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, to pilot studies, and to 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. Livelihoods of the community were affected by the landslide, which also had the potential to threaten lives. Data gathered using the drones enabled us 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 WFP, WHO, and MSF. The research project is funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS), cofounded 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 centres to track the progress of their children. A new application developed by the World Food Programme (WFP) and being tested by Medair aims to replace the booklets with smart cards and enable frontline workers to use real-time data to make decisions.
SCOPE CODA builds on WFP’s system of tracking programme participants, and adds specific data needed to track individual cases of malnutrition and facilitate referrals for further treatment when necessary. 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 ins informal settlements are recognised and addressed effectively. Even eight years after the initial influx of refugees, Medair maps more than 8,000 settlements every year.
In partnership with Qlik, an industry leader in business intelligence and analytics, Medair has been able to increase the speed, scale, and scope of its humanitarian assistance. Through Qlik, Medair revolutionizes the way aid is delivered through smart use of data and analytics.
The Medair-Qlik project in Lebanon was awarded the ‘Special Judges Award for Innovation’ at the 2019 Global Good Awards in London, and the ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award at the 2019 National Technology Awards in London, after winning the Corporate Engagement Awards’ ‘Most Innovative Collaboration’ and the Third Sector Awards’ ‘Corporate Partnership of the Year’ in 2018. This pioneering project, supporting Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, continues to inspire a new way of working in the aid sector.
Recognised humanitarian innovators
In 2019, Medair has been recognised by the Drucker Prize (formerly known as the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation) as one of the top 10 most innovative nonprofit organisations, not only for our current projects, but also for the potential Medair has to contribute to the field of innovation in the future.