The potential of technology in transforming humanitarian assistance has been recognized for sometime now. But the use of technology has yet to be harnessed to truly empower people at the bottom of the pyramid. As addressed here, the developing countries have quickly adopted mobile phones for day to day activities from personal needs to economical support. Using this scenario, a more sustainable solution can be explored where the beneficiaries can establish agency and be empowered to be less dependent on aid. The intricacies behind innovating using technologies requires mindfulness to the needs of most importantly the target beneficiaries, other stakeholders and researching their reactions to it as well. This has been mapped in the Mira board (linked below) with use cases of general humanitarian technological innovation rather than a specific solution to specific crises.
The board addresses already existing solutions using digital innovation to understand an overview of what’s already implemented successfully and potential examples on what’s possible. The challenges faced when designing the user experience aspects of the solutions are mapped, from gender biases in technological fields to training the populace. The possible intricacies depend on the digital and general literacy in that region. Likely concerns in physical realms are theft, malicious use of open source data and hacking communication protocols (such as Bluetooth, WiFi etc to take control of devices in the solution such as drones).
While designing potential solutions that would require direct beneficiary interaction, it is imperative that the solution isn’t just slapped onto the beneficiaries and simply hope solely on their training for the project’s success. Their contributions need to be heavily factored in to facilitate a sustainable solution so that the locals can take ownership of the project in the end stage and maintain it in the long run for a truly sustainable solution. The board mentions few of many topics that need to be examined before a solution can be developed. From the Mira board we can derive that technical solutions can be geared to help the beneficiaries in the long run if the right factors are taken into account.