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In new milestone, 200 NGOs use Factal for free to protect staff and direct emergency resources

Three years after announcing free access for NGOs, more than 200 humanitarian aid, disaster response and human rights organizations have joined Factal as active members. With teams in nearly every country in the world, NGOs rely on Factal’s breaking news platform to help expedite aid, route disaster response teams and keep their staff safe.

Along with the new milestone, Factal has partnered with the Global Interagency Security Forum. GISF provides training, research and digital resources to help NGOs protect their staff in increasingly dangerous situations. Last year 140 aid workers were attacked and killed – the most lethal year since 2013.

“At GISF our members rely on trust and reliable resources,” says Tara Arthur, Sr. Projects and Membership Officer at GISF. “Our relationship with Factal gives our members access to real time verified alerts and an opportunity to engage directly with the editors on duty as real time events unfold.”

From the largest international organizations to local Red Cross teams, NGOs put Factal to work for security, planning, field operations and communications. While many use Factal.com, others integrate Factal with geospatial platforms like Esri’s ArcGIS. Field staff rely on the Factal app, which is opened in more than 100 countries every month.

“Factal is a force multiplier. It makes us have a presence in every country where we operate, and then some,” said Amaury Cooper, Director of Global Security, Global Communities. “Factal’s really simplified our life in terms of keeping track of what’s happening on the ground.”

From conflict to climate change, there’s a lot happening. Powered by a hybrid of AI and experienced journalists, Factal detects and verifies a wide range of critical events spanning dozens of languages. From tropical cyclones and wildfires to civil unrest and geopolitical shifts, Factal covers hundreds of events every day.

“I work with numerous NGOs and non-profit organizations working in high-risk locations around the world,” said Brian von Kraus, CEO & Founder, FireWatch Solutions. “Factal has proven to be a critical component to every crisis management team’s emergency response procedures by providing decision makers timely and accurate information.”

From the pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the spread of misinformation and disinformation has complicated crisis response and humanitarian efforts. Factal combines the speed of social media with the accuracy of editorial verification to identify key details of breaking news events. The most critical detail is often location.

“Factal gives us location-specific data, which we can then correlate with our own data points and geospatial applications so we can see if it’s going to impact our projects or not,” Cooper said.

“It’s is really useful for things relating to natural disasters, and as we learned for the effort in Ukraine, keeping up with the real-time threat,” said Jessica Hulsey, a Team Rubicon Greyshirt who served as part of the situation unit in Ukraine. “Whether it was monitoring air raid sirens and where they were going off or tracking actual strikes and where injuries and deaths were getting reported.”

To date, Factal has published more than 18,000 verified, geolocated updates from the Ukraine-Russia conflict. (Several days of updates shown on the left.)

Some more examples of the great work Factal’s NGO members are doing include Direct Relief sending a half-million N95 masks to Australia during the wildfire season of 2019-20; Mercy Corp using their expansive knowledge of pandemics to limit the impacts of Covid-19 around the globe; and World Central Kitchen helping refugees from the war in Ukraine get enough to eat.

“Factal is a vital source of timely and accurate information about emerging and breaking disaster news,” said Erich Broksas, COO of World Central Kitchen. This year WSK teams have responded to Ukraine, Florida, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Guatemala. “Oftentimes the first time we are learning about a situation is from Factal,” he said.

“Factal’s choice to support NGOs with free memberships has undoubtedly contributed to the safety and welfare of thousands of staff working across the globe supporting communities in need,” von Kraus said.

(Top photo from World Central Kitchen delivering food in Irpin, Ukraine. Second photo from Team Rubicon’s team in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian).

Factal is free for qualified NGOs

Factal’s public service mission is to protect people from imminent harm and help those in immediate need. We provide free access to more than 200 humanitarian aid, disaster relief and human rights NGOs.

NGOs interested in Factal should visit here to apply for unlimited free access. Corporations interested in learning how Factal’s paid product can supplement their security and resilience teams can learn more on Factal.com and request a free 30-day trial.