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Supporting the response to Tanzania earthquake
Saturday, 17 September 2016 19:33

At the request of the United Nations, a MapAction volunteer has deployed to Tanzania to support the response to an earthquake which struck the border area between Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda on 10 September.

According to early information, at least 13 people have been reported dead and more than 200 hospitalised with injuries resulting from the quake. Assessments are still underway, however it is thought that hundreds of buildings have been destroyed and many more identified as damaged and unsafe.

It is anticipated that our volunteer will help compile analysis of priority needs from Bukoba town near the earthquake’s epicentre.

Responding to seismic activity in Cape Verde
Monday, 08 August 2016 10:57

MapAction has sent a volunteer mapping professional to Cape Verde to support the United Nations following seismic activity and the risk that this may stimulate a volcanic eruption.

Between 1-2 August abnormal seismic activity was recorded on the island of Brava, the most southern island of Cape Verde. Scientist and experts are monitoring the situation and have advised that the authorities should be prepared for a possible volcanic eruption. Contingency plans are being drawn up for an evacuation of the island’s 6,000 inhabitants if required.

The Government of Cape Verde has asked partners to be prepared to provide humanitarian and logistical support for affected communities. MapAction’s volunteer will be working in partnership with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team to provide up-to-date situational analysis to support decision-making.

This is MapAction’s first deployment to Cape Verde, however our team provided remote mapping support for volcanic activity on the neighbouring island of Fogo in 2014.

Photo: Alexis Gouin

Recruiting for a Head of Logistics

MapAction is seeking to recruit the position of Head of Logistics.

Job Purpose: To work with the MapAction team (staff team and volunteers) to provide logistics and operational capacity to the activities the organisation delivers.

Hours: 22.5 hours a week on a flexible basis

Due to the nature of this position (in emergency response) hours may be required out of normal working hours (i.e. on evenings and weekends) and as such MapAction offers a flexible working arrangement to compensate. It is likely that additional time will be spent in busier periods and less in quieter periods etc.

Location: MapAction Offices, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom

Salary: £33,946.85 - £36,004.24 FTE

Contract: Permanent, 3 months probationary period

Responsible to: Operations Director

About MapAction

MapAction ( is a leading humanitarian mapping charity. It deploys skilled volunteers to international humanitarian emergencies to map priority needs at short notice. This mapped information helps responders target their response effectively, contributing to the effort to save lives and minimising suffering.

MapAction is a team of 75 volunteers, GIS, IT and software professionals and 12 part and full time paid personnel working in operations, technical delivery, finance, fundraising and administration.

MapAction has built a strong reputation in the humanitarian sector and is a technical partner of the United Nations. The charity has attracted funding from UK Government (DFID), EU, Dutch Government and other major donors.

Prince Harry has been the charity’s patron since 2007.

Scope of Work:

The logistics function is essential to the MapAction capability.

Through this role it is expected that the equipment and supplies required to deliver MapAction’s strategy will be maintained in a state of readiness, including ensuring associated internal records; necessary for accountability and donor compliance, are maintained.

Key Responsibilities:

Leadership of the logistics function

To provide leadership on all aspects of logistics and operational programme delivery, it is also expected the Head of Logistics will be able to help the organisation to:

  • Improve the quality and timeliness of projects
  • Plan and manage programme resources and assets efficiently and effectively, ensuring that programmes meet their commitments and are accountable to the organisation, partners and donors.
  • Minimise operational running costs through the effective use and allocation of resources

Supply Chain Management

Equipment Management

  • Maintenance of equipment and supplies for readiness, for response; 
  • Maintain all sets of mission supplies in accordance with agreed lists ready for immediate deployment
  • Ready equipment for team training, courses, exercises and other non-operational tasks as required
  • Maintenance of the asset register, according to donor compliance regulations and equipment management practices
  • Maintenance of the inventory, with reference to and ensuring donor compliance
  • Maintenance of stores according to building regulations and fire safety standards
  • Manage the annual check of stocks held as set out in SAPs


  • Work with the technical and operations teams to procure equipment and supplies in line with organisational and donor compliance.
  • Ensure the replacement and/or rotation of consumable stocks as appropriate, paying special attention to those items with limited life spans

Movement of Equipment for responses

  • Establishing with the volunteer team and Operations Director how to deliver training supplies to team members including arranging couriers, postage, or delivery (by vehicle on occasion; for instance driving kit to teams where appropriate. This responsibility will be shared by the Head of Logistics and Operations Director)

Budgetary Responsibility & Financial Inputs

  • Manage the logistics budget according to organisational SAPs
  • Maintain robust accounting systems in liaison with the finance manager, including provision of deployment costs after each deployment.


