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United Nations uses Plone to manage humanitarian crisis

by Nicolas Bossut last modified 2007-03-16 15:10

The United Nations Joint Logistic Center (UNJLC) has adopted Plone for its new portal providing logistic data to humanitarian crisis. Zea Partners was chosen to provide support and services to the UNJLC team.

UNJLCUNJLC is the United Nation inter-agency facility which mission is to co-ordinate and optimizes the logistics capabilities of humanitarian organizations in large-scale emergencies.

UNJLC main channel for information dissemination is the web and direct emails. The website is used as a central repository of logistics data and information from the crisis region providing regular updates from the field operation. This cover humanitarian corridor accessibility and supply chain data, road and railways information, fuel availability, air operation updates and practical information on cargo and passenger procedures, customs details and procedures, contact details and regular logistical Bulletins from the field. Emails and mailing list are used to disseminate brief and information bulletin up to the field level where low bandwidth and hard communication environment did not always allow web browsing.

Recently UNJLC had to front an internal emergency: the website resided on a proprietary CMS and the CMS provider gave up business with only a three month notice. UNJLC had to find, choose and deploy a new portal application in a very short time and quickly made its moves:

  • turn on Open Source Software
  • use Plone, as a leading OSS CMS application
  • engage Zope Europe Association, due to its role in the Plone/Zope Community, and to its attitude, which fits the values of the organization.

The UNJLC choose ZEA for integration, as a network that includes the founders of Plone and a number of  leading experts. Reflab acted as prime contractor of ZEA and was in charge of the customer relationship, project management and supervision of other ZEA partners involved in the project. The team, leveraging Plone and its many add-on products deployed the new site on time with all content migrated, and custom features implemented.

An international team :

    • Reflab (Italy) for development and deployment of the portal;

    • Zettai (UK) for technical hosting;

    • ZEA Partners (formerly Zope Europe Association).

Francesco Ciriaci, managing director of Reflab and project manager said: “Working with UNJLC has been a real pleasure and the team has always had a positive and flexible attitude. It has been a very challenging and interesting project not only because of the migration but mostly because of the short deadlines; once again Plone has proved an excellent platform for rapid delivery and custom solutions”.