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Hacking Humanitarian Aid


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Title Hacking Humanitarian Aid
Title of Series re:publica 2016
Part Number 172
Number of Parts 188
Author Bloch, Sam
License CC Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 Germany:
You are free to use, adapt and copy, distribute and transmit the work or content in adapted or unchanged form for any legal purpose as long as the work is attributed to the author in the manner specified by the author or licensor and the work or content is shared also in adapted form only under the conditions of this license.
DOI 10.5446/20688
Publisher re:publica
Release Date 2016
Language English

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Subject Area Computer Science
Abstract Disaster relief and the aid industry must innovate dramatically to keep pace with technology, human needs and the speed and internationalization of commerce. Because innovation must come from all players, grassroots organizations can influence the process by bringing their “bottom up” brand of innovation to the problem. By building dynamic, collaborative, on-the-ground spaces in places where the population is in greatest need, a space is created where big aid can serve local needs more effectively than ever before.
around the time and and I the I the sorting yeah good
morning in 1 game at the hood of the here so
instead of I started with 12 years ago working in a humanitarian posts a disaster work and I there are 5 years working within the more traditional system of this very top down how are we going to go in and help people do things for them to build the house is that they need the medical system that they need things like that and after 5 years of of doing that I get pretty pretty jaded with with the current system works and a lot of people say now I go well you're invading the you know within the humanitarian system which seems really big but if you really step back and look at humanitarian system is actually quite archaic system and so all that's a nice compliment as they were invading the humanitarian system it's the it doesn't take a genius really home so to this they have to those 5 years we've been working working on a model and it was a lot of you know drinks with other humanitarians after work saying that putting the system collecting all these different ideas and the earthquake in Haiti happen we said OK if there was a time to try some of these new ways of doing things is the time Hades and notoriously known as 1 of the most difficult countries in the world operate with out a disaster then there was a disaster so so this little group called the communitarian Stanford's not French sounds like it but I has a lot to do with community stands for communities united in response relief and renewal and this is very inspired by what you saw what I saw a lot of times from within the local communities and how they responded to a disaster how they really came together put things you put things aside economic backgrounds religious backgrounds political views things like this put all this stuff aside answered really work together n so I took to the 2 things today I 1 is about a lot of these technologies that we're seeing out in the maker space in the maker movement on the set of manufacturing CNC things like that and give you some some really so examples of how we are using them and in the field but that the 1st thing that I wanna talk about is this difference between a participant and beneficiary the humanitarian system very much so looks at the people affected by and the disaster as beneficiaries how are they going to go in and help them how are they going to benefit from their organization and things like that and they have just been which is very much so if you look at the maker movement and it's very yourself you know keyboard doing things for themselves there's a lot more pride and dignity in doing something for yourself and it's something that had always bothered me within humanitarian work that we were doing is how can you do something for someone without requiring some sort of exchange indignity during that process and so is example that we might all know the wood easier relate to an and this this this
this photo here is and post binary which is large Music Fest Chalmers's have been to music festivals and things like that that and this is post Monroe and this is how it's left this is what I would equate to being on the beneficiaries when people come and do large-scale production in order for the on the people going to the show essentially beneficiaries this 1 over here is is a little festival burning which are they're part of for a lot of years this is a festival that's put on by the
participants burning and provides very little provides a stage in a platform and the means for people to create their own that and this is what's left this is how it's left after Bonnaroo this photo here actually I'm was used by burning man as a public shaming for 1 of the biggest masses they've left seen after burning and so it's not as metadata that's actually like the worst 1 they published on and this is typical of just that every means you music festival things like this so if you think about that and how when when humanitarian aid is just simply put on for the beneficiary or the attendee versus the attendees putting on a show themselves and and this is also relates a lot to why the technologies that we're now using that enable people to do things for themselves so like was saying you see a lattice amazing things you know how the
community operates in a post disasters zone and 6 years ago we did not know what a maker space was we didn't know about this maker movement happening and this was a lot years coming completely from the opposite side of the humanitarian sector where developed this model and launched in Haiti and proceed with we discovered the workshop letter tools technology things where the victims of a disaster could utilize this space to help themselves do things for themselves and well about a year and we had a are fair and our workshop there a large workshop tool lending library things like that and this our workshop regional workshops and they cop viral
want people in their user use a freak accident and we're were situated in Haiti very just outside the slums of city so which are the poorest slums in the Western hemisphere in the UN in the nineties due to the most dangerous place on earth there are lots of violence things like this and than going in kind injecting ourselves into this community to see how we can help them we set up just outside this community and invited them to come in and to do things for themselves use a workshop on this fire happened the community had been using it for about a year that community and in in Haitian Creole there's a work called combi and it's a very very old way has a talk merits as a very very old principle people coming together and and harvest each other's crops comes from the peasant movement and so the slums this is still a actually called a combi it's the 1st time anybody had ever heard of Haitians calling a combi for an international organization they were invested in this space this is
