As we are coming close to the end of the year, we want to take the opportunity to thank all the 510 volunteers that supported us with their hard work and dedication throughout 2021.
The work of volunteers is incredibly valuable because they accelerate the projects in 510 and provide the expertise that 510 sometimes does not have in-house.
Volunteers of 510 are also crucial during emergency assistance by the Netherlands Red Cross after a big disaster: they can step in and provide remote support to the first line of response in the field! In 2021, more than 70 enthusiastic volunteers were committed to 510. Most of the 510 volunteers have a job between 32-40 hours and some of them are still students. They volunteer on their free day, weekends, or evenings. The contribution of their time and skills this year is massively appreciated by the whole team!
‘Volunteers have been part of our team since the very beginning in 2016. You are an amazing contribution to our work. Bringing in innovation capacity, a diverse set of skills and above all, a lot of energy and flexibility to scale up our support, as we have done a number of times during the Hurricane on St. Maarten (2017), and the Covid response in the Netherlands (2020). I want to warmly thank you for all the time and skills you have given us, and I’m looking forward to working again with all of you in 2022!’
– Maarten van der Veen, Strategic Lead at 510
Our volunteers have a broad skill range and their work can be categorized into Data Science, GIS & Modeling, Human Centered Design, Data Analytics, Translations, SIMS, Software Development, and Data Responsibility.
- Data Science
By using data science, the 510 team builds tools that extract meaningful insights from data. For example, automated damage assessment can scan satellite images after a disaster to estimate the amount of damage in a region.
One of the data science volunteers that helped this year was Fabrizia Canfora. She wrote a programming script, to which she added an easy-to-use interface in English and French, called Whatsapp Scraper. The program automatically downloads text, images, and videos from WhatsApp chats, which saves the users a significant amount of time. It was used by the Red Cross Society of Côte d’Ivoire to create fast reports of the work done regarding the COVID-19 response. The Whatsapp Scraper is open source, which means anyone can use it!
‘The friendly work environment while doing something truly useful made this a great experience’- Fabrizia Canfora
- GIS & Modeling
Many projects that 510 works on, involve geographic information systems (GIS) which is used to visualize data in a geographical context. For example, our GIS experts can map the extent to which a river will overflow in case of a flood.
Beatriz Escholz, who started volunteering in February 2021 said that she ‘learned new tools and had the opportunity to get involved in wonderful projects”. She supported with stakeholder mapping in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to accelerate the development of a database to identify entry points for easy access and sharing of data.
‘Volunteering at 510 brought me in touch with people from many origins and countries’ – Beatriz Enscholz
- Human Centered Design
The Human Centered Design team of 510 uses the expertise of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers to create products and services that centralize the needs of the end-user. This makes it easier for people to use and interact with our products and services.
Nynke Bootsma started volunteering in June 2021 with the Human Centered Design team and helped with the IT implementation of the Helpful Information App (HIA), a tool that was developed in collaboration with the National Department of the Netherlands Red Cross. HIA provides legal, medical, and other information to undocumented migrants in the Netherlands. Nynke contributed to the project by creating a template that standardizes procedures on agreements concerning product quality and maintenance, which ultimately ensures a high quality of the product.
‘I was able to use my skills while feeling valued and a part of the team’ – Nynke Bootsma
- Data Analytics
Data analytics is used in 510 to examine data and draw conclusions from that information, often by creating interactive dashboards that visualize data and in a comprehensible way.
Tushaar Sharma was one of our Data Analytics volunteers this year and he worked on the Helpful Information App. He contributed by creating clearer reports and he was able to extract detailed geographical information in regards to the offered services on HIA.
‘You have an opportunity to work on projects which could have a positive impact on a large scale’ – Tushaar Sharma
The 510 team often collaborates with national societies within the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, which means that we often need to use Arabic, Spanish, or French in our products and services. Dedicated volunteers that are fluent in those languages help us realize this.
One of our translation volunteers this year was Bushra Alhamdan. She helped by translating presentations, documents, and surveys from Arabic into English and vice versa. This made it possible for our content to reach a wider audience across the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In June this year, she helped during a workshop of the Solferino Academy innovation program by translating in real-time, from English into Arabic. She has been supporting 510 since August 2019.
‘What motivates me to be a volunteer is that I already worked in the humanitarian field in Syria and I know how important it is to help people and the difference it can make.’ – Bushra Alhamdan
- Surge Information Management Support (SIMS)
SIMS is a global network of Red Cross and Red Crescent (volunteer) specialists who can jump into action to remotely support field operations after a disaster. The SIMS volunteers are trained to make maps, create surveys, analyze data and build dashboards.
Rupsa Chakraborti joined us in April this year and worked on multiple GIS projects as well as on SIMS by updating survey forms for data collection by the relief team that was on-site after the earthquake in Haiti last summer.
‘The best thing about being a volunteer is the ability to be available to help during an emergency or a crisis through remote work. That feeling of being in the first line of emergency response and helping out gives me a different level of satisfaction.’ – Rupsa Chakraborti
- Software development
From dashboards showing the risk of country districts to a hazard to the Helpful Information App, software development is implemented in many of 510’s digital tools.
One of the software development volunteers that contributed to 510’s work this year was Blerina Gkotse. She improved data metrics and monitoring, as well as website features for the 121 platform, a cash-based aid program. This helps the team understand the user audience better, and to advance the program to become more user-friendly.
‘I was always curious and wanted to use my skills and competencies for making an impact on the life of other people. All the teams that I collaborated with were very friendly, encouraging, and helpful with any questions I had. ’ – Blerina Gkotse
- Data Responsibility
Some of the tools that 510 develops involve the collection of information about individuals and communities, to provide effective and personalized humanitarian aid. Our data responsibility team works on the continuous updating of the data responsibility policy. This helps the 510 to work with data with respect to ethical standards and take measures to avoid putting individuals or communities at risk.
Cakil Civelek helped us this year by contributing to the Data & Digital Responsibility Policy, which aims at improving the responsible use of personal and non-personal data within a humanitarian context. She is also involved in the development of strategies to establish a community of practice on data and digital responsibility within the 510 data team.’
‘Seeing other volunteers allotting their time and effort to an assignment with a genuine interest, feeling productive and learning from the feedback I receive on my work are the motivations that keep me volunteering with 510.’ – Cakil Civelek
Do you also want to help? Find a vacancy here that fits you and apply!
We hope to see many of you again in the new year! Happy holidays and a sparkling 2022!
An incredibly big shout out to all of our volunteers!
See the complete list of the volunteers in 2021 below.
Alberto Bracci (Linkedin)
Davide Francesco Lodato
Huibert het Lam
Karla Pena Ramirez
Minh Ngo (Linkedin)
Rosanna van Hespen
Simon Riezebos (Linkedin)
Timo van Dooremaal
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Modeling
Beatriz Eschholz (Linkedin)
Bram Hartveld (Linkedin)
Lieven Spits (Linkedin)
Koos Krijnders (Linkedin)
Nimisha Verma (Linkedin)
Raymond NijssenRies Visser
Rupsa Chakraborti (Linkedin)
Design User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)
Lakchih Tong (Linkedin)
Ludivine Querré (Linkedin)
Milan Banach Nagy
Miriam Ayala Cruz
Mirjam van den Boogert
Tal Rosenthal (Linkedin)
Brian Kiprono Masinde
Daniele Castellana (Linkedin)
Marije Jochemsen (Linkedin)
Stefan Verwijmeren (Linkedin)
Teklehaimanot Mekonen Kidane (Linkedin)
Bassel Al Khatib
Blerina Gkotse (Linkedin)
Halil Ibrahim Kaya