Humanitarian action and the digital age
CIES e-WP nº 234/2021 by Catarina Mauritti Granjo



This paper analyses the benefits of technology in the framework of humanitarian action by first investigating its place within the global context of current events. Since the beginning of the century, innovative approaches have been greatly encouraged as a response to the need for the modernization of relief provision. Technology carries great potential to positively impact the future of humanity and, by extension, humanitarian action. Nevertheless, it is vital that transformation through technological innovation involve a human-centered approach. To demonstrate this, three technologies are selected and investigated based on characteristics that make them especially suited to humanitarian action: Artificial Intelligence for Humanitarian Action, Flying Labs, and Smart Communities. It is held that these suggest a yet unrealised potential to establish long term solutions to the challenges of meeting local needs and, thereby, augmenting community resilience. Fundamentally, a set of widely recognized guiding principles are now of vital significance if technologies are to function without incurring the costs resulting from the disconnection between aid givers and affected communities, but instead, act as a catalyst for increased cooperation among all sectors while still maintaining the true priorities of HA.


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Catarina Mauritti Granjo is a 25-year-old student with a multidisciplinary background. She began her academic studies in the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sculpture. It was later while volunteering in Kalimantan, Indonesia, as an art teacher where she first found her passion for international development and humanitarian action. More recently, she has completed a post-graduation course in Humanitarian Action at Iscte University Institute of Lisbon and has worked at the City of Lisbon Foundation in projects related with Education Development and Global Citizenship.