something that they could use they came in and rebuild it and show you a new workshop here everyone is cool technologies you may have seen outside virtual reality and to use any workshop this is used by the in this whole center this is covered maker space we have another 3 D printing computer lab things that there was some attack your stuff happens but this has been used by hundreds of different organizations in Haiti alone we call the overall space for resource centers of the maker space co-working space a lot of these buzz words that were where I'm using today and but still shared shared space for resources Resource Center and so this the virtual reality we've started do a bit of this to give people contacts and no U N H C R is using virtual reality in searing refugee camps in order to build empathy and have people understand what's going on and we use it for a lot of different reasons user workshop ways said last year alone we had 185 different organizations common user space and a really focus a lot on the cross cultural and communication and collaboration so about 60 % and patient groups using the space and about 40 % and international groups so this also we have tons of different groups I wanna come in with the new technology new
ideas we encourage them to incubate in this space it isn't directly in the community 1st is just outside the community that has a lot the community feedback and you know this is great when like I can send this 2 groups are coming in there be like OK
what kind of tools can a workshop will be working with what we need to bring it is a descent said we're going to take a look yourself you can see what you're working with you can see what tools we have common really gives them a great idea what this space is 1 but but this slide show here now as far as some of these technologies have been using and really providing giving these tools and making them available to the beneficiaries were pronounced to the distance really and how it is that they can use them as we saw in Haiti Philippines and we've been in on the poll for the last year I the call stories and a like a shot out the field ready Altosaar narrow it is 3 print and the shipping containers the
UN gave us is a little model 3 D printed shipping containers because what we wanna do is
really 1 incorporates the community in the design of the spaces that were doing so it's very hard when it comes to designing physical space you know that you can becoming exclusive and that have to be architect summer that can draft and things like that so had this great idea the UN 16 shipping containers to build a space with we are still ready can you 3 print 16 shipping containers that to scale and how can we really engage the community in building outer space and design a space this is kind of where once you give a lot of these tools and technology to the people therefore is where you start the innovation that you couldn't really come up with on your own this is very bottom bottom up innovation so this gentleman here we want to make the space very inclusive and he is the and CEO of the Disabled Peoples of the Paul association and maybe will see his and his staff there between his legs with his cane he's 1 of and so he had kind of heard about this 3 D printing but had never really understood and we invited them over people you know with a new wheelchair blind people also survivability different disabilities to give us feedback on what this design of the central what
would be their center would look like and so he understood it came out you told us a lot harder Inc. you know blind person's perspective analysis stuff then you realize and understand what this through the printing was capable of doing any access a simple question is that women can you guys want she doesn't and building the space can you scanner and can you 3 D print a tactile maps of the entire space with braille so that any 1 person income and navigator and understand it that's absolutely brilliant I've never seen that that's something that we would have never been are technician the 3 printers people would never really come up with this israelis innovation and ideas are coming you may provide the technology they'll they'll come up with so here's or currently constructing in Katmandu right now and it's maker space co-working space at workshop tool lending library has been a very collaborative design of something we really like you know like creating the spaces you step into that you automatically thinking outside the box some of the examples of 3 D printing our um there's there's tons and is giving us a handful of different different acknowledges
and sort examples and was in the philippines you ask where you necessity and they do there is a large problem with sexually transmitted diseases and that's because you know it's a very Catholic country analyzes very taboos they wanted to build a reproductive health clinic and the how do you build a reproductive health clinic and make that appealing actually used by a lot of the street kids and almost kids the industries things like this so we design we were to the community and we worked with over 100 different and street and the city much of organizations the World Health Organization and it very collaborative design of what is now the talk among city you center and this is a this is chemical this is a shipping container reproductive health
clinics skatepark adolescent training and test book or once you don't have this kind of steril reproductive health clinic all by itself is that this community-engaged was really cool that to build the completion of this project it was completely owned by the community it was in a lot of international aid comes in build something that's often going leaves come back to you later in his life women why isn't this getting used why hasn't been maintained anything like this you really have to start from the beginning and get that recall design equity design equity sweat equity in decision-making equity by 3 different ways you can get from the community when you're doing projects with them and this is a cool example not you see the little guy right here and we're able to work with the youth for them to design their own space and before you go right into large-scale production you could
3 print things and so the kids come up a bunch of different ideas and here's the landscape park is with the clinic is things like this we say that's looks really cool what if we 3 plant that 1st then
