Blog Posts for 2016

February 26, 2016 | 0 comments

A selfie is easy to mock. ‘Narcissistic millennials only care about themselves.’ ‘Look at those stupid tourists and their selfie sticks.’ But for Alec Barton, founder & publisher at Developing Telecoms, a selfie for people like the Syrian refugees is a symbol of safety, a wink to loved ones back home. The image he put on the screen at Mobile World Congress during a forum on mobile and technology’s role in humanitarian aid was of a Syrian refugee taking a selfie with his group. The brief moment of happiness amongst the dread was “one of the most significant and moving images of the year.”
“These (refugee) selfies are about a simple and direct way to tell their family they are safe,” Barton said at MWC. “After safety, food, warmth and water, the next most important thing is the ability to communicate, which in reality means their mobile phone.”

Some of the first questions, he said, refugees ask when they get to a point is “‘where can I charge my mobile,’ ‘what network’ and ‘what’s the Wi-Fi password.’ Think about the significance of that.” “Even though communities as affected by crisis, people are still people,” Jacob Korenblum, CEO & Co-Founder of Souktel Digital Solutions, said at MWC. “They are still mobile users, they still have needs or desire that someone sitting in this room has. “People want to listen to music, take photos, do social.. it’s in fact a way of coping with the crisis surrounding them,” Korenblum said at MWC. For more:...

February 26, 2016 | 0 comments

Istanbul is set to host a global meeting focused on humanitarian aid to Somalia, which is scene to persistently high and alarming levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, with an estimated 4.7 million people - nearly 40 per cent of the Somali population - in need of humanitarian assistance. The New Deal for Somalia process was launched by the international community to ensure the coordination of international aid disbursement, enhance its effectiveness and reinforce Somali ownership with a view to maintaining peace and state-building in Somalia, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Feb. 22.

The High Level Partnership Forum on Somalia is the highest decision-making mechanism of this process, in which the Somali government, the United Nations and key donor countries are parties, the ministry said. The sixth meeting of the forum will be held at the ministerial level on Feb. 23-24 in Istanbul, it said. The forum will be co-chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. “The High-Level Partnership Forum on Somalia will be a concrete manifestation of the comprehensive policy that Turkey pursues in cooperation with the international community towards the establishment of the state institutions, as well as peace and stability, in Somalia,” the Foreign Ministry said.

The forum is expected to be attended by 50 countries and 12 international organizations as...

February 26, 2016 | 0 comments

Data–Pop Alliance has been conducting ongoing research on Big Data, climate change and environmental resilience. With funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), we published a synthesis report evaluating the opportunities, challenges and required steps for leveraging the new ecosystem of Big Data and its potential applications and implications for climate change and disaster resilience. This report will feed into the World Humanitarian Summit to be organized in Istanbul in May 2016. This is the third in a series of companion pieces that offer insights from the synthesis report. The authors of the series attempt to go “beyond the buzz” to lay out what we actually know about Big Data’s existing utility for disaster science and for building practical resilience.

When human communities are affected by disasters, collaboration is essential to mitigating their negative impacts. There are many interesting examples of collaborative bottom-up insights building on the “wisdom of crowds” to help optimize response to disasters through humanitarian assistance. This is mostly happening through digital tools, which are playing an increasingly important role in this field. Mobile devices and open source software (e.g. Open Data Kit and Frontline SMS), enable non-expert users living in remote and/or underserved communities – especially in developing and emerging regions – to collect and share data. Additional tools allow the seamless integration of...