Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Signpost: Empowering People in Crisis with Digital Information Hubs


The theme for this year’s World Humanitarian Day is “No Matter What,” which acknowledges the humanitarian community’s efforts to provide lifesaving assistance to people in crisis, regardless of the dangers or difficulties involved. This tenacity is both appropriate and necessary this year, as long-standing humanitarian crises in places like Syria and Venezuela continue, while new crises have emerged or worsened in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Niger, and Sudan.
Despite these challenges, there are reasons for hope. People facing unimaginable hardships continue to find ways to survive, recover, and eventually thrive. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) witnesses their courage and resilience every day. The humanitarian community, in partnership with donors and grassroots communities worldwide, is developing new and more effective ways to improve humanity’s situation.
One example of this is Signpost, an IRC-led project that creates digital information hubs to empower clients during crises. Signpost platforms deliver critical information through local teams equipped with advanced digital tools, providing communities with timely and actionable information. This information is essential for people to solve complex problems and make crucial decisions during times of crisis.
Signpost helps people answer important questions such as: Is it safe to leave the country? Am I eligible for a food program to support my family? Where can I find work? Where can I find a hospital that can treat a chronic illness? How do I enroll my children in a new school in a new city? Where can my family find shelter in a place that is safe from violence?
Signpost provides people with up-to-date and accurate information to help them approach these questions. It is currently active in 22 countries across five continents and plans to expand further in the coming months and years.
Partnership has been a key factor in Signpost’s success from the beginning. Cisco’s support enabled the Signpost technology team to innovate and clear years of backlog. In just one year, Signpost developed technologies that significantly increased the program’s reach and impact.
Signpost has developed a low-code data management system called Service Map Rebuild, which allows Service Mapping Officers worldwide to map service locations and help clients access the places they need. This tool can connect to chatbots, geospatial data, and manage real-time incoming information.
Signpost also has a central hub called Universal Analytics Stack, where all Signpost data is securely stored to improve the targeting of humanitarian information and aid in humanitarian advocacy. Additionally, Signpost has developed a quick-deploy and centrally administered web application called New Front End, which has been deployed to over 10 countries. This template can function online and offline and store critical information with a utilitarian approach.
In the past year, with Cisco’s support, Signpost reached 32 million people, served 5.74 million users, and had 131,830 unique two-way communications with clients, nearly doubling its impact numbers from all previous years (2015-2022). This support led to a 188% increase in reach, 187% increase in users, and 393% increase in two-way communications over the previous year’s annual count.
In recognition of Signpost’s success in connecting people in crisis with vital and vetted information, the United Nations recently awarded the project with a prestigious Sustainable Development Goal Action Award. Bold and innovative partnerships like Signpost play a significant role in helping the international community achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development goals and in helping the humanitarian community serve its clients more broadly.
To know more about the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and its partnership with Cisco, click here