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Deloitte backs humanitarian orgs providing tech-enabled crises aid

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By Danielle Lee
December 23, 2013

Deloitte announced it will help two humanitarian organizations design technology solutions to tackle global issues including natural disasters, famine, human rights violations and conflicts through the new Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program.

AtrocityWatch and the International Organization for Migration were selected for their technology-based solutions that will improve how organizations communicate, coordinate and deliver help on the ground during crises. Details of the project were announces at a recent United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs event at the UN in New York.

"Deloitte believes that when the private and public sectors combine their skills and work together – in new and innovative ways - we can better tackle the big issues facing society today,” said Deloitte CEO Barry Salzberg in a statement. “It's a responsibility and a privilege to bring what we do best to the vital work of these organizations. Adding our innovative thinking to the skills of startups, such as AtrocityWatch, and established organizations, like IOM, allows us to leverage each other's expertise to create solutions that better enable the sector to prepare and respond to crises."

Deloitte professionals will team with AtrocityWatch, a technology startup that monitors global atrocities, to help develop a big sate application using social media and person-centered data globally to provide early warning for potential mass atrocities. By providing data analytics and cyber security expertise, the professionals will help guide the creation of a mobile application to link people under threat with decision-makers who can respond.

"AtrocityWatch's mission is to couple vanguard technologies and analytical techniques with humanitarian expertise to prevent atrocities around the world," stated founder Geoff Green. "Collaborating with the Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program will enable AtrocityWatch to deliver on our mission for decades to come."

Meanwhile, Deloitte UK’s Switzerland office will work with IOM, an intergovernmental organization that facilitates the orderly and humane management of displaced populations, to help with a systems model to manage refugee migration and enable the different organizations involved to stay better informed, coordinated and connected to each other during crises. The technology will enhance the information sharing between sector-specific responders so that these organizations can work together in camps to coordinate the delivery of life-saving support.

"Accurate and timely information sharing is vital. Our goal through this collaboration is to design an operating model that will enhance the real-time processing of information between humanitarian cluster coordinators offsite with those on the ground managing the day-to-day needs of the humanitarian camps," stated Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of the department of operations and emergencies. "This is especially relevant in the context of the current Philippines disaster response, where cross-sectoral concerns are closely linked with mobility. The new model, will further improve exchange of information, and help provide the population with multi-sectoral assistance."

Deloitte member firms will be executing the program with joint humanitarian-Deloitte project teams over the next three to six months, with the projects formally beginning in early 2014.

Developed after broad consultations with leading humanitarian organizations that identified the need for innovation and collaboration with the private sector, the program has already successfully delivered projects with UN OCHA and Save the Children International.

 "When disasters strike, Save the Children International must be ready to rapidly transform its operations from every-day activities to a large-scale emergency response,” stated deputy humanitarian director of operations David Wightwick. “The more efficiently we can do this, the more people in crisis our organization can potentially reach with life-saving food, shelter, and supplies. We asked Deloitte to assess how effectively we scale up and scale down our local operations during international humanitarian crises, knowing that they would draw on their broad experience of tackling similar challenges within the private and public sectors.  The resulting findings have provided us with a deep analysis of the way we operate, and a framework for how we can strengthen our model in the future."

Deloitte’s goal is to share the outcome of these projects to benefit the wider humanitarian sector, which can scale the solutions.

More information on the Humanitarian Innovation Program can be found here, or by watching the video on the UN OCHA leadership development project.

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