  • Attend one to two training events per year (or more if possible) to meet volunteer teams
  • Support understanding of logistics function through the orientation of new team members during recruitment and induction, and training on the conversion course, annual simulation exercises and some weekend courses to support understanding of and implementation of appropriate management of equipment whilst deployed.

Personal Specification


  • 5 years proven logistics experience, in an operational setting
  • Flexibility and a singular focus on “getting the job done”
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Ability to work with technical and operations teams
  • Strong commitment to MapAction’s mission and values
  • Clean driving licence and car that can be used for work purposes (running kit and people about during emergency periods)


  • Experience of safety and security management
  • Experience of the humanitarian sector

Additional Information

  • This role is part time at 22.5 hours per week, with a likelihood to require working outside of normal office hours, however flexibility shown in return to balance the commitment.
  • Must have the right to live and work in the UK (MapAction is unable to consider candidates who do not already hold appropriate permissions)
  • The job holder will be required to work from the MapAction offices
  • Flexibility and willingness to work outside office hours including evening and weekends, attending 2 monthly weekend training events held at various locations around the country.
  • Note: this is a highly operational role in a small, highly specialised charity and an appreciation of, and affinity with, the humanitarian purpose of the charity is essential.
  • Must have a full, clean driving licence

Equal Opportunities Policy

MapAction is an Equal Opportunities employer. All employees have a personal responsibility to promote and support measures designed to create a working environment which is free from harassment or discrimination on the grounds of gender, marital status, family status, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, membership of the Travellers community or HIV&AIDS status.

How to apply

Please send a CV and covering letter to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Applications by 31 August 2016. Please note this position is an urgent recruitment, we may therefore recruit and appoint before the final date.

Initial interviews are planned for a day between 5-9 September 2016. Please indicate in your application your availability on these days.

If you would like to discuss the role prior to applying then please contact Emma Mumford, Operations Director on 01494 56 88 99

Humanitarian Mapping Course

Mapping skills and knowledge for Humanitarian and Development workers

From: Tuesday 1 November 2016

To: Thursday 3 November 2016

Where: MapAction, Wycombe Road, Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4BF, United Kingdom

About the course

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and related tools are crucial tools in disaster preparedness and response in affected countries. However, humanitarian and development organisations need simple, low cost methods to collect and map information about needs and assistance programmes.

This three-day course has been developed by the international humanitarian NGO MapAction. It aims to give practical training on tools and methods proven in the field, and suitable for humanitarian or development practitioners who have little or no previous experience of GIS and without the use of expensive tools and software.

What will I learn?

On completing the course, delegates will have the knowledge needed to carry out spatial data collection, spatial analysis and basic mapping. They will also have an understanding of how to find the necessary free/open-source tools and software needed to set up a GIS project. Typical applications include:

  • Field-based navigation and needs assessment
  • Identifying areas in priority need of aid and gaps in delivery
  • Planning and monitoring programmes
  • Support to logistics
  • Identifying hazards and security risks 
  • Reporting, communication and advocacy

Outline syllabus

The course will cover the following topics:
  • Mapping and information management for humanitarian work
  • Creating base maps using open-source mapping and QGIS software and online data sources
  • Creating thematic maps showing humanitarian situations
  • Undertaking a field data collection survey
  • Sharing information through a web map

The principal instructors will be GIS practitioners with MapAction field experience in humanitarian emergencies. All course materials and software will be provided. Computers and GPS units can be loaned if needed but you are encouraged to bring your own laptops on which open-source software can be installed. During the course you will be able to search for data and setup a project around your area of interest so making it easier to apply what you have learned directly to your work.

Practicalities, fees and registration

The course will be held at the MapAction office in Saunderton which is easily reached by train from central London. Accommodation is not included, lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Course fees are shown in the table below (all in pounds sterling).

