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Tuesday, December 19 • 10:10 - 11:10
Data for the humanitarian field (OF75)

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Digital technologies have revolutionised the ways in which humanitarian organisations conduct needs assessments, as well as monitoring and evaluation programmes. New data is being collected for humanitarian purposes, including online information, data exhaust, geospatial data, and crowdsourced data. This session will look at the ways in which the humanitarian community can best use this data while avoiding breaches in privacy and data protection. Data literacy efforts are more than ever needed to improve our response and support more evidence based decision-making.

With the growth of localized humanitarian action, crowdsourced data and participatory mapping, there is need to conduct such analysis with the involvement and active participation of local communities. While these efforts have the combined benefit of providing more accurate depictions of needs, there are several key questions that need to be addressed, including: How to make crowdsourced data collection sustainable over longer periods of time? How to manage expectations of communities that might be anticipating immediate response? How can we better engage local communities with data readiness?

This open forum will discuss the opportunities and challenges in new forms of data collection facilitated by the digital revolution, with experts from the IFRC, as well as input from other organisations, governments, civil society, and the business sector.
Tag 1: Big Data
Tag 2: Community Empowerment
Tag 3: Data Localization
Name(s) of Speaker(s):
CJ Hendrix, Data Systems Analyst, Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Emir Hartato, Project Co-Manager for PetaBencana.id (an applied research project affiliated with MIT Urban Risk Lab)
Rania Alerksoussi, Coordinator of the Federation-wide Databank and Reporting System (FDRS), IFRC
Heather Leson, Data Literacy Lead, International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) (moderator)

Rania Al Erksoussi is the Coordinator for the Federation-wide Databank and Reporting System. Rania joined the IFRC in 2008 and worked in multiple roles within the Humanitarian Pandemic Preparedness team first, then in the Health Department. More recently, she supported the Health Department’s data and information management, strategic planning, and reporting. Additionally, she worked on coordinating, disseminating and training National Society representatives in collecting and analysing data using the Rapid Mobile Phone-based system. Rania has a Master's degree in business administration (MBA) and an undergraduate degree in French Literature. She comes to the RCRC from a business background working in the private sector in Syria.

CJ Hendrix is a data systems analyst for the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), a project of UN OCHA. He has worked in the fields of geographic information systems and satellite imagery analysis for over 20 years with focus on humanitarian information management since 2005.  He has worked in environmental projects and humanitarian emergencies in Kenya, Eritrea, Pakistan, Uganda, Haiti, Sudan, South Sudan, and the United States.  In 2011 he began work on the Humanitarian Exchange Language (HXL) which is now being used to improve data sharing in the humanitarian community and is a core component of HDX.

Emir Hartato is a Project Co-Manager for PetaBencana.id<https://info.petabencana.id/about/>,an applied research project affiliated with MIT Urban Risk Lab that has won Internet for Development Award from The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) Asia at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2017. He has an undergraduate degree in Geography (University of Indonesia) and recently, he completed a  Masters of Geographic Information Science (MGIS) at the University of Canterbury (UC), Christchurch, New Zealand with the thesis focusing on crowdsourcing framework for disaster management. He also worked for almost four years with the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) that involves capacity building for various stakeholders in the use of OpenStreetMap (OSM) data for humanitarian and economic development in various regions (Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malawi).

Heather is the Data Literacy Lead at International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. As a technologist, she strengthens community collaboration via humanitarian technologies and social entrepreneurship. She builds partnerships, curates digital spaces, fosters volunteer engagement and delivers training while inspiring systems for co-creation with maps, code and data. At the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent, her mandate includes data skills global advocacy and training programs in partnership with the 190 national societies and the 13 million volunteers. Previously, she was lead programs on community, social innovation, and technology at Qatar Computing Research Institute (Qatar Foundation), Ushahidi, and Open Knowledge (School of Data). Her experience also includes working on internet technologies including domain name services, network operations, and software-as-a-service. She is a current Board Member at OpenStreetMap Foundation and a past Board Member at the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (4 years).   She co-wrote a chapter on Open Communities and articles the power of data and digital literacy for the World Economic Forum and Civicus Datashift. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University, as well as a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology.

Tags - big data, community empowerment, data literacy/data localization

Name of Online Moderator: Barbara Rosen Jacobson
Background Paper: data_for_the_humanitarian_field_-_igf_proposal.pdf
Past IGF Participation: No
Report Link:
Name: Ms. Heather Leson
Organizational Affiliation: IFRC

Session Organizers
avatar for Heather Leson

Heather Leson

Digital Innovation Lead, IFRC
Heather Leson is driven by a world where everyone lends a hand. She delivers innovative products and experiences with global networks at the intersection of social impact, strategy, technology, and open principles. Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science... Read More →

Tuesday December 19, 2017 10:10 - 11:10 CET
Room XXIII - E United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)