New technologies (NTIC)
The digital revolution is having a profound effect on every sector, including humanitarian action. It has created operational opportunities for organisations, making it easier to collect, analyse and send useful information in real time. People are also part of this digital revolution. For example, depending on the region, the percentage of people with mobile phones in the world is between 60% and 120%. The digital revolution therefore does not only have an impact on the sector in terms of internal operational methods, it also has an impact in terms of the sector’s relation to people, and therefore is contributing to a major transformation of aid practices.
Over the decades, the sector has been established as a long chain of intermediaries from the taxpayer to the operational NGO, via governments, international NGOs and UN agencies. But the internet and smartphone applications are disintermediation tools that question the need to have all these links in the chain.
These new technologies also transform organisations’ decision-making processes and their relations to other aid stakeholders (from the population to donors). Information management has thus become an key issue for modern humanitarian organisations and new jobs are emerging in relation to this area.
These changes bring new ways of gaining access to information, knowledge and resources, but they also bring new challenges for organisations who have to adapt and anticipate the systemic changes that these innovations bring.