Digital Humanitarian Network Summit 2013: Summary and Outcomes

Posted on Jan 13, 2014 in Conferences, Crisis Response, Events


The Digital Humanitarian Network Summit 2013 was held in Nairobi, Kenya. Hundreds of members of the response community had gathered for International Conference of Crisis Mappers 2013, and DHN was an pertinent, actionable followup to a meeting of minds around crisis mapping and humanitarian response.

The weekend focused on the following breakout sessions:

  1. Why do we only do/deploy for big disasters?
  2. DC Event for Yolanda After Action
  3. Education and Publicity
  4. Meeting Needs in the Field + Data: Volunteer and Community Engagement

1. Why do we only deploy for big disasters?
Thus far, the DHNetwork has only been activated for large, well-publicized disasters. It was agreed that the Network should actively seek out and deploy for smaller disasters in addition to humanitarian responses scenarios. Once that had been established the challenge becomes brodacasting the existence and availability of the Network in times of crisis and need to organizations and communities currently unaware of our existence or willingness to provide aid. How do we publicize how to activate the Network? Do we publicize more or through different avenues? How do we encourage organizational and community leaders to use our resources? These questions are part of our ongoing research and are currently being explored in further depth.

2. After-Action Engagement
Response during a crisis is much easier to maintain energy for and keep the public’s eye upon – conversely, post-event reconstruction is incredibly difficult to keep momentum for and resources dedicated to, especially in the long-term scenarios such as Typhoon Yolanda. The DHNetwork proposed that further events be dedicated to increasing awareness, publicity, and resources for post-crisis response action.

3. Education and Publicity
Attendees sketched out a general, preliminary idea of how to educate the public on what we do and why, and how to get involved or deploy our network. This session included plans on eventual press kits, educational curriculum, and PR campaigns might look like.

4. Meeting Needs in the Field + Data: Volunteer and Community Engagement
A challenge for the Network is how to keep volunteers engaged before, during and after deployments. Volunteers are key in all deployments and they need to be recognized and given the opportunity to be part of the decision-making processes in the field. In order to support that endeavor, we are focusing on making appropriate data-driven decision-making resources, in order to provide transparency and motivate our volunteer responders. In order to keep this community sustainable, we are introducing local meetups and physical badges/PDF certificates. We are seeking local community facilitators to aid in this process, setup, and maintenance of local volunteer communities.


Initiatives To Be Implemented
In addition to the discussions, we compiled a list of actionable initatives for the Network to put into practice over the upcoming year.

  • Mapping the Network: A process map of deployment across the network, meant to aid in resource allotment, etc.
  • Creation of an updated activation request template based on process map.
  • Local Meetups: Last Saturday of each month as a meeting time across the globe.
  • Plan of action for engaging/educating data providers and activators.
  • Ticketing System: Creation of a ticketing system for the streamlined delineation of tasks during an activation and deployment.

Future Endeavors and Projects

  • Defining the Role of Coordinators
  • Website-Integrated Dashboard Design for Ticketing System
  • Setting up a Network Member Voting System
  • New Members Selection
  • Member Organizations Present
    GISCorps : Heather MIlton
    Standby Task Force : Justine Mackinnon, Brendan O’Hanrahan, Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Per Aarvik, Joseph Pollack, Nicole Rodgers (remote), Giuseppe Calamita (remote)
    SWoB : Andrew Sila first day.
    UN OCHA : Luis Capelo
    HOT : Severin Menard
    CODE : Oludotun Babayemi
    ESRI : Ryan Lanclos, Paul Doherty Crisis Response team : Christiaan Adams
    MapAction : Helen Campbell
    Geeks Without Bounds: Lindsay Oliver and Willow Brugh
    Ushahidi : Angela Oduor
    Humanity Road : Cat Graham (remote)

    Non Network Attendees
    US State Department : Joshua Campbell, Benson Wilder, Oliver Mertz
    OpenCrisis : Sara-Jayne Terp (remote)
    AIESEC : Ndetto Mbalu
    Save The Children Kenya : Lynda
    Crisis Cleanup : Andrew Gimma
    Timothie Biggs
    Red Cross Kenya : Philip Ogola

    Many thanks to 88 MPH Garage for hosting our event!