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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Tulane Alumnus Earns Innovation Award for Work in Cambodia

Dr. Jonathan Rivers, an alumnus of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine who is working with the U.N. World Food Programme, received an innovation award for his work in the Cambodia Country Office.


[Photo: Ms. Ertharin Cousin, left, executive director of World Food Programme, presents an Innovation Challenge Award to
SPHTM alumnus Jonathan Rivers, center, and Mr. Kimheang Cheng of the Cambodia Country Office at an awards ceremony in Rome. Photo courtesy of the WFP]

Along with colleagues in Malawi, Pakistan and Uganda, Dr. Rivers was recognized for success in introducing new ways of working that are improving the WFP’s operations around the world.

The Cambodia Country Office team developed a system that combines different sources of real-time data via mobile phone. It supports decision-making by providing a real-time overview of logistical, program and monitoring/evaluation information.

The data is displayed on an interactive map based on Google Maps, as field monitors collect their information with their mobile phones. Program managers receive alerts by text message or emails if indicators exceed a certain level.

“[This] allows them to act quickly to resolve the issue,” said Ms. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of World Food Programme. “The tool has helped to improve WFP Cambodia’s operational response time, define priority needs and track the impact of our work on the ground.”

Dr. Rivers received a PhD in international health from Tulane in 2007, and he lives in Cambodia with his wife, Ms. Natalia Smith Allen, who a received a master’s of public health from Tulane in 2004.

The U.N. World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, the WFP assists some 80 million people in 80 countries.