Alexander Betts: 'Humanitarian innovation begins by understanding the local context'
- 19 August 2014
- Media coverage
The Independent looks at how the aid industry is turning to the private sector, social media and refugees themselves for innovative solutions
At a time where 'more people are displaced than at any time since the Second World War and aid funding requests rose from $6bn (33.6bn) to $10bn per year, from 2003 to 2013', The Independent looks at innovation in the humanitarian system.
Highlighting the emphasis on humanitarian innovation at the first World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, newly dedicated innovation units at UNICEF and UNHCR, and the British Government's decision to invest £35m on research and development in this area, the article considers both the use of new technologies through private-sector collaborations and the need to maximise the talents of refugees themselves.
On aversion to risk in the humanitarian sector, Dr Alexander Betts notes: 'Innovation requires a willingness to fail. Yet failure in this case can have significant human consequences, so understandably, this can lead to risk aversion.' And on the increasing emphasis being given to crisis-hit populations themselves, Betts adds: 'People who flee crisis have to adapt, and they often do so in creative and entrepreneurial ways. Humanitarian innovation begins by understanding the local context and supporting the problem-solving capacities of affected communities themselves.'