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  • The humanitarian model has barely changed

  • since the early 20th century.

  • Its origins are firmly rooted

  • in the analog age.

  • And there is a major shift coming on the horizon.

  • The catalyst for this change

  • was the major earthquake that struck Haiti

  • on the 12th of January in 2010.

  • Haiti was a game changer.

  • The earthquake destroyed the capital of Port-au-Prince,

  • claiming the lives of some 320,000 people,

  • rendering homeless

  • about 1.2 million people.

  • Government institutions were completely decapitated,

  • including the presidential palace.

  • I remember standing

  • on the roof of the Ministry of Justice

  • in downtown Port-au-Prince.

  • It was about two meters high,

  • completely squashed

  • by the violence of the earthquake.

  • For those of us on the ground in those early days,

  • it was clear for even the most disaster-hardened veterans

  • that Haiti was something different.

  • Haiti was something we hadn't seen before.

  • But Haiti provided us with something else unprecedented.

  • Haiti allowed us to glimpse into a future

  • of what disaster response might look like

  • in a hyper-connected world

  • where people have access

  • to mobile smart devices.

  • Because out of the urban devastation

  • in Port-au-Prince

  • came a torrent of SMS texts --

  • people crying for help,

  • beseeching us for assistance,

  • sharing data, offering support,

  • looking for their loved ones.

  • This was a situation

  • that traditional aid agencies had never before encountered.

  • We were in one of the poorest countries on the planet,

  • but 80 percent of the people

  • had mobile devices in their hands.

  • And we were unprepared for this,

  • and they were shaping the aid effort.

  • Outside Haiti also, things were looking different.

  • Tens of thousands of so-called digital volunteers

  • were scouring the Internet,

  • converting tweets

  • that had already been converted from texts

  • and putting these into open-source maps,

  • layering them with all sorts of important information --

  • people like Crisis Mappers and Open Street Map --

  • and putting these on the Web for everybody --

  • the media, the aid organizations and the communities themselves --

  • to participate in and to use.

  • Back in Haiti,

  • people were increasingly turning

  • to the medium of SMS.

  • People that were hungry and hurting

  • were signaling their distress,

  • were signaling their need for help.

  • On street sides all over Port-au-Prince,

  • entrepreneurs sprung up

  • offering mobile phone charging stations.

  • They understood more than we did

  • people's innate need

  • to be connected.

  • Never having been confronted

  • with this type of situation before,

  • we wanted to try and understand

  • how we could tap into this incredible resource,

  • how we could really leverage

  • this incredible use of mobile technology

  • and SMS technology.

  • We started talking with a local telecom provider called Voilà,

  • which is a subsidiary of Trilogy International.

  • We had basically three requirements.

  • We wanted to communicate

  • in a two-way form of communication.

  • We didn't want to shout; we needed to listen as well.

  • We wanted to be able to target

  • specific geographic communities.

  • We didn't need to talk to the whole country at the same time.

  • And we wanted it to be easy to use.

  • Out of this rubble of Haiti and from this devastation

  • came something that we call TERA --

  • the Trilogy Emergency Response Application --

  • which has been used to support the aid effort

  • ever since.

  • It has been used to help communities prepare for disasters.

  • It has been used to signal early warning

  • in advance of weather-related disasters.

  • It's used for public health awareness campaigns

  • such as the prevention of cholera.

  • And it is even used for sensitive issues

  • such as building awareness

  • around gender-based violence.

  • But does it work?

  • We have just published

  • an evaluation of this program,

  • and the evidence that is there for all to see

  • is quite remarkable.

  • Some 74 percent of people

  • received the data.

  • Those who were intended to receive the data,

  • 74 percent of them received it.

  • 96 percent of them

  • found it useful.

  • 83 percent of them took action --

  • evidence that it is indeed empowering.

  • And 73 percent of them shared it.

  • The TERA system

  • was developed from Haiti

  • with support of engineers in the region.

  • It is a user-appropriate technology

  • that has been used for humanitarian good to great effect.

  • Technology is transformational.

  • Right across the developing world,

  • citizens and communities

  • are using technology

  • to enable them to bring about change, positive change,

  • in their own communities.

  • The grassroots has been strengthened

  • through the social power of sharing

  • and they are challenging the old models,

  • the old analog models

  • of control and command.

  • One illustration of the transformational power of technology

  • is in Kibera.

  • Kibera is one of Africa's largest slums.

