Leveraging Digital Networks for Humanitarian Response
The earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010 gave rise to a new way of mobilizing and coordinating disaster assistance. Thousands of “digital humanitarians” converged on the Internet to help first responders collect, triage, and visualize the unprecedented pleas for help pouring in from the mobile phones of affected Haitians.
These digital humanitarians, now known as the Volunteer & Technical Communities (V&TCs), have responded to numerous crises around the world. But concerns about organizational style, data quality and accuracy, and the utility of end products, have raised barriers to collaboration and partnerships.
The Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) was launched to serve as an interface between V&TCs and the broad humanitarian community. DHN is now a model of effective collaboration between distributed and digitally-enabled networks of citizens and more formal international organizations.