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The drive towards humanitarian innovation has been in the forefront of the global humanitarian agenda for the past decade. A prominent example of this drive is the promotion of humanitarian assistance through cash as opposed to in-kind, which led to the adoption of technology not only in search for efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability, but also in aspiration for organizational survival. Where the dominant explanation for this donor-led drive is closing the funding gap by giving better not giving more, its adoption by implementers seems to fall in line with the “innovate or die” slogan. Yet, this merger between the mostly privately-led technological innovation and humanitarian programming is subjected to sector- and context-specific challenges. Taking Lebanon as a prototype of humanitarian innovation and drawing upon experiences of practitioners, experts, and researchers, this panel explores the intricacies and opportunities of instrumentalizing technology in the humanitarian sector. It also addresses the roles that the humanitarian—techno-innovation merger play in the formation of relationships between the stakeholders involved in the process.
We invite contributions that address any of the following topics: implementation and local context challenges; datafication of cash assistance and refugees’ identities; techno-humanitarianism in cash assistance; fin-tech and refugee governance; data responsibility and compliance in the donor-implementers-private sector chain; humanitarian innovation for vulnerable local and displaced communities.
Glenda Garelli, email@example.com
Nadine Hassouneh, firstname.lastname@example.org