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Empowering Humanitarian Aid Through Responsible Data Sharing

In the dynamic realm of humanitarian aid, timely and reliable information is the linchpin for effective action. The collection of disaggregated data has become a powerful tool, unlocking valuable insights that enhance coordination, transparency, and efficiency in delivering aid. As AQLITY, we understand the pivotal role of data in transforming humanitarian efforts, and our commitment to this cause is unwavering.

Navigating the Landscape of Responsible Data Sharing

Donors, pivotal players in this arena, not only use data directly but also drive its increased collection and analysis. The increasing demand for disaggregated data, such as gender, age, or disability markers, has become a norm. However, with this demand comes a set of challenges and risks that cannot be ignored.

Sharing disaggregated data can inadvertently expose individuals or groups to potential harm, raising concerns about re-identification. The perceived misuse of humanitarian data for non-humanitarian purposes could erode the trust between aid organizations and the communities they aim to serve. Anticipating and mitigating these risks is crucial for principled humanitarian action.

Addressing the Gaps in Data Responsibility

Despite strides in data responsibility frameworks, there remain gaps in addressing data sharing with donors. Existing frameworks often fall short of specifically guiding this aspect of humanitarian operations. Donor reporting templates lack explicit clauses on data sharing, creating a diverse landscape that makes consistent and responsible data sharing challenging.

In 2020, the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative (HDTI), convened by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Centre for Humanitarian Data, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the ICRC, initiated a dialogue process on responsible data sharing between humanitarian organizations and donors. The outcome, a Principled Framework for Responsible Data Sharing Between Humanitarian Organizations and Donors, sets the stage for a common approach.

Throughout this process, stakeholders acknowledged the importance of coming together to identify common challenges and to devise joint strategies for addressing them. The outcome was a Principled Framework for Responsible Data Sharing Between Humanitarian Organizations and Donors, which reflects the perspectives of a diverse group of participants and interests while offering a common framework for action.

The framework, which is the first of its kind, offers six guidelines to inform data sharing between humanitarian organizations and donors. It is not a legal document, but rather is designed to provide humanitarians and donors with practical steps they can adapt to their own data sharing work. The goal is to foster increased collaboration and build best practices through the experience of applying these guidelines in different settings. Each of the six guidelines is described below.

Guidelines for Responsible Data Sharing

The framework, a groundbreaking initiative, presents six guidelines to inform data sharing between humanitarian organizations and donors. These guidelines are not merely a set of principles but a practical roadmap for humanitarians and donors to adapt to their unique data sharing contexts.

  1. Humanity First: Affected people must be at the center of data sharing processes. Have they been informed adequately? Do they have the means to exercise their rights to information, access, correction, and erasure of their data?

  2. Clear Communication: The purposes of data sharing should be transparently communicated. This ensures that data sharing is minimized and limited to what is specified, necessary, and agreed upon.

  3. Common Requirements: Establish clear and common requirements for responsible data sharing at the outset of partnerships. This fosters consistent engagement and monitoring over time.

  4. Risk Mitigation: Collaborate to identify potential risks related to data sharing and establish measures to address them throughout the data sharing activity.

  5. Training and Procedures: Invest in training and procedures for responsible data management. Humanitarian organizations and donors should provide clear instructions on how the framework applies in different operational settings.

  6. Learning and Accountability: Support initiatives that foster collaboration and research to advance knowledge in responsible data sharing. Learning and accountability go hand in hand with the implementation of these guidelines.

A Shared Vision for Responsible Data Sharing

AQLITY aligns itself with the vision of responsible data sharing outlined in the framework. We recognize the need for a common approach to navigate the complexities of data sharing with donors. By adhering to these guidelines, we not only enhance collaboration but also contribute to a more principled and accountable humanitarian action.

Our secure online platform and application enable registered organizations (donors, government agencies, INGOs, NGOs, foundations, International Organizations) to access information and resources related to AQLITY’s services. This collaborative space fosters information sharing among key humanitarian stakeholders, prompts new partnerships, contributes to reducing duplication, and ensures that aid is delivered with an increased degree of accountability, efficiency, and quality. This platform operates globally and benefits the public by promoting transparent collaboration between international organizations, donors, and local entities.

Needs Assessment:

Our tailored needs assessments tackle the challenges of timely access to critical information and subsequent aid delivery to the community. Focusing on vital areas like food, water, sanitation, hygiene, and financial needs, our assessments yield real-time data across dynamic contexts. By understanding the unique needs of hard-to-reach areas, we empower aid organizations to craft precise, evidence-based, and data-driven interventions and prompt efficient last-mile delivery while enhancing the overall accountability and impact of humanitarian assistance. Stakeholder Mapping:

AQLITY takes the lead in identifying and vetting reliable local stakeholders (CSOs, Volunteer Networks, NGOs) operating in challenging terrains. Our comprehensive assessment provides information on stakeholders’ capacities per operational area (administration, finance, project management), final score, and ranking, as well as a roadmap for capacity development. Mapping local partners amplifies the reach of aid efforts and promotes transparent collaboration between international organizations, donors, and local entities.

As we move forward, AQLITY remains steadfast in its commitment to leveraging technology for agile, quality, and accountable aid delivery. Together, with our partners across the system, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable populations, ensuring that every individual has access to quality assistance and care, regardless of their geographical location.

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