The Humanitarian Action Challenge kicked off in early October. It is a joint effort by HumanityX, The Hague Humanity Hub and ImpactCity to encourage multi-disciplinary collaboration towards innovative technological solutions for peace, justice, and humanitarian action. Roza Freriks and Stephanie van Drunen Littel are involved on behalf of the Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation (DCHI) that offered one of the program’s challenges. We checked in with them to hear about their experience so far.
DCHI is excited about taking part in the Humanitarian Action Challenge. Roza says, “Innovators may have solutions for the humanitarian sector that can enable its effectiveness. That’s why this program is important. It gives the innovators the opportunity to create impact as they start working on their ideas together with a humanitarian organization.”
She adds, “This collaboration enables the innovator to learn more about the humanitarian context and understand what challenges are at play, while the humanitarian organization has the opportunity to find a new type of solution for exactly these challenges. The promise this holds is that both organizations open up towards each other. They can start learning from each other’s knowledge, skills and expertise, while at the same time working on an innovative solution.”
DCHI offers a platform to innovators and humanitarian organizations to connect, because it believes that solutions already exist to solve long-time humanitarian challenges. Stephanie says, “What needs to happen is that the challenges and solutions are brought together. The Humanitarian Action Challenge offers both parties exactly that.”
In the Humanitarian Action Challenge, DCHI is looking to collaborate on empowering those affected by humanitarian crisis by involving them in the design of innovative solutions.“Despite the universal human right to be treated with dignity, people affected by humanitarian crisis tend to often be treated as passive receivers of aid,” Stephanie says.
“Instead, humanitarian responses should be designed in collaboration with its end users, thereby honoring their fundamental need for empowerment and self-reliance,” she emphasizes the importance of recipient involvement.
Roza attended the first workshop session in early October and was pleasantly surprised by the participants’ commitment. “The commitment of all the participants in the workshop was impressive. The two teams that are working on solving our challenge worked hard and were very focused. They clearly want to use this opportunity to improve humanitarian effectiveness in the field,” she shares.
“We are looking forward to the next gathering in November,” Roza says. “We’d love seeing the organizations co-create, collaborate and learn from each other. Ultimately, they may be offering impactful new data solutions to empower those affected by humanitarian crisis.”