digital Aid

7. Connected Societies and the Digital Transformation: The Impact on Humanitarian Response

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Presenter: Mr. Rutger Reman, President and Head of Customer Unit Industry and Society, Middle East and Africa Region, Ericsson

Wednesday, 29 April 2015, 11:00-11:4006_Rutger Reman_IMG_0031

This session examined how ICT can enable societies and better serve people, from both a social and humanitarian perspective, taking into account such trends as migration from rural to urban areas and the growth of megacities.

There is general recognition that technology can do so much to further progress across all levels of society, and growing acceptance that connectivity has become a basic need. “Technology for good” comprises a range of initiatives, from broadening access to learning, healthcare and banking to helping to achieve efficiencies and resilience in the energy, water and transport sectors, to assisting families in crisis situations reunite. We are just beginning to tap the potential of connected societies, and the predictive function of the resulting data can help us to work more effectively.

Mr. Rutger Reman
, President and Head of Customer Unit Industry and Society, Middle East and Africa Region, Ericsson

06_Connected Societies and the Digital Transformation_photo_rutger remanRutger Reman started his active career life after university at the Swedish operator Telia where he worked several years and held different local and international roles.

In 1995, Rutger joined Ericsson in Sweden, and has been working in Ericsson since then. He has held different positions in Project Management, Product Management, Operations, Marketing and Sales. Since 2004, Rutger has been relocated outside of Sweden where he has worked in various roles and projects with a large number of customers in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Recently Rutger has been Executive Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit OOREDOO based in Qatar.

As of January 2015, Rutger was appointed President and Head of Customer Unit Industry & Society, which is a newly established business line within Region Middle East, in order to drive business growth and capture market opportunities in new business areas with a special focus on Energy & Utilities, Public Safety & Security, Intelligent Transport Systems and Smart Cities.

Rutger was born in 1963 in Goteborg, Sweden, where he was brought up and educated.

Links to related material:

Ericsson Networked Society
Ericsson Response


11. Communicating with Communities: Social Data and Predictives for Humanitarian Response

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Presenters: Ms. Heather Leson, Program Manager, Social Innovation, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI); Dr. Larissa Fast, AAAS Fellow, USAID Global Development Lab Wednesday, 29 April, 15:30-16:30 Disaster-affected communities are increasingly the source of the “Big Data” that gets generated during disasters. Making sense of this flash flood of information is proving an impossible challenge for traditional humanitarian organizations. What are the next generation needs for actionable research and software in the field of Social Data and Predictives for Humanitarian response, especially focused on communicating with communities? This session built from the lessons learned from QCRI’s Social Innovation Team while engaging participants in small group discussion. Participants were asked to discuss key topics such as research needs, opportunities and barriers. 10_Communicating with Communities Social Data and Predictives_screenshot

Click here to read the Text on Techs blog post on the session

Ms. Heather Leson, Program Manager, Social Innovation, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) 10_Communicating with Communities Social Data and Predictives_photo_HeatherLesonHeather Leson is a programme manager and community builder for global open source projects. As the Programme Manager, Social Innovation for the Qatar Computing Research Institute, Qatar Foundation she creates projects and programmes for social innovation and humanitarian software. Specializing in strategic planning, community engagement, and fundraising, Heather is a Board member for Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. She demonstrates mentorship and leadership as an ambassador and adviser for numerous social technology start-ups including School of Data, Jump2Spot and Invstg8net. She is a member of the Standby Task Force and Non-Commercial User Constituency, ICANN. Organizations she leads in include the Crisis Mappers Network, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap TeamOpen Knowledge Foundation (School of Data), Ushahidi, Random Hacks of Kindness, Mozilla and more. Recognized as a digital humanitarian leader, Crowdsourcing Week cited her as one of the Top 10 Canadian Experts. Heather curates numerous civil society, open source and technology workshops and is a frequent public speaker including such events as IEEE Humanitarian Technology ConferenceGoogle Big TentUN Human Rights Council, World Bank, OSCONTedxSilkRoadUNSpider and various Canadian government events. Heather has over 15 years of experience in technical incident management, software life-cycle development, customer care, and Internet communications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto. Leadership programmes that Heather has participated include Personal Democracy Forum Google Fellow) and a certificate for the Annenberg-Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute (2012).

Dr. Larissa Fast, AAAS Fellow, USAID Global Development Lab10_Communicating with Communities Social Data and Predictives_photo_Fast Larissa Fast is a AAAS Fellow at the USAID/Global Development Lab working with the Digital Development Team. She is also Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution at the Kroc Institute and Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Her book, Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism (2014, University of Pennsylvania Press) explores the causes of and responses to violence against aid workers. Fast has published in the European Journal of International Relations, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and Disasters. Her research has been funded by the Swiss Development Corporation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the US Agency for International Development.

