OCHA PDSB Humanitarian Policy Forum, New York
Convening Experts on Humanitarian Innovation
In late 2012, we designed the UN’s annual global conference on innovation in the humanitarian sector. Archimedes’ simple principle of leverage was used to deconstruct the challenge, demystify the idea of innovation, and guide the conversation to actionable outcomes.
A special emphasis was placed on seeking different voices with non-Western backgrounds and perspectives, and policy-makers with strong field experience. We used our extensive network of such people, including nationals from Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries where a top-down approach is often imposed. The net was widened further to include ‘outsiders’ who might encourage the group to push the boundaries beyond the conventional space in which we tend to operate. Representatives of leading universities were included in this group, such as UC-Berkeley, Harvard, and Singularity.
Participants and residents of ‘Never Never’ in Cape Town study an aerial photograph of their informal settlement during a community risk assessment course, conducted by DiMP (Periperi U initiative in Africa)
In mid-2012, we designed and delivered a two-day workshop that brought together over 40 individuals from 11 countries, primarily from eastern and southern Africa.
Delegates included academic institutions from the PeriPeri University disaster risk reduction (DRR) partnership, regional organisations (SADC), National and religious NGOs and Red Cross Societies, as well as regional representatives of IFRC, WFP, UNICEF, IOM and USAID.
The participants brought a diverse range of experience and expertise in the fields of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response in an effort to improve the effectiveness of partnerships in responding to the current and changing nature of emergencies in the region.