Martha Thompson

Humanitarian Innovation Specialist 

Lecturer, D-Lab: Humanitarian Innovation


Pronouns: she, her, hers

Martha Thompson is co-instructor (with Amy Smith) for Humanitarian Innovation: Design for Relief, Recovery, and Rebuilding, offered for the first time in spring of 2016. She is a humanitarian worker with a focus on gender and exclusion in crisis situations.

She has worked in conflict and emergency situations all over the globe, taught humanitarian practice at Tufts University and Brandeis University and has published extensively on issues on gender, emergency response and working in conflict situations. In emergencies like the Asian tsunami, Darfur, Somalia, the Japanese tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, Martha's focus has been on how to remedy the inequalities in humanitarian response as it is currently practiced.

In 2009, she began to collaborate with D-Lab to see how appropriate, sustainable technologies could be used to improve the situation for communities returning from war in Northern Uganda. With D-Lab founder and co-director Amy Smith, she has further developed this work with through Rethink Relief. Rethink Relief focuses on getting aid workers to think differently about humanitarian work and to get refugees and displaced involved in designing technologies to improve their lives in the camps and in the transition towards home.

Martha has lived and worked in Latin America for 18 years and in conflict zones and refugee camps in Central America and in Cuba. Her nine years of work managing the Rights in Humanitarian Crisis for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee involved leading humanitarian response programs in Haiti, Darfur, Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Aceh. She is currently a consultant on humanitarian aid, gender, and program development.