[SE01-HUM] From Face-to-Face to Messaging Apps: Communicating with Communities in Complex Emergencies

DAY 1 – Monday 2 May – 15:30-17:00
SwissTech | Room 1C | Level Garden

Moderator | Summary | Panelists | Background Documents



Jacobo Quintanilla – @jqg
International Committee of the Red Cross, Switzerland

Jacobo Quintanilla is ICRC’s Community Engagement Advisor. He has been working at the intersection of media, communications, and technology in the humanitarian sector for the last 10 years in more than 20 countries with a passion for communication as form of aid in its own right. He is 2012 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow and also serves as Technical Reviewer for the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) and in the judging panel on Best Use of Mobile in Humanitarian Situations for the GSMA Global Mobile Awards.



Send @jqg your questions for the panel and follow the conversation on Twitter using #T4D2016 and #commisaid

Today, with more mobiles phones than people in the world, how are local communities having a say in the relief of their own countries? How are humanitarian organizations currently engaging with, and being held to account by, communities? And, very critically, can technology create a false sense of engagement and accountability? Eighteen months of research on the Philippines post-cyclone Haiyan relief efforts seems to suggest so as aid agencies failed to make substantive corrections based on people’s feedback.

Complex emergencies, however, from Yemen to Ukraine to the Central African Republic, raise specific challenges: insecurity and limited physical access, restoring disrupted energy and telecommunications infrastructure, communities’ limited access and skills to use technologies, data protection and the ever-presence of rumors, misinformation, and propaganda are the norm.

Delivering assistance and assessing its reach and effectiveness is increasingly becoming more challenging for humanitarian organisations. Collecting data and engaging with communities can also make local populations and aid agencies susceptible to digital surveillance and data breaches. How can the humanitarian sector be better prepared to “Do No (digital) Harm”? And looking ahead, how is the global communications landscape going to change over the next five years and where does that leave the aid world?

This panel will discuss these and other critical issues, and will highlight concrete initiatives, obstacles and (missed) opportunities for partnerships in the 21st century.