As the year comes to a close, we want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the 510 volunteers who helped us throughout 2022 by working tirelessly and passionately.

The work of volunteers is highly valuable since they accelerate the projects in 510 and provide the expertise that 510 sometimes does not have in-house.

The 510 volunteers are also essential 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 2022, more than 50 enthusiastic volunteers were committed to 510. The majority 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!

‘Our team has included volunteers ever since we first started in 2016. You bring a tremendous contribution to our work. Bringing in the ability to innovate, a broad range of talents, and most importantly, a ton of energy and flexibility to scale up our help, as we have done this year to support National Societies in Ukraine and impacted countries. I sincerely appreciate the time and expertise you have given us, and I look forward to working with every one of you once more in 2023!’
– Maarten van der Veen, Strategic Lead at 510

Our volunteers are experts in different areas, covering  Data Science, GIS & Modeling, Human Centered Design, Data Analytics, Translations, SIMS, Software Development, and Data Responsibility.

Data Science
In 510, data science is often the base of tools that can extract meaningful insights from data. For example, the Automated Damage Assessment can scan satellite images before and after a disaster to estimate the number of damaged buildings in a certain region.

Misha Klein, an active volunteer at 510 since November 2019 ‘thoroughly enjoyed working with 510’ this year and helped build a tool to monitor rainfall in Malawi as part of our Anticipatory Action work. The tool uses rainfall forecast data published by the Norway Meteorological Institute and checks if certain cities in Malawi receive unusually heavy rainfall. This is helpful for Malawi RCS to foresee the potential threat of heavy rainfall and plan their support operations early. In addition, Misha has helped build a service map dashboard. This dashboard displays the Digital Transformation support that Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies provide.

‘I’ve learned many useful techniques to share, deploy and collaborate on code, all things I’d otherwise not encounter as much in academia.’ – Misha Klein (Linkedin)

GIS & Modeling
Many projects that 510 works on, involve geographic information systems (GIS) which are 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.

A GIS & Modeling volunteer that worked with 510 this year was Nimisha Verma. Nimisha helped create new maps of people affected in Malawi by tropical storm Ana beginning of this year. Nimisha used the data GPS coordinates of households, campsites, and schools potentially exposed to the extreme heavy rainfall from the tropical storm to create maps for the Malawi Red Cross Society. These maps were used by the Malawi RCS team to quickly assess the number of people exposed and their disaster management operation capacity and distributions.

‘I like that the team is so open to everyone and works on so many different platforms in the humanitarian field.’ – Nimisha Verma (Linkedin)

Human Centered Design
The Human Centered Design team of 510  is comprised of user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and strategic product designers, which help 510 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.

Another volunteer that did amazing work this year was Lakchih Tong, a volunteer since June 2021. Lakchih helped conduct several usability tests of 510 products including the Helpful Information App, the IBF Portal, and the Automated Damage Assessment. Lakchih helped to uncover blockers and find design opportunities, communicating these insights to the stakeholders. To preserve consistency and quality in the team, Lakchih helped to improve the user test protocols and digitized all the user test results in a repository.

‘Volunteering at 510, I gained a lot of valuable experiences and opportunities to improve my skills. But the most important part is that I feel being a part of the team.’ – Lakchih Tong (Linkedin)

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 in a comprehensible way.

Daniël Kersbergen, one of our “veteran” volunteers – he has been supporting the team since 2017 – played an important role in Data Analytics this year. Daniël created a Power BI dashboard showing data collected during the needs assessment in the Caribbean, more specifically on the CAS islands (Aruba, Curacao, St Martin) and the BES islands (Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius). The project started with co-design sessions, as part of 510’s Human Centered Design process. We co-designed with colleagues at the main office in the Hague as well as with those working on the islands. This was done to ensure alignment about both the process and the outcome of the needs assessment. Based on the outcome of these co-design sessions, a first design of the dashboard was made that Daniël used to help with the initial setup of the data pipeline and possible roadblocks around data collection. The dashboard provides an overview of the main needs people on the six islands have (post Covid-19) in relation to basic life necessities such as access to food, water, and healthcare.

‘Volunteering gives me the opportunity to stay connected to the humanitarian sector and my field of study besides my day job. I like that I can use my knowledge and experience to help on projects far and near.’ – Daniël Kersbergen (Linkedin)

The 510 team often collaborates with national societies within the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, which means that, next to English, 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.

Ludivine Querré, who has been volunteering since July 2021, helped translate the 121 Person Affected App to French so it can be used in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The app allows for easy registration from any location at any time. In addition, Ludivine translated several surveys and interview guides from English to French as part of a project involving the Digital Transformation Quickscan, which is a framework used to measure the digital maturity of Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies.

‘What I like most about volunteering at 510 is that I have the opportunity to support and be part of incredible projects that impact on people’s lives and I’m proud to be a part of it’ – Ludivine Querré (Linkedin)

Software development
From dashboards showing the risk of a country to a hazard, to building websites like the Helpful Information App, software development is implemented in many of 510’s digital tools.

Soroush Rasti, one of our software development volunteers who is part of the team since September 2020 ‘absolutely enjoyed working with the 510 team’ this year. Soroush helped build an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) website focusing on Digital Transformation. The website was launched this year and can be viewed here.

‘I enjoy the volunteer work a lot since I can directly see its valuable and positive effects on people and societies. Through the challenge that I am facing at 510, I could discover my hidden talent, achieve new personal goals and try something different.’- Soroush Rasti (Linkedin)

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 and advises the team on how to make build data protection measures into the products. This helps 510 to work with data with respect to ethical standards and take measures to avoid putting individuals or communities at risk.

Marta Castro Diez started volunteering in December 2021 with the Data Responsibility team and has contributed to the development of a new data-sharing agreement template that can be used by 510 and its partners when sharing non-personal and personal data. Marta is currently working on the development of a Data Protection Impact Assessment template to be used by 510 and potentially by other national societies within the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.

‘I find it very rewarding to use my professional skills to contribute to 510’s purpose. At the same time, I am learning from this experience, in particular, from the colleagues I work with.’ – Marta Castro Diez (Linkedin)

Do you also want to help? Find a vacancy here that fits you and apply!

An incredibly big shout-out to all of our volunteers! We hope to see many of you again in the new year. Happy holidays and best wishes for 2023!