Q&A: A criticism of the 'innovation narrative'

Nathaniel Raymond, director of the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Photo by: Kris Krug / PopTech / CC BY-SA

NAIROBI — The world is facing an unprecedented number of crises. Politics, natural disasters, and climate change are fueling crises at a faster rate than the humanitarian sector is able to mobilize and respond. Now, funding is spread thinly and humanitarians are expected to do more with less. Because of this, the sector often looks to new data and information communication technology innovations to help humanitarian responses, such as implementing the use of drones, biometrics, and mobile technology.

What role can faith play in innovation?
Despite perceptions, a growing number of faith-based aid organizations are pursuing innovations in the way they work.

But not everybody agrees with how technology has been integrated into humanitarian approaches. These innovations often raise ethical questions about whether the rights and security of beneficiary populations have been properly accounted for in the rollouts of these new programs.

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About the author

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    Sara Jerving

    Sara Jerving is Devex's East Africa Correspondent based in Nairobi. She is a reporter and producer, whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Vice News, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Nation magazine, among others. Sara holds a master's degree in business and economic reporting from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was a Lorana Sullivan fellow.