing the power of information to facilitate evidence-based decisions in order to improve people´s lives.

Mr. Bois from iMMAP said that "our extensive field presence across different world regions means that iMMAP has the potential to provide on the ground support to the extraordinary work of the Qatar Computing Research Institute, where some of the most innovative methodologies in data science and information management are being pioneered today."

Dr. Ahmed Elmagarmid also welcomed the MoU: “we look forward to further strengthening this relationship by supporting iMMAP’s efforts in the Middle East and elsewhere with state-of-the-art analysis tools to provide targeted assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations.”