Technologies in Humanitarian Settings: Supporting Community-led ICTs

Turner W, Khan S, and Vinck P.
Publication language
Date published
01 Dec 2022
Case study
Community-led, Technological, Engaging with affected populations, Innovation

The digital transformation of humanitarian action was made possible by significant donor support and investment that are generally only possible within large and well-established organisations, largely failing to engage and support community-led ICT innovations.

The absence and inconsistencies in defining ‘local’ and ‘community-led’ processes hinder meaningful local ownership and decision-making roles in ICT development and implementation.

Risk-adverse funding practices and other barriers (e.g. organisation registration) to direct funding of community-led ICTs perpetuate top-down dynamics and power asymmetries.

“Checkbox” approaches to community representation in community-led ICT development and implementation does not guarantee representation and/or engagement with the community needs of those affected and could even reinforce pre-existing exclusionary practices.

Donors should consider increased flexibility, risk tolerance, direct support, and long-term commitment as pilar of their support for community-led ICT innovations.