Band A: Student / Unemployed / Small Charity*


Band B: Self–funding Individuals / Medium Charity**


Band C: Large Charity / Commercial & State Organisations


* Defined by having fewer than 25 employees ** Defined by having fewer than 45 employees

To find out more please contact Jonny Douch (Training Coordinator) at:

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Telephone: +44 (0)1494 56 88 99

To book a place please follow this link and click tickets - Humanitarian Mapping Course 1-3 November 2016

MapAction supports data preparedness in Sri Lanka
Monday, 04 July 2016 12:31

Just weeks before massive floods in Sri Lanka killed more than 80 people and forced around 300,000 to leave their homes, MapAction and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) worked with the Government of Sri Lanka to prepare essential base data for emergency preparedness and response.

MapAction and WFP had undertaken a disaster preparedness mission in early May to establish a robust database of key information that would help the national Disaster Management Centre and humanitarian aid agencies decide how best to provide assistance right from the outset of a disaster.

Sri Lanka is experiencing increasing incidences of extreme climatic events. Communities are regularly being struck by droughts, floods and high winds, with highly detrimental impacts on livelihoods and food security. According to a report by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), floods alone have cost the Sri Lankan economy over USD $700 million in the last ten years. Tropical Cyclone Roanu hit the country 14-20 May, bringing as much as 300mm rainfall over three consecutive days, which led to widespread flooding and landslides.

Maps are a critical component of any humanitarian response, in order to determine which communities are affected and how best to assist them. Having high quality data in advance of an event can make a vital difference to the effectiveness of a response when disaster strikes.

MapAction volunteer, Tom Hughes, explains: “In those crucial first days post-disaster, it’s vital to have good quality data on the country’s topography, administrative areas, transport networks, as well as up-to-date statistics on population, health, education and economic status. All these factors influence how a response is planned and how resources are allocated.

MapAction’s collaboration with WFP has put in place a robust database which can be regularly updated and used right from the outset of an emergency response. This means that those precious hours post-disaster can be dedicated to saving lives and minimising suffering, which is the ultimate aim of MapAction’s humanitarian mapping service.”

MapAction and WFP, working with local authorities, have together created a database of relevant information which is "ready-for-use" in an emergency. The information gathered will be accessible to government and all humanitarian responders and regularly updated and improved in order to maintain the accuracy of the data.

Amy Chong, Regional GIS Coordinator for WFP’s Food Security Analysis team for Asia and the Pacific, explains:

“WFP plays a key role in the coordination of delivery of emergency food assistance in Sri Lanka and across the globe. If we have data to hand to understand the profile of the people affected by a disaster, we can spring into action more quickly. That’s data preparedness. The database we’ve set up with MapAction will help us and fellow responders determine what kind of assistance people in each area might need, be it food or other items. It’s all about thinking ahead. The population figures have even been projected as far forward as the next planned census in 2022, giving us a solid basis from which to plan and programme responses well into the future.”

This project was the first collaboration between MapAction and WFP as part of a broader partnership to strengthen humanitarian responses in South East Asia. The database developed in Sri Lanka will serve as a template for further joint initiatives planned for Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Pacific Island communities in the coming year.

Rapid response for Ecuador earthquake
Monday, 18 April 2016 09:03

Two MapAction volunteers have deployed to Ecuador this morning in response to Saturday’s major earthquake. MapAction’s support was requested by the United Nations, following a call for international assistance from the Ecuadorian government on Sunday.

It is anticipated that the team’s initial focus will be to help coordinate search and rescue efforts in the hope of finding more survivors. MapAction’s highly-trained volunteers will also map the needs of survivors, so that responders can target their aid accordingly.

MapAction's Operations Director, Emma Mumford, commented:

"Ecuador is a country prone to earthquakes, so the government has strong procedures in place to be able to respond. Nevertheless the scale of this particular shock - the strongest since 1979 - has caused considerable loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure across an extensive area.

MapAction has sent one of its most experienced volunteers, who has previously undertaken 13 other emergency missions, including to last year's Nepal earthquakes. Our team trains year-round to be able to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies such as this, so I'm sure our contributions, once again, will prove invaluable in helping to save lives and getting aid to where it is needed most."

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