Innovative technology and tools the key to revolutionising humanitarian responses
A coordinated approach is urgently needed when it comes to technologies, tools, and models in humanitarian innovation, says World Vision International President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Jenkins.
Speaking at a Special Session at the World Humanitarian Summit, Mr. Jenkins welcomed the establishment of the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI).
- A coordinated approach is urgently needed when it comes to technologies, tools, and models in humanitarian innovation.
- The establishment of the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation will complement each organisation’s efforts, addressing innovations that can’t effectively be addressed alone.
- World Vision continues to pioneer new humanitarian responses using technology, including its flagship Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS) platform for beneficiary registration and aid distributions.
- The aid agency established an iCash, or ‘innovations for Cash’, hub in the Philippines, for best learning in the use of cash in emergencies.
- An agreement with MasterCard will drive World Vision’s cash-based responses still further, giving aid recipients new dignity and control.
The Alliance, which brings together people and organisations with differing expertise, aims to implement innovative tools and practices around humanitarian preparedness and response.
“What do we expect from a good humanitarian innovation? It must help us reach the people who most need us while improving lives and strengthening communities,” Mr. Jenkins said.
“It must equip us to personalise our services and make us more accountable to affected communities and the donors who support us. Humanitarian innovation must increase our coordination with partners and it must allow us to document the work, deriving lessons we can all put into practice. The launch of the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation is, therefore, welcome,” continued Mr. Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins said there was “a lot of talk about innovative technologies, tools and models”.
“The Alliance will help us develop standards and principles and will provide the hub we need to disseminate evidence and best practices,” said Jenkins.
The special session discussed World Vision’s innovation programmes –which are one of the most robust of any international non-governmental organisation. The session asked those present what they hoped to see as a result of World Vision’s efforts and how its work can be complemented with that of the GAHI.
“The desire to do the best we can for vulnerable children drives World Vision. When everything in their lives goes wrong, we must do all we can to put things right, for them and their communities. More than ever, we are responding to relief emergencies, long-lasting conflict and political crisis. Yet resources for emergency response are insufficient to address the number of global crises and the complexity and risk of working in them," said Mr. Jenkins.
He continued, “This means that it’s more important than ever to find new ways of working, for World Vision and for our humanitarian peers We are committed to deploying new and creative tools, improving the way we operate and seeking strategic collaborations which would have been hard to conceive a decade ago.”
Mr. Jenkins stated that World Vision made a deliberate decision to pioneer new humanitarian responses.
“Developing our flagship Last Mile Mobile Solutions platform for aid distributions was important –but spreading its use globally, with partners, was a breakthrough. To propagate the best learning in the use of money in emergencies, we established an iCash, or ‘innovations for Cash’, hub in the Philippines. Recently, I signed an agreement with MasterCard to drive our cash-based responses still further, giving aid recipients’ new dignity and control, and us more transparency,” said Jenkins.
Mr. Jenkins stated that in a time of fewer resources, greater problems, and a changing landscape, there were also new opportunities.
“I’m proud that World Vision is a founding member and I’m happy that we are a partner in one of its first initiatives, an inter-agency innovation unit we can deploy in emergencies, called the Crisis Response Innovation Lab. We must do better for the people who are at the heart of every emergency –the children, families and communities who are the real reason we are here. Let’s be nimble and creative about it.”