Links to related material:

Qatar Computing Research Institute
US Global Development Lab

13. Designing Future Solutions, Listening to the Most Important Stakeholder

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Presenter: Ms. Abi Weaver, Global Technology Project, American Red Cross

Thursday, 30 April, 09:10-09:4012_Weaver_IMG_3431

With an eye on the threats and opportunities of the next decade, the Red Cross Red Crescent recently developed a multi-sector vision outlining how emerging technologies can address emerging humanitarian needs. Community engagement was essential to the development of this vision and their diverse ideas drove both the problem sets and solutions.

Abi Weaver shared lessons from her experience helping people on the receiving end of emergency aid identify and voice their own needs directly, improve their knowledge, design their own solutions and expand their coping strategies through technology. She also shared why the Red Cross Red Crescent cares about the design, use and cost of future technology solutions and how this focus is helping them prepare for other global shifts like climate change. And she revealed what they learned from communicating with communities about their emerging needs and barriers as well as their attitudes, beliefs, questions and concerns about emerging technologies.

Ms. Abi Weaver
, Global Technology Project, American Red Cross

12_Designing Future Solutions Listening to the Most Important Stakeholder_photo_Abi WeaverAbi Weaver, a director within the international division of the American Red Cross, is currently researching and testing emerging technology solutions with the vision that they can help strengthen disaster resilience in urban communities. In addition to her 10-year career with the Red Cross, Abi has held strategic communications and government relations positions at PATH, an international nonprofit organization that accelerates global health technologies, as well as the National Parent Teacher Association, America’s premiere child advocacy organization.

She has earned degrees in journalism and public relations, and lives in the Washington, DC metro area.

Links to related material:

American Red Cross
Global Dialogue on Emerging Technology for Emerging Needs

14. Digital Aid: Biometric Identity Management and Electronic Cash Transfer

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Presenters: Mr. Doug Greene, CIO, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); Mr. Jakob Kern, CIO & ETC Chair, UN WFP; Ms. Alexa Swift, Regional Economic Opportunities Advisor for the Middle East, Mercy Corps; Mr. Jeremy Cole, Director, Red Rose

Thursday, 30 April 2015, 09:40-10:40, 11:20-11:5013_Panel_IMG_3435

The increasing use of cash transfer programming in humanitarian assistance has spawned the use of new technologies to capture beneficiary identities and to deliver entitlements via digital means. The session presented what two United Nations entities – the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – are doing in this area, as well as recent learning in electronic cash transfers for humanitarian assistance presented by Mercy Corps, summarizing how the Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (elan) plans to support field teams, and the experience of Red Rose, an SME specialized in developing electronic cash transfer products for the humanitarian sector. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion.


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Mr. Doug Greene, CIO, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)13_Digital Aid Biometric Identity Management and Cash_photo_Doug Greene

Mr. Doug Greene was appointed Director and Chief Information Officer of UNHCR as of 6 January 2014. Mr. Greene brings nearly 30 years of professional experience in the not-for-profit, public and private sectors, including 20 years in Information Technology (IT) leading and managing large-scale, global Information Technology operations.  In addition, Greene has over 15 years of international experience, working for the United States Peace Corps, Catholic Relief Services, and the American Red Cross.

Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Greene was Vice President of Enterprise Technology at the American Red Cross, where he oversaw the organization’s technical planning, enterprise architecture, strategic sourcing, contract management and infrastructure operations from 2009-2013.  Prior to the Red Cross, Mr. Greene was the Director of Business Systems and Deputy Chief Information Officer for Northrop Grumman’s Information Technology Sector from 2001–2009. From 1996-2001, Mr. Greene served at the Peace Corps as the Associate Director for Management and Chief Information Officer in Washington, D.C., Country Director in Vanuatu, and as an agriculture volunteer in the Marshall Islands in the early 1980s. Mr. Greene held several positions with Catholic Relief Services between 1988-1996, including Deputy Director of the Office of Program Resources Management, Country Representative in Cameroon and Haiti, Project Manager in the Office of Information Systems in Baltimore, and Regional Computer Coordinator for Southeast Asia.

Mr. Greene earned his bachelor’s degree in History with honors from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and holds a master’s degree in International Development Management from American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C.  In addition, he received his Chief Information Officer Certificate from the Information Resources Management College at the National Defense University, Washington, DC, a Certificate in Management from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, and graduated from the Leadership Development Program at Babson College & Harvard Business School.

Mr. Jakob Kern, CIO & ETC Chair, UN WFP

13_Digital Aid Biometric Identity Management and Cash_photo_Jakob KernJakob Kern is the Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Technologies at the United Nations World Food Programme. He is responsible for the overall IT strategy, operations, processes and more than 425 IT staff of the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger globally. He has further responsibility for supporting the organisation’s Change Process within the development of the strategic framework and priorities of the Division, and is advising the Executive Director on all IT related matters.