you can have a working model and was a lot of iterations of this you know rapid prototyping and where they would find it all out me like 0 this won't work you know and then they go back to the drawing board changes changes over the was the design and but another good example as we like you know we did the 1st 3 printing log in in Haiti and prospects other things like this Neapolis been very very encouraging the maker movement is extremely strong there and people look at India and China as attack and innovation also stuff may and forget about this little country that's directly in between and so we brought in a simple and 3 printer we work the Robotics Association the ball hits the ball has very strong robotics movement they're having to build things on their own and figure things out but there's a lot of this the hunger for attack and innovation within the space and so on but as we see these 3 printers getting used for knickknacks you know 3 printing another you would said things like this which is cause for the do-it-yourself craft move and things like that for finding more and more than in the developing countries where larger-scale manufacturing is not readily available is where all of these printers are getting really really used this was within the 1st 2 weeks of providing a Robotics Association of all 3 D printer they printed 1 knick-knack they then started printing and chocolate molds for companies that want to do is to their specific ones the 3rd front they ever did was for a implant of a girl the head and brain cancer and every cancer so bone cancer and and the doctors found out about this I publicly available through the printer they came right in work other the teams they scanned her left foot piece that wasn't didn't have cancer 3 printed a model for the other vote for the other foot to use that as a metal molds to then do this like this
in plant and the girls now like fast on the road to recovery this is within 2 weeks of providing this technology you know a lot of people said 3 printers on the desk for a lot of our time like these guys are just really really hungry for going for
I some of the other coal technologies you guys as in the CNC machine out their computer American troll was really cause a lot of these machines is that you don't have to be on the ground to help design and build these things
so this is here we are at an Internet conference almost all these machines work via the Internet so we're working with a Japanese group right now university that designing a new type of house that is Lily computer numeric controlled cut out the air our so this is them this is the Pauli guys cutting out the designs by the Japanese guys always have 1 Japanese gonna around this having this house that we're building is on the what's the next photo a
photo of the the house that they built in the Philippines in partnership with a fat network and
this is called where like these different tech technologies can mean not always work index around but that the and it's in this is this is kind of the new you know the old the old system is where people have to go beyond the ground for 6 months of the time get local context things like this a year ago but now a growing out that's where designers and the and technology that it all back but see that and so it is a
house this house is 1 of the bill to the Philippines and same thing designed which people in Japan assembled on the ground or computer cut out really cool structure so solution
comes a housing this providing alternative because people outside the box thinking and and try new things and were currently because you can always gets a lot of these tools and technologies in the countries that were working and sometimes you have to build them and so this is what we're currently constructing a poor announcement Plasma Cutting CNC machines so rather than cutting out would know cut of matter and you can see there is 1 in a Paul you can go on your shop and buy a i'm definitely jealous of the instance in China where the Q. is 100 thousand dollars go by a bunch of equipment we you were not always able to do that and so we're actually having a really a hack these systems and figure out how it is that we can build the stuff using the local resources this also makes it more scalable people can take this will work out that the bugs and other people can replicated elsewhere and but and then just for
fun and there's actually been doing a lot of work with armed drones and so the technology that's coming out with that so a lot of building assessment this is actually a how will be pretty printing the tactile map of our
properties via drone software that will run take thousands of photos stitch together then created online computer model so here we're doing some assessments of of getting structural measurements in all the service staff of damaged buildings without actually having to even go in the building which line of let's say specially after the an earthquake contains a lot of the tremors afterwards and this humanitarian world is very very just it's starting to know it needs to innovate as not exactly sure what that looks like this definite popping up here and there and yeah but this whole maker movement is a little buzz things like this this do-it-yourself what is this mean so coming in September we figured why
not sure many of you have heard make a fair and we're bringing in our make fair to the fall for the 1st time and and it's also been be the world's 1st on humanitarian focus to make a fair so a lot of this make affairs are about you know creating this screen craft which is great it's getting a lot of the western world back into the act of making and doing things for yourself but how we really going to display to the UN to humanitarian systems what is the possibility of this technology and especially when you give this technology to the people that can really use and a scalar on around and but back to how the aid industry is going to innovate it's currently trying to innovate from within but what it really needs to do is a new stick a lot of these people like the people that are in this room that are very naturally innovators they're very naturally thinking forward and invite them into the system so there is some examples of where the IT systems trying to develop from within and it's a very slow going process whereas you look around us enough from San Francisco as a hotbed of innovation were Stonecreek these pathways to where these people the very naturally innovate para coming in and influencing the more traditional he'd system I say this because this is basically an open call to get involved and they're like people in this room is a lot of different ways to get involved whether it's you know online design where your you and 1 of our machines they're building something there is an energy what is it called maker nets yeah absolutely so that make a net we don't always have to go beyond the ground for 6 months a year at a time you can get model on a different ways we are doing an open call for makers of for the Maker Faire which means you know if you guys wanna makers have been kicking around little ideas that could potentially have humanitarian impact this is a great example to now I go try it on the ground but also to get in front of a lot of the major aid organizations are based in Canada the and I think that's a fair questions if you want to have the movement
