The Humanitarian Technology Festival on May 9 and 10 is Aspiration's first foray of participatory event methodologies into the digital response space. We hope that this event supports creative dialogues and capacity building in humanitarian aid and disaster response efforts. In a recent blog on Civic Media, Willow explains the framing of this program and event:
"The very way we deliver aid perpetuates the need for more aid... When people need lodging after a hurricane, they're either told to evacuate and/or they're put into temporary homes, away from neighbors and family. There is little impetus to return and rebuild both social and tangible structures. People are uprooted, and must start from scratch. When, instead, we see that people don't just need lodging but in fact need social fabric, responders (and the technologies used for response) can focus on how to maintain family and neighborhood ties."
She explains that aid and response should embrace a people-centric styles of thinking, where tools are seen as mere supplements to existing social efforts:
"People in these fragile situations are NOT a population to playtest new tools. Not only do failures have a larger impact in these spaces, but to think of another location and its people as "demo" space is undignified and unjust. By speaking to each other in easy-to-understand language, under the assumption that everyone is bringing something meaningful to the table, and that together we'll figure it out; we can shift not only how we do response, but the after-effects of that response."