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Tablets Help Relief Efforts

On a Dec. 16-19 trip, a communications team distributed mobile tools to nongovernmental organizations serving in the area of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda). April Grace G. Mercado, United Methodist Communications special projects manager in the Philippines, was part of the team and reported that 11 NGOs received Nexus tablets and training: SOS Village; International Rescue Committee; Plan International; Oxfam; All Hands Volunteers; Habitat for Humanity; Save the Children; Relief International; United Methodist Committee on Relief; Heifer International; Catholic Relief Services. The tablets were donated by Google to Inveneo, a nonprofit technology company and partner of United Methodist Communications. 

Inveneo also trained the communications team on the wireless link setup and connection at the Save the Children

offices in Estancia, Iloilo, Mercado reported. Along with Mercado, the team included Ernani “Nhots” Celzo and Sam Perales. On Dec. 17, when the team was distributing tablets donated by Google and Inveneo, a representative of the International Rescue Committee declared, “It’s just like Christmas!”

Leonilo Escalada, chief operations officer of Habitat for Humanity, said, “These tools are very useful, particularly on Internet and email access. … Need to test this on the field, but the quick browse would definitely enhance our operation through identification and tagging of our locations through its GPS and map guides. Very powerful tool for (a) humanitarian agency like us. Please extend our thanks to UMCom and Inveneo for giving these gadgets to us.” Marsy Perez, also with Habitat for Humanity, said, “I never thought that we can give communications as relief.”