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We are in the worst international humanitarian crisis since World War II. Aid workers, who are first responders to those most in need, must immediately adapt to new, remote ways to serve the world’s most vulnerable populations. The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the digital divide between economic classes, developed and developing countries, and the private and nonprofit sectors. Companies and governments have swiftly shifted to remote working, and many are already preparing to deliver services fundamentally differently in the post-pandemic future. Nonprofits are underinvested in technology and many aid workers, and the people they serve, simply lack digital tools and systems to work and live remotely. To secure their critical missions, they must rapidly adapt how they work now, and how they deliver their services with technology.
NetHope has identified change management and funding as key constraints to digital adoption. With drastic change thrust upon the world in reaction to COVID-19, organizations must now change to survive. Only lack of funding now impedes this digital transition in the nonprofit sector. A Global Aid Technology Response and Recovery Fund will sustain aid delivery in the short term and drive digital transformation in the sector to Build Back Better with more resilient, efficient, and sustainable digital infrastructure. Digital adoption will accelerate impact and prepare the sector for future crises.
A consortium of nearly 60 leading global nonprofits operating in over 180 countries, NetHope Members collaborate in Working Groups and Regional Chapters on collective approaches across Connectivity and Infrastructure, Data Protection and Information Security, Enterprise Architecture, Data and Applications, and Artificial Intelligence. These Working Groups surface joint projects that build standards for the sector and improve service delivery. By aggregating common needs, pooling procurement, and sharing best practices, NetHope reduces technology deployment costs, improves the digital security of stakeholders and data, and identifies and replicates digital solutions (e.g. e-learning, digital money) for program delivery.
CALL TO ACTION: $60 Million Global Aid Technology Response and Recovery Fund
NetHope partners with technology companies and funders to scale innovative approaches to solve pressing development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, this cross-sector effort is more important than ever. NetHope believes that technology accelerates impact, and the availability of funding accelerates innovation and adoption. Through collaboration and standard setting, the Fund can replicate smart solutions across the nonprofit community. But to do this, nonprofits must have the basic infrastructure necessary to work digitally, including access to power, devices, connectivity, and the requisite training to use them.
$30 million for Response: NetHope has identified almost $30M in technology needs that are essential to keeping its nonprofit members operational and providing international aid in 93 key countries at this critical time. Members have specific technology needs for power banks, laptops, smartphones, reliable connectivity, transfer from paper to digital workflows, and equipment for those on the front to safely reach program participants from a distance. Funding criteria include the capacity of the emergency support to amplify impact of programs focused on health, education, economic opportunities, civic engagement, conservation, child protection, and programs critical to responding to COVID-19.
$30 million for Recovery: Nonprofits have shared how they envisage digital delivery of child education, counseling, cash subsidies, vocational training, and WASH. NetHope’s Center for the Digital Nonprofit (CDN) has identified $20-30M of digital transformation projects, and Members are already working on several collective initiatives, such as strengthening humanitarian cyber security, when funding is available.
A pre-positioned Fund will accelerate digital aid delivery and transformation for the post-pandemic future. Criteria for funding would include anticipation of how the funding would leverage technology to accelerate nonprofit program delivery, achieve scale, and increase program impact.
Through support of technology-enabled projects, the Fund will collect, monitor, and evaluate data to propagate digital transformation that truly increases program impact. Best practices in digital acceleration could be quickly replicated across the sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value that a database of information and lessons learned on technology deployments across the sector would have on accelerating digital adoption.
The NetHope Board of Directors, composed of nonprofit executives and outside technical experts, will provide strategic direction to the Fund and oversee progress against expected results. A Steering Committee will articulate funding priorities and criteria, make fund allocation decisions, disburse funds, lead mobilization of resources, and provide a partnership platform for dialogue.
NetHope is governed by its nonprofit Members to provide short-term collective action at times of disaster, and long-term digital transformation to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in the sector. NetHope’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic leverages its strength in convening and engaging members and technology partners to identify, aggregate, and drive digital solutions.
Since 2001, NetHope has actively provided collective solutions for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery, including in the Ebola crisis, as well as the hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico and the Bahamas to get immediate access to hardware, connectivity, and informatics. In 2017, NetHope launched the $5.5M Google Device Challenge that deployed 27,946 devices directly benefiting 133,116 vulnerable people (51% of which were female) and indirectly reaching 24,452,222 people in need. NetHope has deployed and managed a Disaster Preparedness Fund, a $41M grant from Microsoft to distribute software to member NGOs, the $2.7M Digital Inclusion Program with Visa from 2014-2018, and the $25M, 10-year Global Broadband Initiative with USAID from 2010-2020.
NetHope partners with leading funders to help global nonprofits accelerate their impact through digital enablement. With the Global Aid Technology Response and Recovery Fund, NetHope will help sustain urgently needed services today, and secure more resilient services for the future. PLEASE DONATE NOW.
For more information about how to give to NetHope's Global Aid Technology Response and Recovery Fund, please contact our Senior Development Director, Jennifer Childs.