The Centre for Humanitarian Action (CHA) organises its annual conference on humanitarian action on 23 & 24 May 2023. The conference will take place at Spielfeld Digital Hub Berlin and online.
Tackling power imbalances in humanitarian action – with technology and locally led management?!
The current humanitarian system has become increasingly complex, and humanitarian actors struggle with a variety of diverse crises. While humanitarian needs are exploding, financial resources have stagnated and threatened to further exacerbate the system’s power imbalances.
Digital technologies are celebrated as a key tool for overcoming the humanitarian sector’s financing crisis and making humanitarian action more effective and efficient. They have been praised for their potential to give people a voice. In parallel, humanitarian actors have been pushed to shift the system toward local leadership and locally-led humanitarian responses. By improving communication and fostering equitable partnerships, both approaches claim to tackle the system’s power imbalances, and shift more power to and increase decision-making by local actors.
However, at the same time, these transformations reveal huge gaps and threaten to further exacerbate the existing power imbalances. Key principles of a digitally empowered humanitarian action, in which people are given a real voice and accountability to affected populations is improved, are missing. Further, basic principles of equitable partnership and local leadership are impeded by established hierarchies between decision-makers, international and local organisations, and affected people.
At the CHA annual conference 2023, we will connect the two spheres of “digitalisation” and “localisation”, thus sparking an interlinked discussion on underlying power imbalances that shape the humanitarian sector. And we will ask how technologies and new management models can help to boost equitable participation and people-centred programming. In doing so, we want to discuss:
- The potential of using digital technologies to transform the humanitarian system and tackle power imbalances.
- The role of digital accountability when using digital technologies in humanitarian action.
- Agile ways of working to facilitate local leadership, equitable partnership, and participation in day-to-day humanitarian action.
For more information and to register, visit the CHA website.