high sampling of for that was little time must half of in 1 you talking about and uh a lot of these things will the Internet and my friend was here like a couple weeks ago and I was asking him if he does like online learning of 3 universities it it it's or something and that he told me that he has issues Katmandu about the Internet access that is so
slow so had and how you overcome those kind of problems on how we overcome is we pay a whole lot for Putin so Nancy looking like Internet as a shared resources are resource centers and so I think we can retrieve 400 hours for fiber-optic Internet which Unisys technology leapfrogging that's happening on these countries so we were able to go straight to high-speed fiber-optic Internet then really share that so that doesn't solve the entire cities problem but it is it is coming faster and faster the and you said before that you were provided with some sense sort of technological devices so stuff that you can use by the and what to think that organizations like the UN or the EU could do to to help you innovate humanitarian aid system like in terms of what they should do more what they should stop doing what they should improved to help you and I think it's it's it's on the way there is the road humanitarian summits and in a couple weeks and Istanbul and that is going to be looking at a lot of these different things so I think it is showing the support from communities like this and not having had them stumble on discovered on themselves this coming for the Maker Faire choose getting it right out of a window shopping for them and in some ways they have to you know that's where they can adapt itself to know 1st what's going on and storage have trying to do a lot of that proof of concept Proof concept is always really good large humanitarian systems and governments can have a really hard time innovating because there's no room for failure so smaller more nimble groups we costly suspicious of say failure so prototyping getting these ideas and designs out so they can be adapted by larger organizations is a really good way yeah thanks some fuel also working to the support you given a subfield ready to
some over the years but in the humanitarian system ritual critiquing with this I would agree with your analysis very top-down policies everyday but has probably spent about a quarter of a billion dollars all
in trying to monitoring innovation and as vindicated through various degrees of success for that but the frontier in response in the polls about because although the pledged amount was about 4 billion US dollars or those different amounts quoted on on on just wondering kind of do with the cat with the character of what you a concern change substantially if you have access maybe not to a quarter of billion US dollars that maybe a couple of millions of US dollars to really support you to read all with the character of what you do change like if we got this if we were able to mobilize a model development money to support the maker movement in the pool and to try and build up also bottom-up approach to think that we change what you do you to think you'd like to learn the enhanced with it and it's a really really good question I the bampot seen
a lot of smaller innovative nonprofit stock and get large funding literally it's like you know giving an 18 year-old Ferrari a billion dollars and being like what's gonna happen if you do this and so we've actually were just now starting to apply with yeah hangs likely words were just now starting to apply for institutional funding and this is 6 years on we really feel like our identities become strong enough as an organization so that where we can start to take on this finding a lot of a lotta groups a scholarly that's scrubbing funded driven and before you know it big risk and that your constant looking back at where the money's coming from this set of what the need is in front of you and so that is a very serious concern why we've taken 6 years doing this very painstakingly and have adopted a much more of a business model I've also seen a lot of organizations get half a million a million dollars and then 2 years later they're like OK were out of money an amazing program stops and so that's becoming very if you ask me that the village dollars the least sustainable thing on earth so you have to be really careful found and how it is you do scale really do your due diligence so that freedom model out people ask how how have we been able to do this without large institutional funding and it comes back to that dignity part 2 when people can pay a little bit of something for service or product there's a lot more dignity in that not just getting handout and so we have a very and sliding scale business model to where you know the the you accepted pairs and well in order to do that the you center and talk a lot and the back turn right around and allows the guidance to come in and build bunk beds for his kids to do it for for next to nothing we still we charge a little bit of something so there's that value within the space the the yes
thank you the that I think you facing in the powerless a lot of co-option and and
sometimes have say experience sets in a government was a cease-fire out as an option tools tool and get to it off from San task for school is a that in school was get the system running and how do you cope with this difficult task so all operators the government into in your own saying and from him what's looking for humans who we always some your his work with the government as much as possible as I believe that the humanitarian systems should and do
and it's you look at the look at example I think the Paul's actually manage the response there really well in that you know the UN and the UN and I believe I could be wrong with the ewens budget in Haiti is potentially more than the government's budget is and they agreed market and see really careful where like you know he is become is now like in a dependent states and because all these people gone in without information from the government and they just come in and and things and then you have some place like China we have a very very strict you know before you go into any sort of project it's got the very government approved I think that the Neapolis actually played that system really well and as far as it being having controlled where that's not dominated by the international response and still actually doing institutional strengthening within the government it is frustrating sometimes to the humanitarian sector when you want to come in and get something done and you gotta go through the government but in the long term that's really there and 1 of the things were challenged with right now is that that International's can only be in the Paul for 5 months in a calendar year so that's really forced us to like OK how quickly a we give you a transition from mostly internationally in the organization to Neapolitan that's already happened yeah in the Navy as a few
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