DigitalResponse

Humanitarian TechFest 2016 East Coast Sessions

The Humanitarian Technology Festival session list will be co-developed with participants, facilitators, and partners in the time leading up and during the Festival.

The agenda will be designed and facilitated using Aspiration's unique participatory model, in an environment where powerpoint slides are discouraged and dialog and collaboration drive the learning.

Sessions likely to be on the agenda include...

Humanitarian TechFest 2016 East Coast Agenda

The following is the agenda for the Humanitarian TechFest 2016 happening on June 4th and 5th in Cambridge, MA.

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

9:30 - Coffee and light breakfast

10:00 - Opening Circle

The event will start with introductions and welcomes, an overview of the agenda and guidelines, and announcements.

10:30 - Interactive Plenary

Trustworthiness in response

When I came on with Aspiration in January, it was clear in my soul why the joining up made sense. But not many folk in the disaster and humanitarian response circles I run in pay much attention to the overlap of activism and response. It took some time to make it clear and explicit.

How can humanitarian response be decentralized?

For a long time, it wasn't possible to include everyone's voice in planning or decision-making without impossibly large amounts of time. There was no way to listen, at scale. So aggregation and centralization became common, especially in times of urgency, even with the troubles these tend to cause.

But now, with the technologies we have, we can *listen*, in high resolution and in high fidelity. But technology isn't a silver bullet. We also need the political will and the personal values to make that happen. With Aspiration's new Digital Humanitarian Response program, we get to support some of the rad people willing and able to make these movements happen. In May, we hosted the Humanitarian Technology Festival at MIT. The Digital Response Wiki provides resources and notes, and here are some top-level highlights from the event:

Digital humanitarian response: Meanwhile, in Nairobi...

I was in Nairobi, Kenya, at the end of April participating in various happenings across humanitarian response spaces. From interactive gameplay to resiliency indicators, here's how we focused attention on frontline communities through digital means.

Facilitating gameplay to model for resource allocation

Game materials to indicate water points

I attended the 9th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA9) with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre in Nairobi on April 24-30. I was there to facilitate a game which simulated the citizen reporting of water resource status and distribution in an area to better inform allocation.

The game stems from Taarifa, a free software project that has been widely deployed to collect, visualize, and map infrastructure information. The Climate Centre is well known (and appreciated) for their distillations of complex climate, environmental, and social systems into fun-to-play games, which are available on their website.

Reframing response at the Humanitarian Tech Festival

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."

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