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. Robert Trigwell is involved on behalf of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) that offered one of the program’s challenges. We checked in with him to hear about his experience so far.
“This program is important because cross-sectoral learning from the non-traditional actors is incredibly important for growth and progress in the humanitarian space,” Robert comments on the way in which the challenge is adding value to humanitarian innovation.
“Through the facilitation of HumanityX and the City of The Hague, the program creates an enabling environment for innovators to get access to real humanitarian problems encountered by practitioners around the world. There could be some really interesting progress on solving some of the proposed challenges,” he says.
IOM’s challenge focuses on optimizing humanitarian analytical outputs for the design and planning of development initiatives. In its work, information management systems are key to IOM’s effectiveness. “We observe a need for practical solutions that are able to better forecast both humanitarian and development needs,” Robert says.
He adds, “Strengthening our information management will enable us to gain a better understanding of the movements and needs of displaced populations and migrants as they evolve. Ultimately, this will empower us to provide more adequate assistance.”
Robert attended the workshop session in early October and got acquainted with the two teams that will be working on solving IOM’s challenge. “The first gathering was very interesting. It was great to see so many parts of the project inception phase covered,” he says. “IOM is excited to engage with technical stakeholders, who can provide added value.”
“Successful humanitarian and development work happens through partnerships and collaborations, whether through cluster engagement or through building partnerships with governments,” Robert emphasizes the value of partnership. “Hence, we are looking forward to forge new relationships with our new partners.”
He adds, “Also, it was great to see the ethics of responsible innovation discussed, and how all work should be aligned with humanitarian principles. This defines who we are as a sector.”
“I was also very excited to see the engagement from the challenge winners and their different perspectives on the challenge based on their varying technical disciplines. I’m looking forward to see what the next steps will be and how the different parties involved can learn from each other,” he concludes.