3 Ways Technology is Transforming the World of Humanitarian Aid

By Adrian Cruce

Technology is transforming the way we see and interact with the world. While it has had an effect on many industries, one area that is rapidly changing is charitable and humanitarian aid. Communication technology helps teams coordinate efforts better, tools help us with accountability, and management technology allows humanitarian organizations to run as efficiently as any major company without the checkbook. Let’s take a look at some of the ways technology is transforming the world of humanitarian aid at the moment.

The Rise of Big Data

Big data refers to the increasing flow of content provided by feedback tools, sensors, consumer information, and recorded data from internet-enabled devices. There are many ways that the use and analysis of data can help humanitarian organizations better coordinate their efforts.

Take Alight and its Kuja Kuja platform, for instance. It has a real-time feedback system that tracks the satisfaction level of every customer that receives one of their services. For instance, someone might get water at one of their water points or help at a sponsored clinic. They can input their feedback into the system, along with their observations. This data is then available publicly and can be used by the organization to better allocate assets, look at areas in need, or see which efforts are making the most impact.

Internet Connectivity and Access Innovation

We should never underestimate the power of interconnectivity, and recent changes in Wi-Fi technology and access are changing the way humanitarian aid is being provided. Internet access is a crucial issue, not only for remote communities in need but for the displaced especially.

Up until recently, it was virtually impossible for refugees to get access, but new initiatives along with technology advances in portable Wi-Fi technology has made it possible. The Mercy Corps is associated with Cisco. They provide Wi-Fi access to thousands of refugees around the world, making enterprise asset management simple, along with creating an information portal for those wanting more information on getting their refugee status and documents.

Distributed Ledger Technology

Distributed ledger technology is often associated with cryptocurrency, and the technology could truly revolutionize the world of humanitarian aid. Distributed ledger technology allows the creation of an immutable record that can be distributed to as little or as many different machines for bookkeeping. This means that altering this database would be nearly impossible if distributed to enough independent actors.

This would allow for much greater accountability and traceability, which is crucial when it comes to humanitarian aid. Another thing it would allow for would be to create direct channels for aid between donors and recipients. Smart contracts would allow funds to be released upon performing certain tasks or meeting certain objectives. Donors could track every dollar they spend and see exactly on which projects it was spent. This could make a major difference in donations and help revive trust in humanitarian causes and organizations.

Technology is transforming virtually every industry and part of our lives, and humanitarian aid is no different. We can expect it to keep changing the way we donate and the way organizations work, hopefully for the better.