From unrest in the Ukraine to typhoons in the Philippines, crisis events are being amplified by technology like never before: Digital maps show devastation in real time; live tweets share minute-by-minute updates. And technology is also playing a key role in crisis response—helping aid providers get food to survivors, or coordinating medical supply delivery.
This week, the tech and aid communities converge on Boston to explore these opportunities—and challenges—at the Humanitarian Technology 2014 conference. With sponsors including IBM and Stanford University Press, and speakers ranging from the MIT Media Lab to USAID, the event promises to be a unique “mash-up” of tech innovators and aid providers. Souktel is honored to share the stage with Google, Microsoft and IBM, to discuss lessons learned from its roll-out of mobile crisis response solutions across the Middle East.
Since Souktel’s start in 2006, mobile humanitarian services have been a core part of its work: One of the venture’s early achievements was its launch of data collection tools to support aid agencies in Gaza, during the region’s 2008 conflict. Today, Souktel’s supply chain management, data gathering, and large-scale messaging platforms are deployed in natural disasters and conflict zones by the Red Cross/Red Crescent, World Food Programme contractors, and the International Rescue Committee, among others. Last year, UN-OCHA director Valerie Amos praised Souktel’s technology for “giv[ing] agencies up-to-the-minute information so that they can take quick and informed decisions about what to do”. Previously, during the East Africa food crisis, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commended Souktel for providing “life-saving information to people across the region, so they know where relief can be found.”
“There’s tremendous opportunity for technology to increase the effectiveness of crisis response,” explains Souktel CTO Michael Moszczynski. Recently, Moszczynski led a team of Soukteldevelopers in building a first-ever Middle East supply chain management platform, to streamline medical aid delivery to Syrian refugees. “This event is a great opportunity for Souktel to share lessons learned from our experience, and also to learn from our peers in the sector”.