Digital Humanitarian Response

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

Dialling Up Resilience

At the end of April I was in Nairobi doing several things related to digital humanitarian response. One of these was a program called Dialling Up Resilience (yes, with two Ls in "Dialling," because it was a British-centred team), which looks at local indicators of resilience. This blog entry explores why subjectivity is important in measurement, and how technology can help us parse through subjective information and combine it with objective datasets.

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.

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