Last month, ImpactCity’s brand-new 2018 The Hague Innovators were announced. Startup HumanSurge took home the grand prize of €30,000. It’s working on an innovative global emergency roster for humanitarian responders. In its guest contribution below, the HumanSurge team reflects on the year ahead.
Winning the The Hague Innovators Challenge is fundamental to our capacity to bring our solution to the next stage: a trust-based network of aid workers. In the year to come, we will be introducing peer-to-peer validations to exponentially grow the number of verifications of professional qualifications. Ultimately, this will lead to a trust ranking that can disrupt the way candidate screening takes place.
Importantly, trust will extend to qualified national professionals, seeking to enhance the United Nations’ agenda for the localization of aid. In the process, we expect to organically grow our user base to an additional 20,000 professionals in the coming year.
Furthermore, we will conduct a pilot for online distance support for (national) NGOs. In this framework, we will connect professionals around the world to collaborate remotely on tasks such as survey design, proposal writing, research, and related tasks that can be performed remotely.
In today’s major humanitarian crises such as Syria, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq, where insecurity is a major concern, remote management is gaining prominence. HumanSurge expects to be able to play key a role in professionalizing local NGOs, further closing the growing gap between humanitarian needs and response capacity.
“Everybody can get exposed to natural and man-made disasters” – Loek Peeters, founder at startup HumanSurge
At HumanSurge we provide instant connections between organizations and qualified professionals in the humanitarian sector, so that all humanitarian causes have an adequate, immediate, and quality response.
Everybody can get exposed to natural and man-made disasters. In 2016 alone, more than 160 million people were affected. This represents a 500% increase when compares to a decade ago. Yet, emergency funding has grown by only half as much. The growing gap reveals a need to become more efficient and effective.
Scaling up operations
A key struggle lies in the rapid identification and deployment of qualified professionals to scale up operations: known as ´surge capacity´. Due to a global disconnect, there is no knowledge on the full spectrum of available professionals. While the same professionals have no place to indicate their (changing) immediate availability and qualifications.
We strive to reduce the time needed in candidate search and candidate screening to deploy qualified teams to successfully implement life-saving projects. To this end, we developed a web-based application where professionals can indicate their availability and qualifications, while hiring managers and recruiters can search using sector-specific search selectors and connect in real-time.
In effect, this turns around the regular recruitment process, where positions are announced and hundreds of CVs of varying formats need to be reviewed. As a result, our application significantly reduces time needed for candidate search.
Improving candidate screening
Next, we turned to improving candidate screening. Initially by forming alliances with professional associations, as well as universities and institutes providing humanitarian educational degrees. Graduated students indicate their alumni status, which is cross-verified with the education provider, adding a ‘certifying badge’ to their profile.
Subsequently, our team started to also progressively conduct identity verification and line manager reference checks. Validated profiles are highlighted to recruiters and can short-cut recruitment processes.