Aidex Voices

This newly developed app is a one-of-a-kind tool that enables humanitarian workers to carry all the information they need to order products that enable them to carry out their work in their pocket whilst in the field. 

The Oxfam Equipment Catalogue offers a straightforward means of ordering technical equipment which come with user manuals and videos to guide users on how to use the products.

Humanitarians often work in remote areas and have low internet connectivity. Oxfam recognised the use of smartphones as many people’s primary means of internet access and wanted to create a service that could run offline once it was installed. In doing so, a mobile app seemed like the solution.

Oxfam discovered that despite the website having the most up-to-date and comprehensive information, many of their staff were still carrying the old paper catalogue in the field to use as a reference point. The app replaces this, offering a quick and accessible point of access for necessary humanitarian stocks to be ordered.

Head of Humanitarian Supply Operations at Oxfam, Ed Blagden who led on the development of the app, says he is yet to come across any other humanitarian-specific catalogue apps. Blagden believes apps are becoming significant to the humanitarian sector. He says that whilst the Oxfam equipment catalogue is aimed specifically at aid workers, applications aimed at people in the regions agencies work in are increasing.

“The smartphone is becoming near ubiquitous, unlike the PC or laptop, so apps are the way to go.

“An emergency environment where lives are at risk is no place to try our 'cool new things'.  However, we believe that in the case of our app it is simply replacing something they have been using for decades with something which does the same thing but is better, cheaper and faster.”

This blog is part of the 5 must-have apps series for World Humanitarian Day. Read more here.