The Value in Sharing Information

Value in Sharing Information

Information can be a valuable commodity. This fact is true on a small or large scale, too. For example, if I am hungry and I want to know the dining hall hours, this is information that is truly valuable to me. If I am getting dressed in the morning and do not want to get wet, I might check the weather to find out what the likelihood of rain is going to be. In the same way, countries can keep each other informed of critical things like disease outbreaks or the results of an election.

I have seen disaster footage where the people who need help are afraid or unable to move out of the affected area, but the people who are willing to help can’t get IN for whatever reason. With no information travelling between the two teams, the relief workers sit idle and unsure of what the victims need while the suffering are in misery, wondering when aid is going to arrive. It is important to establish a network to keep information flowing in and out of an area like that. Whether it be something as simple as someone running to alert others after a building collapse, or the use of wide-reaching technology to disseminate information, as in the aftermath of the Paris shootings when people used social media like Twitter to alert others of safe havens. The ability to get the word out quickly may save lives.

But what happens to those who do not have access to that information? How do they know where a safe place to hide is or if dangerous weather is headed directly for them? Sadly, right now, the answer is that many people will miss out on that valuable information and may suffer greatly because of it.  This is a huge injustice.

Personally, I feel that people with access to this type of information have an obligation to pass it on, especially if it could be life-saving. However, this is an idealist vision. The people with the information still need the ability to reach those in need. If those of us with the knowledge of an event are equipped with mobile phones, but all a remote village has are radios, we will not do them any good.  If I hand out disease prevention pamphlets in a village where most people cannot read, again, I am not truly helping.

I am learning in my studies that a broader network is ideal—that people will need more than one source for their information so that if any one thing goes wrong, they are still able to receive critical information in a timely way. A mobile network and long-range radio antennae can help reach people in more than one way and will provide a backup if one or the other is disabled for some reason. It might be an incredible challenge when I go back home to establish even one network for information to reach all the areas of Bangladesh that are currently “in the dark.” But it will definitely be worth trying, and the more I learn now, the better equipped I will be to rise to the occasion when I return.