Empowering Humanitarian Efforts: iMMAP Inc.'s Journey in Ethiopia

The Humanitarian Information Support Team (HIST) is playing a transformative role in Ethiopia's humanitarian landscape, emerging as a central hub for information management (IM) support. Launched in May 2023 with funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Affairs (BHA), the HIST provides critical IM support to various stakeholders across Ethiopia.

Information Management products by HIST.  (©iMMAP Inc., 2024)

Since 2017, iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia has been providing information management services to humanitarian actors in the country through a secondment approach. The limitation of this approach was that it only benefited the organizations where the seconded staff were deployed, constraining the reach of iMMAP Inc.’s services to other organizations in need of IM support. To address this issue, iMMAP Inc. introduced the new HIST approach designed to support all humanitarian actors across Ethiopia.  The shift from the traditional secondment approach to HIST aims to enhance oversight, coordination, quality assurance of IM products, peer support, knowledge sharing among team members, capacity building, and expand the range of products and services available to humanitarian actors.

“A standout accomplishment of HIST lies in the successful establishment of the HIST system, marking a departure from our previous secondment approach. Its widespread functionality across the country is testament to its significance.” Gashaw Bekele Mekuria, Head HIST Ethiopia's Services

HIST tackled IM gaps head-on by establishing a centralized web-based system that provides need-based IM support to humanitarian organizations operating in Ethiopia. HIST IM services include:

  • IM products development: Creating easy-to-understand reports, maps, dashboards, and infographics to visualize complex data.
  • Capacity building: Conducting training sessions to equip humanitarian actors with the skills needed to effectively collect, analyze, visualize and manage humanitarian information.
  • Data management: Supporting stakeholders in gathering information from a range of sources, including field reports, government data, and satellite imagery. It supports data analysis, form development, and helps with web and database support.

A snapshot of the HIST service request portal dashboard: Explore more at http://hist.immap.org

"Continuation of iMMAP Inc.’s HIST project on Information management support helps organizations to stay organized, improve their efficiency and timely decision making in the dynamic and fast-paced humanitarian landscape." Desalegn Getaneh, Senior Information Management Officer (IMO) at iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia

In its first phase, the HIST responded to over 600 requests for IM support, delivered more than 1,000 information products, within nine months, and reached 482 humanitarian workers through capacity-building sessions, consisting of 283 through face-to-face sessions, 57 via webinars, and 42 through online platforms. Phase two of HIST is underway, with a focus on expanding its reach and empowering a comprehensive range of humanitarian actors. As a key initiative of this phase an online learning platform has been built to provide accessible training materials and opportunities leading to earning certificates at participant’s own pace. The online learning platform ensures critical IM skills are accessible to participants who cannot attend the training sessions in-person.

Additionally, HIST is prioritizing localization of IM by offering services to national NGOs and government offices. This strengthens local capacity and ensures information management systems are sustainable in the long term. By including these often-overlooked actors, iMMAP Inc. creates a more comprehensive and collaborative information network for the Ethiopian humanitarian community.  

Empowered with timely and accurate data, humanitarian organizations can now make informed decisions, allocate resources efficiently, and ultimately deliver life-saving assistance to those who need it most. As HIST embarks on its second phase, its commitment to innovation and inclusion promises to further strengthen the humanitarian landscape in Ethiopia, equipping local communities with the tools and knowledge they need to build resilience and emerge stronger from crisis. 

The HIST is a collaborative, standardized, and coordinated approach between iMMAPInc. and  OCHA at both the country and headquarters levels, involving the Assessments, Planning and Monitoring Branch (APMB) and the Information Management Branch (IMB) at OCHA HQ.

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