Jakob is currently the Chair of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster of the United Nations (ETC) and the Management Committee of the United Nations International Computing Center (ICC), the common data centre of 30 UN Agencies based in Geneva.

Jakob joined WFP in 1998 in Monrovia, Liberia as Head of one of the largest Special Operation projects consisting of 200 km of emergency road repairs in a post war environment to facilitate food distribution to refugees. He then moved on as Emergency Coordinator and Programme Advisor in Asmara, Eritrea where he was responsible for two large-scale emergency operations. He was WFP Deputy Country Director in North Korea and prior to becoming CIO in February 2012, was the Deputy Chief Information Officer at WFP since 2006, where he managed all seven branches of the Division and provided leadership to the development of global IT innovative strategies and programmes to enhance efficiency through IT applications.

Before joining the World Food Programme, Jakob worked as a consultant and project manager for several companies, where he was responsible for global engineering projects throughout Africa and Asia. Jakob received a Masters in Civil Engineering from ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He is married and has two young boys.

Ms. Alexa Swift, Regional Economic Opportunities Advisor for the Middle East, 13_Digital Aid Biometric Identity Management and Cash_photo_Alexa Swift
Mercy Corps

Alexa is the Middle East Regional Economic Opportunities Advisor for the Syria Response with Mercy Corps.

She has worked in the region since 2013 supporting program teams both in Syria and the refugee receiving countries to increase their use of market based approaches, particularly cash transfer programming. Prior to that she worked in East Africa on cash and early recovery programming.

Mr. Jeremy Cole, Director, Red Rose

13_Digital Aid Biometric Identity Management and Cash_photo_j coleJerry has a wealth of experience of working both in the private and humanitarian sector over the past 20 years . A qualified accountant, who after a successful career in business, left the private sector to pursue a life long ambition of working within the humanitarian sector. Jerry worked with humanitarian agency GOAL for over 10 years where he held positions as Head of Risk, Audit and Compliance and Chief Operations Officer. During his time at GOA,L Jerry identified that the humanitarian sector needed better ways of delivering cash transfers and in 2013 he Co-founded RedRose, a company that specialises in developing electronic cash transfer systems for the humanitarian sector.  Originally from London, Jerry has a Masters in both International Banking and Social policy and a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Accountancy.

Links to related material:

UNHCR – The UN Refugee Agency
Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC)
World Food Programme Scope project
Mercy Corps
Red Rose
Electronic Cash Transfer Learning Action Network (elan)
The Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP)

17. Communication Technology: Challenges and Opportunities for Humanitarian Security

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Presenters: Ms. Lisa Reilly, Executive Coordinator, European Interagency Security Forum (EISF); Ms. Raquel Vazquez, Researcher, EISF16_Lisa Reilly and Raquel Vazquez_Keep Calm_stage shot 3

Thursday, 30 April 2015, 14:00-14:30

The speed with which technology is developing and changing humanitarian programmes means that organisations are simply not keeping up from a security risk management perspective.

To date, few efforts have been made to understand the specific nature of the security threats created by the digital revolution, and the implications for security risk management. In the last decade, humanitarian organisations have been investing in more proactive acceptance strategies, but often forgetting to look at the impact that digital interactions have in the security of staff when we replace the traditional ‘tea in the market’ by Skype meetings with beneficiaries. Nor have there been many efforts to understand the ways in which communications technology is creating new opportunities for humanitarian agencies to respond to emergencies and the impact that new programmes have on how we manage security.

The session looked at these issues, highlighting that to gain and maintain safe access for humanitarian assistance we need a security risk management approach that takes account of the risks associated with developments in communications technology.

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Ms. Lisa Reilly, Executive Coordinator, European Interagency Security Forum (EISF)16_Communication Technology Challenges and Opportunities_photo_Lisa Reilly

Lisa has over 16 years experience in the development and humanitarian response sector, working overseas in a variety of programme management roles in both Africa and Asia. Returning to the UK in 2009 Lisa took up a position with RedR as Security Trainer developing and implementing personal and security management courses, as well as undertaking a number of short-term consultancy projects backstopping and evaluating humanitarian response programmes. Starting as an engineer, Lisa’s security knowledge comes from implementing programmes in various conflict and post-conflict countries, subsequently enhanced through working with a variety of sector experts and on a number of research projects since her return to the UK.

Ms. Raquel Vazquez, Researcher, EISF

16_Communication Technology Challenges and Opportunities_photo_Raquel VazquezRaquel coordinates projects and conducts research to help humanitarian organisations gain safer access to communities affected by conflict and emergencies. She is also a member of the Justice Rapid Response Roster for the rapid deployment of experts in war crimes and mass atrocities investigations. Prior to joining EISF, Raquel worked in Libya, Israel, Bangladesh, Cambodia and the UK for different humanitarian and human rights organisations, and in two international prosecutions, the UN-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal and the International Criminal Court.

Links to related material:

The European Interagency Security Forum