Communication technologies are evolving rapidly in all sectors. Not only are the advancements in technology vast, but also the uptake and application into markets is phenomenally changing the way we live our day to day lives.

Even in the humanitarian sector, pilot tests and the use of new technologies is being adopted. There is an air of interest and excitement in trying new devices and processes, with the hope that these technologies will improve the effectiveness of agencies programmes and impact on the lives of populations they are working in.

Some illustrations of this are given in a 2009 report from the Applied Technology Working Group exploring how humanitarian agencies can make the most of new technologies and The Cash Learning Partnership reviews technologies specifically for cash transfer programming.

Alongside this growing fascination in the aid community, large disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake in 2010, appear to create a breeding ground for ideas and provided an opportunity to put new concepts to the test.

It is ever easier to find reports and examples of how humanitarian agencies have used new communications technologies, but what about the use of these technologies by local entrepreneurs and communities?

In a lessons learnt report from mission 4636, Robert Munro reflects that despite the recognition humanitarian agencies have got for taking on new technologies, application in Haiti really reflects how affected communities made use of existing resources themselves. Communicating and overcoming their own challenges in the aftermath of the disaster.

As discussed in another article by Paul Currion he questions whether the humanitarian sector is ready for the change in power balance, between communities and agencies, which access to information may bring.

Whoever makes use of these technologies or claims recognition, similar challenges in difficult and ever changing environments still remain:

Financial investment in personal equipment and national infrastructure
• Network stability and communications infrastructure
• Limited local availability of technical expertise
• Personal security posed by sharing of data and information transmitted, and limited controls in place to lower the risks
Legislative regulations in place by governments

It leaves us thinking about what can be done to overcome these challenges to enhance self-reliance in humanitarian response and refugee populations?

Louise Bloom
2/10/2013 09:32:01 pm

You blog post is just completely quality and informative about communication Technology. Many new facts and information which I have not heard about before. Keep sharing more blog posts.


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