In its pursuit of innovation for humanitarian action, the IIHA has launched partnerships with the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance at the University of Northampton as well as with the Centre for Innovation at Leiden University. Both thought leaders in technology and innovation, these partners will allow for collaboration and further impact of the IIHA’s training and research on blockchain, data and innovation management, and technology for humanitarian action.
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August 3, 2017, New York – The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University is proud to announce a formal partnership with the Centre for Innovation (CFI) at Leiden University. This partnership will allow both organizations to broaden their exploration of technology and innovation from the humanitarian perspective. Dedicated to advancing the methods and framework by which humanitarian workers operate, Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs in New York City continually strives to find practical and efficient responses to global crises. In this effort, the IIHA stimulates new strategies for the development of technology and inclusion of tech and private sectors in humanitarian action.
The Centre for Innovation at Leiden University located in The Hague, the Netherlands is a university do-tank that explores and creates projects at the intersection of education, technology, and society. Aiming to leverage the Data Revolution for the benefit of humanity, one of the Centre’s flagship projects is HumanityX. HumanityX is a multidisciplinary support team for pioneers in the peace, justice and humanitarian sector who want to spearhead digital innovations to tackle global challenges from a people’s perspective.
The partnership between the two organizations is strengthened by their shared commitment to education and technology that promotes social good and ethical humanitarian response through research, training, prototype development and events. Both institutions will further incorporate lessons and trainings in data, technology and innovation to their humanitarian curricula and projects with partners.
“The partnership with Leiden is a clear example of how by working together – by combining our intellectual resources and our wide range of contacts both within and outside the humanitarian sector – Fordham and Leiden will be able to do great things. Ultimately, what we both want is simple – to make humanitarian assistance as simple and as effective as possible,” said Brendan Cahill, IIHA Executive Director.
“Structural collaboration between organizations like ours is critical so that we may align our efforts better, and make sure we can strengthen the humanitarian and educational ecosystem we are part of,” said Jorn Poldermans, Innovation Manager at Leiden University’s CFI.
The first initiative brought forth by the partnership was the first course in Data and Innovation Management in Humanitarian Action hosted at Fordham University in New York City where humanitarian workers learned from leading data, technology and innovation experts from all over the world.
Upcoming collaborations include the annual summer school entitled Big Data for Peace and Justice hosted at Leiden University in August and a blockchain summit in conjunction with the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance in New York City on November 10, 2017.
Furthermore, IIHA Innovation Fellow, Giulio Coppi, and CFI Innovation Manager, Jorn Poldermans, will collaborate to produce joint research on technological trends within the humanitarian space and design prototypes for humanitarian practitioners.
Ultimately, both organizations hope to contribute to humanitarian interventions that build on the most impactful technological advances of the century for the benefit of crisis-affected populations they aim to serve.
I first learned about the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance course for aid workers and professional humanitarian actors in 2006. It seemed, on paper, as if the IDHA was especially designed for a person like myself: working in the developing world and searching to bring additional knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. That would turn out to be true.
I attended IDHA 23, held in Nairobi in November 2007, on a scholarship. That generosity has enabled me to pass on to my own people – and others throughout the region – a skillset and way of looking at problems resulting in sustainable solutions. The course changed my whole conception of what it means to be a professional humanitarian aid worker. I honestly can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the professional courses of the IDHA.
I was surprised when I was first told of IDHA founder Dr. Kevin Cahill’s familiarity with Somalia and Somaliland – advising top officials of various governments since the 1960s and more importantly, always assisting the people on the ground. I was surprised in the sense that many people have come to “help” and then gone on to the next crisis. Few have kept a consistent relationship for over a half-century. That is what friendship and “humanitarian action” should mean. And that is what the IDHA courses mean as well. Dr. Cahill’s founding in 1994, with his friend and colleague, the honored Elder Abdulrahim Abby Farah, was a further continuation of that friendship. After the civil war ended, Dr. Cahill, Abdulrahim Abby Farah and the CIHC were able to fill a gap in the field at a time when the people of Somaliland needed such an organization. A problem was assessed and a solution utilizing the skills of the people of Hargeisa was found.
Personally, undergoing the IDHA 23 diploma shed light on my experiences and career, allowing me to work with many organizations. I have had the opportunity to work with UNESCO and Save the Children, where I became Program Coordinator of Education for Emergencies projects. From there, I went to the International Organization for Migration as Program Officer for Mixed Migration/Counter Human Trafficking. I was later appointed to a national officer post. Currently, I am Head of Office for the International Organization for Migration in the Hargeisa Sub-Office where I supervise 20 national staff implementing six projects, including WASH/Health, institutional capacity building, migration management, emergency assistance, and voluntary return and reintegration programs.
It was the IIHA team’s encouragement and persistence that taught me that I can accomplish what I set out to do and be the finest professional. I also learned to expect these same high standards from my colleagues. I know that I am capable, but it will take hard work and lots of dedication. Your team promoted an environment where I felt like I was able to not only share my contributions but also to know my input was also considered and appreciated. If I can pass that wisdom onto others, the training and support the IIHA offered me was a smart investment.
I have had many teachers in my life and I can honestly say none has inspired me as much as Larry Hollingworth. He really goes the extra mile – sometimes the extra 10 miles – for students.
I hope to become an individual that makes your institution proud, epitomizingthe values the IIHA stands for and by which you have built your highly-regarded reputation.
Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community who need my professional services. I promise you I will work very hard and continue to give back to others, too.
Thank you again for your generosity and support Kevin Cahill.
