Humanitarian workers are operating with little digital protection and too often are unprepared to use technology as a means to mitigate their physical risks. While there are a number of digital tools and technology-based resources for the security of humanitarian workers, collectively, they face a number of problems. Aid agencies need a user-friendly, easily accessible tool that delivers simple answers on how to operate safely in any situation.
The increasing use of ICTs by responding organisations and affected populations has changed how information is communicated and received during crises. It may even be changing how some crises occur and unfold. Yet, despite this transformative impact, there is no accepted definition of what constitutes ‘humanitarian communication’, nor what defines the ‘humanitarian use of ICTs’.
GISF Researcher Raquel Vazquez Llorente writes for the Harvard University Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA). In her post, Raquel explores the increased reliance on local partners to deliver aid in high risk emergencies and the role that international NGOs play in protecting national humanitarian staff.
In this blog, Jes Kaliebe Petersen talks about the mobile technology opportunities in Myanmar to improve the delivery of aid.
With humanitarian aid delivery being carried out by workers on the ground, remote sensing technology can be used to better coordinate efforts and to generally build up a better response to emergencies. It could also provide security risk managers with valuable information that can be used to increase the safety of workers in the delivery of aid.
Effective coordination is the key to the delivery of a successful humanitarian aid response, as it allows different actors working in the same area to share information and harmonise interventions, thus proving better support to people in need and to aid workers in the field.
Working group for emergency telecommunications: GISF presentation at the ICT Humanitarian Innovation Forum
On April 30, GISF Executive Coordinator Lisa Reilly and Researcher Raquel Vazquez Llorente presented the publication Communications Technology and Humanitarian Delivery at the 36th Forum of the Working Group for Emergency Telecommunications (WGET) in Dubai. This was the first time the WGET included a session on humanitarian security. The content of the presentation is now available.
Standardised hashtags can be used by governments and aid organisations to distribute information to the public, and respond to urgent needs and requests. The hashtags should be used interactively, coordinated and collaborated with between the sectors. Twitter users then tweet with the respective hashtags to notify governments and aid agencies about needs of affected communities and urgent requests.
In her op-ed, Kristin Bergtora Sandvik suggests that humanitarians must pay keen attention to the post-Ebola narrative of military victory that is currently emerging. To see the deployment of military personnel, strategies and tactics as the game changer is unfair, because it invisibilises the resilience of the nationals of Ebola affected countries, as well as the efforts of local health workers and (some) humanitarians to address and control the outbreak. However, this narrative also has important strategic consequences for patterns of funding and intervention in future health emergencies.
Kidnapping and the consequent use of hostages is hardly a new method for terrorist organisations to express their defiance towards enemy states, or even hostile home states. What differentiates current hostage situations from those of the past is the way in which they have been adapted to today’s information society. It seems that terrorist groups have found a new use for hostages: propaganda.