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Evolving the “FAO in emergency” website

Since the publication of the new FAO in emergency website, we tried to understand what people want to know about Emergency and how to show it in the best way.

As a result of this enquiry, we just launched the first big evolution of the site, most of which is visible in the home page:

new stuff of the website

The main changes are:

  1. The all new Project Highlights & Contributions section.
  2. The possibility to find all the content about a Country/Region/Crisis immediately in the Country/Region/Crisis page: check the Lesotho page or the Madagascar locust crisis page, for examples.
  3. The addition of new tools in the homepage:
    • A “Multimedia” box which shows the latest 3 videos/photo-galleries uploaded, and
    • The “Latest Documents” box which shows the latest 5 documents uploaded.

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It is out!

It took long but now it is out! The new FAO in emergencies website has been published and is available at

FAO in emergencies

I think this is a very good step ahead: complete reorganization, much more content, much more usability, social features and a new approach in the content creation with the site ready to host every new content produced in the “field”.

Have a look at all the main changes we made.

More is in preparation and you will see before summer.

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Next objective is…

Long long time, no see!

It has been long time ago I wrote my last post and now I hope to be back, able to write more about what I’m actually doing as manager of the online communication of FAO in emergencies.

The next big objective is the launch of the new website which is scheduled early next October. The Team has been working hardly on it both on the technical and the content side. Changes do not involve only technical aspects but mainly the way the Division is communicating about its activities, getting people from the field more and more involved in it.

We are working on three main directions:

  • present a RESTYLED website,
  • increase the VISIBILITY, and
  • propose more CONTENT from the field

Interaction and dynamism will be key to get the users involved and interested in the content. Images will help posts in giving a clear description of what FAO is doing in the management of emergency situations all over the world. Contributions from the officers in the field will highlight the engagement of the organization in emergency and devolopment activities.

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Emergency in Madagascar – full coverage on twitter

Madagascar is living a very delicate period but unfortunately the press is not covering the events almost at all. Italian newspapers do not even write about it, spanish neither and while the french Le Monde has few lines. BBC is reporting with few articles but a continuous reporting can be done via twitter. Here some of the main twits that are updating on what’s going on in this wonderful island:


You can also follow the events on Global Voices on Madagascar even if these days there are not so many postings on malagasy blogs or on the FOKO platform setup by Ushahidi to monitor the situation on the island.foko1

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Visit to the CMC-AH of FAO

cmcLast Tuesday, the bluebar group had an interesting visit to the CMC-AH of FAO. The Crisis Management Centre – Animal Health (CMC-AH) is FAO’s rapid response mechanism for transboundary animal disease emergencies. The Centre works in strict collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO).

The Crisis Management Centre opened in 2006 to face Animal Health diseases: firstly the Avian Influenza emergency and later on other problems like African swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease, Rift Valley fever and other transboundary animal diseases.

I found very interesting the possibility for the CMC-AH to set up a rapid deployment team within 72 hours of an official request of intervention. In the attempt to “help governments develop and implement immediate solutions to prevent or stop disease spread”, the team can be asked to provide technical assistance, among other tasks, also on the outbreak communication.

The Team is deployed to support local officers to study and implement a strategy and not to do it in their place. The difference is substantial in terms of knowledge sharing.  Training someone about doing a job and passing the knowledge and the experience seems to me much better (and even more difficult) than to do it for him/her and then leave. The close collaboration of the Centre with the other leading organizations, OIE and WHO, and internally with other departments involved in these emergencies, it is also very

After missions, the Teams adopt different methods like After Action Reviews (AAR) to manage the knowledge acquired during the experience, not to loose it but to collect it some ways.

This visit is part of a series of visit (the previous was to the radio and video studio facility) that the communicators of the bluebar group are doing inside FAO to learn more about the different Services and teams that are working everyday for the Organization.