Looking Ahead: Medair’s Commitment to Innovation
Even in the midst of humanitarian response, Medair’s team of aid workers seek opportunities to find better and new ways to assist people affected by conflict or natural disaster. We often work in partnerships to conduct research, pilot studies, and support policies that integrate new approaches into humanitarian interventions.
Drones for good
In the aftermath of a devastating series of earthquakes in Nepal, Medair relied on drones to map the impact of a large landslide in Bijulikot. Community members’ livelihoods were affected by the landslide, which also had the potential to threaten lives. Data gathered using the drones enabled our team to inform the community and advocate for additional assistance from the government.
Medair is part of a University of Zurich study on the ethical use of drones in humanitarian action, together with MSF (Doctors Without Borders), the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO). The research project is funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS), co-founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, and hosted by the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine at the University of Zurich. One expected outcome from the research will be a draft framework for the ethical use of drones in humanitarian contexts.
Tackling malnutrition the digital way
Acute malnutrition affects an estimated one million children in South Sudan. Each week thousands of mothers carry tattered paper cards back and forth from treatment centers to track the progress of their children. SCOPE CODA, a new application developed by WFP and being tested by Medair, aims to replace the booklets with smart cards and to enable frontline workers to use real-time data to make decisions.
SCOPE CODA builds on WFP’s system of tracking program participants, and adds specific data needed to track individual cases of malnutrition and, when necessary, to facilitate referrals for further treatment. The project was awarded a Global Mobile “GLOMO” Award for outstanding contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, 1.5 million Syrian refugees have been living in Lebanon; often in very basic shelters on vacant plots of land. Year by year these shelters evolved into informal settlements with rudimentary structures that refugees have struggled to convert into homes.
To reach Syrian refugees living in these scattered settlements, Medair’s Information Management team created a Geographic Information System. The system gives an address to Syrian families who lost their permanent homes in the conflict. The mapped locations are updated in real time and the information made accessible to all humanitarian actors in Lebanon, so that the needs of all refugees living in informal settlements are recognized and addressed effectively. Even eight years after the initial influx of Syrian refugees, Medair maps more than 8,000 settlements every year.
In partnership with Qlik, an industry leader in business intelligence and analytics, Medair has increased the speed, scale and scope of its humanitarian assistance. Through smart use of data and analytics, Medair is revolutionizing the way aid is delivered.
This year, the Medair-Qlik project in Lebanon received the “Special Judges Award for Innovation” at the Global Good Awards and the “Innovation of the Year” award at the National Technology Awards in London. Additionally, in 2018 the project won the Corporate Engagement Awards’ “Most Innovative Collaboration” and the Third Sector Awards’ “Corporate Partnership of the Year.” This pioneering project continues to inspire a new way of working in the aid sector.
Recognized humanitarian innovators
In 2019, Medair has been recognized by the Drucker Prize (formerly known as the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation) as one of the top ten most innovative nonprofit organizations, not only for our current projects, but also for Medair’s potential to contribute to the field of innovation in the future.