Right...this is, in some regard, a new kind of "public-private partnership"...and one that's critical in a crisis zone.
A real issue is how all of this work is funded. And I'm talking here in general terms. In terms of ‘traditional’ humanitarian responders – ie, implementing aid agencies – one thing to note is that they operate within a competitive funding environment. Competition for humanitarian market share and the need to maintain a high profile in order to secure funding influences decision making can influence the degree to which organisations share information and even communicate honestly with affected populations. This situation can be aggravated by the impact of uneven media coverage of disasters.
We've seen great responses from networks in disaster circumstances--Palestine's mobile networks worked with us to allow free SMS send-out/receipt for aid providers during the recent Gaza conflict.
How do we work with big data? that's about partnerships (see Flowminder in Haiti)? How do we restore telco and internet networks? That's about partnerships with the private sector, as they are the service providers. How do we prep to mitigate the impact of crises on networks? that means partnering on preparedness issues. It's not just about money. It's about shared resources (data, capacity, skills, technology), shared visions, shared work on the ground.
@jacob yes this is a totally new way of thinking about humanitarian response, and about public private sector partnerships, and about connectivity and information and comms as aid
@Rachel Houghton: Definitely. Competition between aid providers can often undermine cooperation when it's needed most. This is a key challenge, and one that we should all be invested in resolving!