Burton Bollag is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. He was based for a number of years in Europe (Geneva, Prague and Bratislava) and as chief international reporter for Chronicle of Higher Education reported widely from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He has also done radio reporting (for NPR from Geneva) and TV reporting from various locations.
Reaching people in need of aid often involves negotiating with those who control access to them — whether that is a government, rebel groups, or armed fighters. Devex meets the experts training aid workers in frontline negotiations.
When floods strike in Bangladesh, the international aid community jumps into action with a costly emergency response — but what if that could be avoided by providing help in the days before, instead of after, a disaster hits? Devex explores the rise of forecast-based financing.
For the past three years, ICRC has been developing a system that can analyze the millions of messages posted on social media to help identify humanitarian needs. Devex speaks to project lead Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet about what the system could mean for humanitarian response.
When the Trump administration named Ken Isaacs as its candidate to head up the International Organization for Migration, it sparked a furore over the Christian charity chief's past anti-Muslim social media posts. Coupled with the United States pullout from talks on creating a global compact on migration, it might now be doubtful that IOM will elect the U.S. choice to lead the vital United Nations body.
A number of NGOs may be starting to realize the potential of computer simulation and virtual reality technology in humanitarian work — but only one, the Red Cross, has its own in-house production team. Devex takes a peak inside the eight-member Virtual Reality Unit in Bangkok, Thailand, to find out what it brings to ICRC's work — from training armies in international humanitarian law to preparing its staff for challenging deployments.
An increasing number of humanitarian and charitable organizations are realizing the potential of video games in reaching a wide audience with their message. Devex speaks to gamemakers and NGOs to learn how to make it work.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has announced the launch of a Humanitarian Impact Bond as part of its search for new financing streams, aiming to raise $27.3 million to fund three physical rehabilitation centers in Mali, Nigeria and the DRC. Devex reports.