July 21, 2015 | 0 comments

International aid agencies have historically been criticized for failing to seek the views of those they are trying to help, providing them assistance without properly consulting or them about what they need or involving them in the crisis response. In recent years, aid agencies have made many strides in opening up channels of communication, by setting up community radio stations, Facebook pages and newspapers; providing centralized information centers or hotlines during natural disasters; and holding grassroots consultations with communities, all of which provide improved feedback loops and accountability. More at

May 20, 2015 | 0 comments

As record numbers of people are displaced by disaster and conflict, the humanitarian community faces increasing challenges. In addition, population-increase and the impacts of climate change are intensifying the risk of wider humanitarian crises, such as food and water insecurity. Emerging innovations in humanitarian aid can help us mitigate these growing problems. We have been researching the top solutions that are saving lives in over 100 countries and hundreds more have been submitted by you on our recent online survey.

Science and technology have the potential to dramatically improve humanitarian aid and disaster response - the solutions researched and recommended to us span from wearable technology and 3D printing to sustainable innovations in basic sanitation, shelter and nutrition.AIDF received over 320 solutions from NGOs, local governments, UN agencies and the private sector working in 58 different countries, and welcome you to share your suggestions with them. AIDF hopes this report will inspire new solutions to improve humanitarian aid delivery and shape brighter future outcomes. It presents just some of the technologies and services at the forefront of sustainable humanitarian aid, researched and recommended to AIDF by the contributors:

May 13, 2015 | 0 comments

Bedi and Dayal are sourcing images from photographers on the ground in Nepal, and use the hashtag #nepalphotoproject to find other credible photos. They aren’t using their feed as a newsreel; they’re presenting an array of people-focused stories, from relief volunteers to portraits of missing persons. And it’s not just the images they’re taking very seriously; all photos have proper information attached to them and there are links to appropriate fundraising campaigns and helpful articles:

May 13, 2015 | 0 comments

One week later, someone showed up: a raft guide named Megh Ale, who operates an eco-resort on the Bhote Koshi. He arrived with some medical supplies, volunteers, and not enough food. Upon seeing the extent of the devastation, he approached the Deujas. Ale told the cousins to head to Kathmandu and find a bed-and-breakfast called the Yellow House. Over the past two weeks, as the government and large international NGOs have struggled to deliver supplies in Nepal’s remote regions, the Yellow House has emerged as the hub of a vibrant guerrilla aid operation run by a handful of young people armed with little more than Facebook, open source mapping technology, local knowledge, and some antiestablishment verve.

Unregistered, unlicensed, and nonexistent in official terms, the Yellow House group is one of many ad hoc efforts that have cropped up to deliver aid to some of the quake’s hardest-hit areas quickly and without much fuss. Recently, the milieu at the Yellow House has expanded from urbane young Nepalis and wide-eyed international travelers to include prominent NGOs such as Team Rubicon, a group of US military vets sponsored by the Home Depot. Even the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has started delivering supplies through the group. But Sandesh and Dipak didn’t know any of that, nor would they have particularly cared. They just needed some rice and tarps, given the forthcoming monsoons. So they recruited two of the town’s other young, strong men...

May 13, 2015 | 0 comments

The International Red Cross announced a partnership with Nepal Telecom to utilize one of the few technologies that did provide relief in the wake of the disaster: SMS text messaging. Because SMS is a relatively low-tech communication protocol, messages can be sent even over a weak connection, and because it's asynchronous, they can go out whenever a phone catches a scrap of signal. After the first earthquake in Nepal on April 25th, services like WhatsApp and Viber, both of which use very little bandwidth, turned out to be much more reliable than phone calls or emails as a way to verify that friends and loved ones were okay. The Red Cross's partnership with Nepal Telecom uses geotracking technology to send targeted text messages about flooding, landslides, and emergency supply updates to millions of Nepalese. In a press release, the Nepal Red Cross Society estimated the SMS system would reach 1.1 million users initially: