Simply put, the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHNetwork) is a network-of-network concept where the network nodes are either entities who are volunteer-based and provide direct services or are entities who provide volunteers directly to a requesting humanitarian entity. The purpose of the DHNetwork is to leverage digital networks in support of 21st century humanitarian response. More specifically, the aim of this network-of-networks is to provide an interface between formal, professional humanitarian organizations and informal yet skilled-and-agile volunteer and technical networks.
Why is the DHNetwork needed?
In countless instances over the past couple of years, traditional entities have discussed how they can engage with the digital humanitarian volunteer community. These entities are not sure of what volunteer/tech entities really exist, what services can be provided, or how to activate many of the groups. Thus, the DHNetwork concept was born to help bring an interface forward that both the traditional and volunteer/tech-based entities could work through to better improve the relationships and thereby response to humanitarian emergencies.
Many traditional entities have started to establish direct relationships with one or two volunteer entities and we have no desire to interrupt such arrangements. The DHNetwork is simply meant to help entities find a team of volunteers to help them solve a problem.
Who are the network nodes or members?
The initial members of the DHNetwork are UNV Online Volunteering Service, the Standby Volunteer Task Force, MapAction, Humanitarian Open Street Map, GISCorps, Crisis Commons. These entities were involved in defining the original concept during UN-OCHA’s lessons learned workshop after Libya & Japan. We are taking an iterative approach in developing the interface and will expand membership to this network over time. If you would like to request membership for your entity, kindly complete the membership request form.
How does the DHNetwork get activated?
The Activate! page on the DHNetwork site will always included the latest instructions on how to activate the DHNetwork. The ideal method is to complete the online activation form which asks for the basic information need to help get the coordination started. Otherwise, you can always send an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
When the request is received, the Digital Humanitarian Network Coordinators will review the request and rapidly liaise with the different volunteer entities who are members of DHNetwork to find an ideal team member(s) best able to act on your request. These members will then form the solution team.
We aim to provide a response to every request within 24 hours. Please keep in mind that we do not automatically accept all activation requests. If your request is not accepted, we will be sure to explain why.
Who can activate the DHNetwork?
In the short-term, the DHNetwork will focus on supporting international efforts as this is where most of the actors undertake a predominant amount of their work. We do not want to pretend that we know the intricate details of each nation. We will keep our operating model open so that others can free replicate the concept at any level (e.g. national, municipal, community, etc.).
Who are the current DHNetwork Coordinators?
At the moment, the DHNetwork Coordinators are Andrej Verity (UN-OCHA), Patrick Meier (CrisisMappers), Jonny Douch - TBC (MapAction) and Shoreh Elhami (GISCorps). The membership of this group is not exclusive but represents the entities who have been involved since the first conception for the DHNetwork. There is full intention to rotate the role of the Coordinators amongst the DHNetwork members.
Posted by: Andrej Verity