Ruth Jebb, Humanitarian Nurse and IDHA Alumna, Awarded Florence Nightingale Medal for Exceptional Courage and Devotion
July 17, 2017, New York – In her everyday life in Brisbane, Australia, Ruth Jebb (IDHA 37 alumna) works as a Clinical Nurse Consultant at a large tertiary hospital, but when disaster strikes abroad she takes on the role of nurse and midwife as an emergency responder deployed with the Red Cross and the Australian Medical Assistance Team.
Throughout her myriad of deployments she has provided lifesaving care during earthquakes in New Zealand and Nepal, typhoons in the Philippines, conflict in South Sudan, cholera outbreaks in Chad, among other trying situations. More recently, she has focused on training local health care responders in community health provision, psychosocial support, and maternal, neonatal and child health care.
Twelve years after beginning her humanitarian health care career in northern Kenya, Ruth was awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal this past May. The award acknowledges five Australians who have shown “exceptional courage and devotion to the sick, wounded or disabled in conflict or disaster zones.”
She was selected by a commission of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Council of Nurses.
Whether at home or in humanitarian situations abroad, Ruth remains committed to her responsibility to “support, mentor, teach and lead.” However, in humanitarian settings, the distinct lack of access to resources, intense workloads and contextual differences poses a more severe set of challenges.
“Back at home, I often take it for granted that we work in a protected environment, where people are able to access quality health care safely and efficiently. We have all the resources we need to provide care to those who need it. Often, when working in developing contexts and post-disaster environments, it can be heartbreaking hearing the stories of people travelling for days to reach health care facilities, or of those who never make it, often with ailments that require simple life-saving and life-changing interventions. It can be confronting not being able to provide the same standard of care that we are so accustomed to back home.”
Security issues further impede these efforts, often adding another layer of complexity.
“Although personal safety is a priority it can be incredibly frustrating to be limited by security incidents that are occurring either directly or indirectly, especially when it involves life and death situations amongst the community you are there to assist.”
In 2007, she was deployed on a nine-month mission to manage the ICRC’s Therapeutic Feeding Center in Gereida, Darfur. Home to close to 145,000 internally displaced persons, Gereida was “a challenging mission, not only as a result of the direct impact of looking after so many unwell, undernourished and often dying children, but also because of the ongoing security risks that were a reality of our day-to-day life.”
Ruth recalls one incident when her vehicle was hijacked at gunpoint. She escaped the situation unscathed, but the access the team was allowed to have in that location was consequently impeded, drastically affecting the impact of their mission.
In spite of such challenges, Ruth managed patient intake and triaged thousands of patients in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, the deadliest in the country on record killing 6,300 people. She also coordinated the activities of four Red Cross hospitals and 6 mobile health units following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.
On these missions, her main objective has been to offer training to local health care workers in pursuit of more sustainable disaster relief.
“Supporting and prioritizing capacity building is paramount in disaster response. Not only does mentoring and training become an avenue for relationship building, but it also enhances local capacity for future disaster responses. Committing to developing the skills and training of the local staff is also key to engagement and acceptance,” she said.
Honored to receive this award, Ruth accredits the motivation for her work to groups like the Australian Red Cross, who have an “unwavering commitment to helping those in need, whether it be locally or in our backyard, or in the context of an international humanitarian crisis.”
“For me the Red Cross embraces the responsibility of placing value upon humanity,” she says.
Ruth Jebb is an alumna of the IIHA’s International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance.
Angela Wells, IIHA Communications Officer
Johanna Lawton, IIHA Communications Intern
Fordham University’s Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs and the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance Partner to Design Technological Solutions for Humanitarian Challenges
July 10, 2017, New York – The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University and the Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance are pleased to announce a formal partnership. The academic partnership will allow for the continuation and further development of both institutions’ growing focus on innovation and technology for humanitarian action and social good.
Grounded in social justice and humanitarian ethics, the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs endeavors to make the global response to humanitarian crises sustainable, effective, and dignified. In pursuit of this mission, the IIHA Innovation Lab facilitates the development of new solutions to complex humanitarian challenges surrounding data and technological advancement.
The Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise & Governance (CCEG), has been working since 2011, growing a research hub “concerned with the development and use of impact metrics as a measure to promote a just, prosperous and sustainably secure global society.” Since early 2016, CCEG has moved from capturing non-financial and intangible value to transacting it through the Seratio distributed ledger technology.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed by both organizations will further strengthen the cooperation which began two months ago on the role and potential of blockchain technology in humanitarian action.
The agreement starts a series of exchanges in research and education and anticipates the launch of joint events and projects that will aim to facilitate the development of blockchain-based humanitarian solutions.
“Together we will investigate the potential and challenges of ‘smart’ humanitarian services, particularly surrounding the circular economy and humanitarian financing. CCEG will bring its expertise in intangible impact measurement, and collaborate in developing policies, metrics and indicators to be used on blockchain platforms to bring to the light the effective value of classic but hard to measure humanitarian interventions, such as protection or prevention,” said Giulio Coppi, IIHA Innovation Fellow.
Visioning the partnership outcomes, Professor Olinga Ta’eed said “This is one of the most exciting collaborations we have ever secured, leveraging the internationally recognised expertise and authority of Fordham’s IIHA to bring sustainable and scalable solutions to the world’s most difficult intractable problems through blended HumTech and SocialTech instruments.”
The two organizations previously held a joint-event in May 2017, entitled Measuring and Delivering Intangible Impact through Blockchain. Professor Coppi joined CCEG Director Olinga Ta’eed and Barbara Mellish, President of Blockchain Alliance for Good, for the roundtable discussion on multi-sector approaches of blockchain for social good.
The partnership between the two institutions will facilitate further opportunities to co-host events, co-develop concrete technological tools for humanitarian action, and launch joint initiatives on blockchain and emerging technologies.
The next initiative will be a Blockchain for Humanity Summit hosted in New York City at Fordham University in October of 2017.
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs