World Vision is a Christian Humanitarian Organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It works in nearly 100 countries serving all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. It provides emergency assistance to children and families affected by disasters and conflict and also partners with communities for long-term solutions to alleviate poverty and advocate for justice on behalf of the poor. It was founded in 1950 by Robert Pierce as a service organisation to meet the emergency needs of missionaries. In 1975 development work was added to World Vision’s objectives and now currently has +46,000 staff members (2015) worldwide.
What is the Emergency Management System (EMS) Manual?
Emergency Response & Disaster Management is a core component of what World Vision does as an organisation, the division within World Vision that primarily carries out this particular type of work is called the Humanitarian Emergencies Affairs Division (HEAD). Given the urgent nature of this type of work, it is essential that the emergency response staff are adequately equipped in order to effectively respond to emergencies.
We were more than happy to be briefed on this project by our new client, World Vision International directly from their main office in California. We remain eternally grateful to them for having the confidence in us and for giving us a chance to be able to showcase the type of a solution that we can deliver as a company; and more so a company as young as ours.
The EMS is the resource that all emergency response staff arriving in a new emergency situation would typically be directed to, to either learn or refresh their knowledge on the appropriate response. As you may imagine, given the nature of emergency situations, it would be imperative that this EMS is available to the staff in a fast, reliable & convenient manner. Many staff may not have prior knowledge of the EMS so it is also important that it is simply presented and not only in terms of the language used but also in the visual sense.
The EMS itself is a very detailed technical document that is meant to be used by staff possessing differing skill sets that run different aspects of emergency response & disaster management. Prior to our engagement with client, the EMS was encapsulated in a 109-page manual that kept being iterated and revised over a period of time and with its increasing size & complexity, it became increasingly difficult to use for an array of reasons as detailed below;
- The EMS is very detailed and lengthy. The response staff found it rather difficult to quickly find information that is relevant to their job especially during an emergency situation as they had to go through quite a lot of content.
- Easily misplaced/lost
- A physical manual can easily get lost and this can be a really big inconvenience since a lot of time would be wasted either printing or sourcing for a new copy.
- Short shelf life
- It is essential to keep revising the EMS frequently in order for it to reflect the constantly evolving nature of World Vision’s Disaster Management & Emergency Response work. As a result, the printed manuals usually become obsolete as newer, more current versions are printed out. It can be quite challenging for a staff member to ascertain whether the copy they possess is the most current version, especially if they are new to the organisation.