Technologies for monitoring in insecure environments

Organisation: | Dec 2016 Author: Rahel Dette, Julia Steets and Elias Sagmeister
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In some of the most insecure humanitarian contexts, monitoring aid programmes is particularly important to humanitarian organisations.  Did assistance get to the right people? Have aid trucks safely reached their intended location? How do affected populations assess the services provided? Amidst access constraints, attacks and the risk of aid diversion, those questions remain difficult to answer. M&E practitioners are therefore optimistic about the use of  technology tools like mobile phones or GPS trackers when working in insecure environments. 
While many pilot projects use technology for M&E in insecure environments, humanitarians consulted for the SAVE research programme noted a lack of clearly documented and user-friendly guidance on the different options.
Early research in close collaboration with aid agencies in Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria showed that organisations are interested in exploring technologies for monitoring, but are unsure about advantages and downsides of existing tools. To help address these concerns, this toolkit provides an overview of different technological tools for monitoring in insecure settings based on lessons from existing experience and pilot projects.

This report is part of the Secure Access in Volatile Environments (SAVE) research programme. The overall goal of this three-year programme is to contribute to solutions for providing effective and accountable humanitarian action amid high levels of insecurity.  The SAVE study was supported by a research grant from UK DFID. See more at

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