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Case study

Allocating resources and refuge for displaced populations with Unicef.

Through one of the Data Lab’s Learning Journeys to New York in December 2016, they facilitated collaboration between UNICEF and Brainnwave to use Data for social good.

A partnership between UNICEF and Brainnwave was established following participation at a Data Lab event and Scottish Development International funded trade trip to New York City, where UNICEF’s Data, Research and Policy Planning Specialists are based.

Brainnwave have been able to support UNICEF’s activities by providing access to data and imagery.

“Brainnwave has been instrumental in helping UNICEF understand how people move.”
Natalia Adler | Data, Research and Policy Planning Specialist - UNICEF

Brainnwave has been instrumental in helping UNICEF understand how people move so we can coordinate relief assistance in a much better, more targeted way and can assist the population where the need is greatest.

- Natalia Adler | Data, Research and Policy Planning Specialist - UNICEF

What did we do?

There are currently an estimated 1.1 million internally displaced people (IDP) in Somalia with an additional 350,000 Somalis living in the Dadaab camp. The Kenyan government is attempting to close the Dadaab camp so UNICEF are tracking IDP movement using real time satellite imagery to improve its ability to predict population movement and help coordinate its support activities more efficiently to areas in greatest need.

Brainnwave are proud to support UNICEF in their efforts by providing access to satellite imagery for UNICEF’s team of data scientists to analyse. We brokered the deal to access satellite data from Airbus using their Pléiades satellite constellation.

There is a great synergy between Brainnwave and UNICEF, as they are looking to expand their network of companies providing data and we have a platform that enables companies to upload and sell their data. On this occasion, the data was donated and the Brainnwave platform enables this to happen.

Natalia Adler, Data, Research and Policy Planning Specialist at UNICEF was keen to form a collaborative with Brainnwave to assist in their relief efforts. UNICEF identified satellite imagery as being key to better understanding the situation in Dadaab, which in turn led to Ms Adler contacting Brainnwave.

“If we can understand how people move we can coordinate relief assistance in a much better, more targeted way so we can assist the population where the need is greatest,” said Ms Adler.

“Approximately 60% of internally displaced people in Somalia are children”, said Ms Adler. When the Kenyan Government threatened to to close the Dadaab camp last year, the biggest in the world, the need arose to get a better understanding of their movements.

UNICEF are embracing data science to focus on other areas of concern, including the Syrian and Jordanian border, where approximately 70,000 refugees are caught in a “no-man’s land”. The use of satellite data makes it easier to understand population movement in an area that is very hard to monitor on the ground.

Ms Adler also said “There is no single answer to these complex problems, so we have to tackle them in a different way. It is collective problem-solving and, here, using data science to decode the complexity”.

Brainnwave is committed to continued support for UNICEF and working with other charities and good causes to help them overcome challenges they may face.

It’s wonderful that Scotland has a focus on bringing commercial companies together through innovation centres such as the Data Lab.

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Brainnwave has been instrumental in helping UNICEF understand how people move so we can coordinate relief assistance in a much better, more targeted way and can assist the population where the need is greatest.

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