The multibillion-dollar humanitarian aid industry is missing a leg — communication.
Timothy Large, editor of three news services at Thomson Reuters Foundation, said that often, relief agencies and aid workers don’t bother to talk to the very people they are helping. He said people affected by disasters are almost always the last in the communication chain.
There are plenty of opportunities to break this monotony — which is important — especially with the increasing popularity of mobile technology. On average, 200,000 text messages are sent every second worldwide.
Aid agencies as well as the United Nations need to employ the use of technology — and use it well — in their system, for greater efficiency and to stay on top of the game. Paul Currion, a consultant specializing in information management and humanitarian coordination, worries that otherwise, the aid community could end up like the record industry — “still staggering along, still providing services, but increasingly irrelevant.”
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