As 2020 comes to a close (and, phew: what. a. year.) it’s time to take a moment and reflect on what we have learned these past few months. And it's been a busy few months.
IMAGINING A WORLD BEYOND WHITE PRIVILEGE & IS TECHNOLOGY BROKEN?
At the end of October 2020, we were joined at the CDAC Annual Assembly and Forum by many hundreds of humanitarians, communication and tech enthusiasts, futurists, policymakers and donors as we radically re-imagined digital humanitarian policy to make it more centred around community agency, knowledge and needs.
With more than 30 panellists form across six continents bringing their diverse expertise and experiences to bear on the responsible and ethical use of emerging technologies within humanitarian systems, the discussion was inspiring, challenging and provoked much discussion around ensuring that technological futures do not exacerbate past inequalities.
Over two documents, we have summarised the main themes discussed during the CDAC 2020 Annual Public Forum, Accountability in the Age of the Algorithm: Championing Pathways to Inclusion in Tech-Driven Futures, namely:
THE COVID-19 RESPONSE
As the world grapples with successive waves of the COVID-19 coronavirus, what lessons can we learn from other health emergencies and humanitarian crises to develop a more effective and accountable response to the pandemic?
This was the question our paper, Improving The Response To Covid-19: Lessons From The Humanitarian Sector Around Communication, Community Engagement And Participation attempted to answer. We launched the paper with an online discussion on 3 December 2020, where some of the world’s leading public health and community engagement experts interrogated these issues, in the webinar The Rest and the West: How Western governments can get back in touch with their own citizens in the COVID-19 response by applying the same humanitarian principles they require others to adopt. We also recorded a session from our 2020 annual general assembly on Learning on communicating & engaging with communities in the context of COVID-19.
PREPARING FOR CRISES IN FIJI AND VANUATU
COVID-19 might have been the highest-profile crisis in 2020, but countries remained vulnerable to natural disasters. Fiji and Vanuatu are among the countries most at risk of extreme weather and geological events.
Over the last two years CDAC, with funding from the Australian Government and in partnership with national disaster management organisations and government ministries and Ground Truth Solutions, has been working to build national Communication and Community Engagement (CCE) platforms in Fiji and Vanuatu. The platforms are designed to embed advanced two-way communication capabilities in national disaster response systems, and are designed to be operational before a disaster hits. In October, we published case studies on the two national platforms, outlining how the platforms work, and how they performed in the face of multiple crises. In addition, we produced videos introducing the platforms in Fiji and Vanuatu. Furthermore, we have recently published an evaluation of the platforms (available very soon) following a learning event which took place earlier this year in Suva, Fiji.
MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF NATIONAL PLATFORMS
In November, we published a Framework for Accessing the Success of National CCE Platforms – of which the CDAC Network supports more than 23 globally. This Framework is designed to clearly lay out the different elements that combine to build a complete platform. Each element in the framework includes measures that can be used to assess whether the part is complete and performing as expected. We will be making these documents available in French in the new year.
Thanks to all our members, partners, colleagues and friends who have supported the network during this challenging year. We look forward to working with you again in 2021.