“The opportunity of a multi-disciplinary collaboration was amazing”

The Humanitarian Action Challenge – a joint effort by HumanityX, The Hague Humanity Hub, and ImpactCity – ran from October through December 2018. It encouraged multi-disciplinary partnerships to deliver innovative technology-driven solutions to some of the most pressing problems faced by the humanitarian community today. NGO Hayata Destek joined hands with HumanSurge to address one of the challenges. In their guest contribution below, they talk about their experience.

Every year the number of people affected by humanitarian crises increases and the available resources are not sustainable enough to cope with this problem. People affected by these crises are not getting the help they need, due to a 15 billion Euro funding gap and the underutilization of local responders’ potential.

Currently, the latter receive only 2% of direct funding, even though they are typically faster, more cost-effective, and culturally sensitive to the context. In an effort to further increase localization and offer a sustainable solution to growing number of individuals who need humanitarian aid, we are developing a platform that will offer remote support to humanitarians.

Interconnecting local aid workers

Our solution aims to interconnect local humanitarian aid workers to facilitate their daily activities so that they will be capable of giving a better response during any humanitarian crisis. Either because they access remote technical expertise they lack in-house, or because they outsource small tasks remotely to reduce their workload and focus on more pressing matters in the field.

Through our platform, it will be possible for the humanitarian professionals to post a task in which they need support and for other professionals to see the task and reach out, making an agreement to the terms of the work to be completed. These jobs can be done by any qualified professional who is willing to offer their free time and tasks can be offered paid or pro-bono.

Balancing the playing field

We anticipate that this solution will help to balance the playing field and offer opportunities for South-to-South aid workers to benefit from each other’s experience and knowledge. Local humanitarian professionals who are asking for assistance in a specific task can also offer their own experience to other local humanitarian workers. With this, we are creating an interconnected community that will allow workers to complete more tasks in an efficient and fully sustainable way, resulting in a larger humanitarian workforce.

Over the past several months, we have done research while developing and analyzing surveys, developing the prototype, and doing a trial of offering remote support to a humanitarian worker. Throughout these phases, we have had time to reflect on the data we have acquired and learn from its analysis.

Currently, we are matching remote support requests offline, while an online prototype is in development. After the first trials, more trials are scheduled to take place online with a selected target audience. At the same time, we aim to raise funds for a more comprehensive pilot phase in 2019. Check out our crowdfunding platform at crowd.humansurge.org.

An amazing experience

The opportunity of participating in a multi-disciplinary collaboration was an amazing experience that allowed us to learn from different perspectives about how to design and create a better solution. The support of the Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation (DCHI) and HumanityX has been instrumental. All feedback helped us to improve our concepts, to consider every possible outcome, and to prevent problems in the future.

The Humanitarian Action Challenge has helped us to redefine our solution by realizing that even though our target audience are local humanitarian actors, our aim is to improve the quality of life for all people affected by humanitarian crises. In this way, we were able to narrow our focus to local humanitarian aid workers in Turkey who are working with Syrian refugees in urban areas, with an emphasis on tasks related to program quality, monitoring, and evaluation.

With an initial proof of concept and surveys and interviews confirming assumptions, a functioning prototype is now due to be completed. With a successful crowdfunding campaign, we look forward to being able to conduct a more comprehensive pilot phase in 2019.

Support our work, localize aid. Donate on: crowd.humansurge.org