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Digital Humanitarianism

Paul Conneally Discusses How the Red Cross Has Been Changed by Technology

— February 23, 2012 — Keynote Trends
Paul Conneally is the public communications manager for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a former journalist and a leader in incorporating digital technology into the work of humanitarian aid groups.

Paul Conneally explores the ways in which the humanitarian model has been changed by digital technology, which he says became apparent in Haiti, where mobile devices were used to coordinate, inform and guide relief efforts. According to Conneally, SMS was the main method of communication after the Haiti earthquake, with entrepreneurs even setting up cell phone charging stations to enable the communication between people, communities and aid workers. It was first in Haiti that such SMS text messages were translated into tweets which were then mapped, adding other layers of information and then made the maps accessible to the communities.

In this fascinating talk, Paul Conneally elaborates on the new user-appropriate technologies that have proven transformational for the humanitarian aid workers and strengthened the grassroots community "through the social power of sharing and are challenging the old analog models of control and command."
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