Technologies in Humanitarian Settings: Balanced, Principled, and Complementary Partnerships

Sebastián S, Melendéz Vicente J, Khan S, and Vinck P.
Publication language
Date published
01 Dec 2022
Case study
Partnerships, Technological

The development and implementation of digital technologies offer opportunities for the creation of new models of quality partnerships. However, it also carries the risk of reinforcing the imbalance of power between international and national or local actors, potentially leading to new forms of “techno-colonialism”.

The overall system and processes are not set up for balanced partnerships in support for the digital transformation of the humanitarian sector. The development of such partnership is hindered by perceptions of lack of capacity of local partners and over-confidence in the abilities of international actors.

Knowledge-sharing mechanisms between local and global organisations are mostly absent, and efforts to upskill partners are limited to implementation-related activities instead of being focused on more strategic aspects of digital skills, humanitarian innovation and programming.

Data ownership, rights and responsibilities are becoming key considerations in defining partnerships, often resulting in extractive practices that reduce the role of partners in the interpretation of results and in decision-making processes.