Mercy Corps and Cisco are partnering on an initiative intended to assist in delivering development assistance and aid better and faster to more people across the globe. The initiative is expected to run for five years and will cost $10 million. Through the initiative the two organizations hope to impact in excess of 11 million people by having digital solutions integrated with programs that assist people to survive in times of crises, transform their communities and build better lives.
The development and humanitarian sector has been facing increasingly complex challenges and this includes ways of protecting sensitive data, ensuring privacy and delivering aid when there is ongoing violent conflict. Another problem the sector faces is identifying beneficiaries securely and accurately, tracking distributions, assigning services and goods and reporting the impact programs have had.
“With 65 million people forced from their homes and 141 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the aid community is stretched to its limits and faces unprecedented challenges. Technology has the power to transform the way we meet urgent humanitarian needs…” said Mercy Corps’ director of technology for development, Alan Donald.
Under the initiative Cisco will offer advisory and expertise services, technology and cash grants. Disbursement of the cash grant will be done through Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Mercy Corps teams stationed in over 40 nations will get the support of Cisco and they will also be able to make use of advanced analytical tools with a view to driving faster decisions that are more precise. At the same time this will be done in such a way that the sensitive data and information is kept private and secure.
The initiative will also see digital solutions aimed at enhancing the speed at which aid is delivered, managing beneficiary information. Additionally new information channels will be made available for migrant populations in order to assist them in making better-informed decisions. There will also be new solutions aimed at building communities that are stronger as well as more resilient.
According to Cisco’s corporate affairs vice president, Tae Yoo, the expertise and technology inside the tech company that helps its customers to succeed can be harnessed to assist in solving some of the most challenging problems in the world. This can aid in bringing about positive social change leading to the improvement of lives across the globe. Yoo also added that Cisco has a goal positively impacting one billion people in the next eight years.