Charity organization World Vision International operates in more than 50 countries around the world, providing support for a multitude of humanitarian efforts ranging from combating disease and malnutrition to addressing refugee crises and improving access to education. With efforts in a diverse range of countries and geographies, the nonprofit relies on satellite communications to facilitate programs in hard to reach areas. World Vision also uses portable satellite phones and Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) modems for voice and data communication.
The nonprofit uses GPS for tasks such as mapping and monitoring water points, and in the past has used satellite-based tracking devices to track vehicles in some of its field offices. Citing a more recent situation where World Vision deployed satellite communications, Anthony Kimani, IT and business analyst, points to Africa.
“We have operations in South Sudan, where infrastructure is lacking in many locations. As a humanitarian organization, we needed to set up an office to provide assistance to people displaced by the fighting there. To ensure that our staff were able to communicate, we used a VSAT, and provided our staff with satellite phones,” he said.
Humanitarian groups that rely on satellite often have specific needs. Often called into emergency response or disaster situations — natural or man-made — they are more reliant on rapidly deployable equipment with immediate access to capacity. Because of the high cost of satellite communications, many operators and equipment vendors often provide resources to NGOs more so out of generosity than financial gain.