  • It's on the outskirts of Nairobi,

  • the capital city of Kenya.

  • It's home to an unknown number of people --

  • some say between 250,000

  • and 1.2 million.

  • If you were to arrive in Nairobi today

  • and pick up a tourist map,

  • Kibera is represented

  • as a lush, green national park

  • devoid of human settlement.

  • Young people living in Kibera

  • in their community,

  • with simple handheld devices,

  • GPS handheld devices and SMS-enabled mobile phones,

  • have literally put themselves on the map.

  • They have collated crowd-sourced data

  • and rendered the invisible visible.

  • People like Josh and Steve

  • are continuing to layer information upon information,

  • real-time information, Tweet it and text it onto these maps

  • for all to use.

  • You can find out about the latest impromptu music session.

  • You can find out about the latest security incident.

  • You can find out about places of worship.

  • You can find out about the health centers.

  • You can feel the dynamism

  • of this living, breathing community.

  • They also have their own news network on YouTube

  • with 36,000 viewers at the moment.

  • They're showing us what can be done

  • with mobile, digital technologies.

  • They're showing that the magic of technology

  • can bring the invisible visible.

  • And they are giving a voice to themselves.

  • They are telling their own story,

  • bypassing the official narrative.

  • And we're seeing from all points on the globe similar stories.

  • In Mongolia for instance,

  • where 30 percent of the people are nomadic,

  • SMS information systems are being used

  • to track migration and weather patterns.

  • SMS is even used

  • to hold herder summits

  • from remote participation.

  • And if people are migrating

  • into urban, unfamiliar, concrete environments,

  • they can also be helped in anticipation

  • with social supporters ready and waiting for them

  • based on SMS knowledge.

  • In Nigeria,

  • open-source SMS tools

  • are being used by the Red Cross community workers

  • to gather information from the local community

  • in an attempt to better understand and mitigate

  • the prevalence of malaria.

  • My colleague, Jason Peat, who runs this program,

  • tells me it's 10 times faster and 10 times cheaper

  • than the traditional way of doing things.

  • And not only is it empowering to the communities,

  • but really importantly,

  • this information stays in the community

  • where it is needed to formulate long-term health polices.

  • We are on a planet

  • of seven billion people,

  • five billion mobile subscriptions.

  • By 2015,

  • there will be three billion smartphones in the world.

  • The U.N. broadband commission

  • has recently set targets

  • to help broadband access

  • in 50 percent of the Developing World,

  • compared to 20 percent today.

  • We are hurtling towards a hyper-connected world

  • where citizens from all cultures and all social strata

  • will have access to smart, fast mobile devices.

  • People are understanding,

  • from Cairo to Oakland,

  • that there are new ways to come together,

  • there are new ways to mobilize,

  • there are new ways to influence.

  • A transformation is coming which needs to be understood

  • by the humanitarian structures and humanitarian models.

  • The collective voices of people

  • needs to be more integrated through new technologies

  • into the organizational strategies and plans of actions

  • and not just recycled

  • for fundraising or marketing.

  • We need to, for example, embrace

  • the big data,

  • the knowledge that is there from market leaders

  • who understand what it means

  • to use and leverage big data.

  • One idea that I'd like you to consider, for instance,

  • is to take a look at our IT departments.

  • They're normally backroom or basement hardware service providers,

  • but they need to be elevated to software strategists.

  • We need people in our organizations

  • who know what it's like to work with big data.

  • We need technology

  • as a core organizational principle.

  • We need technological strategists in the boardroom

  • who can ask and answer the question,

  • "What would Amazon or Google

  • do with all of this data?"

  • and convert it to humanitarian good.

  • The possibilities

  • that new digital technologies are bringing

  • can help humanitarian organizations,

  • not only ensure

  • that people's right to information is met,

  • or that they have their right to communicate,

  • but I think in the future,

  • humanitarian organizations will also have to anticipate

  • the right for people to access

  • critical communication technologies

  • in order to ensure

  • that their voices are heard,

  • that they're truly participating,

  • that they're truly empowered in the humanitarian world.

  • It has always been the elusive ideal

  • to ensure full participation of people affected by disasters

  • in the humanitarian effort.

  • We now have the tools. We now have the possibilities.

  • There are no more reasons not to do it.

  • I believe we need to bring the humanitarian world

  • from analog to digital.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

The humanitarian model has barely changed

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【TED】Paul Conneally: Digital humanitarianism

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    Max Lin posted on 2015/12/31