Creating innovative technologies and products to fill the gaps between the initial humanitarian response to a disaster or conflict, and the resettlement and recovery that follows.
MIT D-Lab Founding Director Amy Smith is the co-founder of Rethink Relief, a program that began in April 2010 with the vision of creating innovative technologies and products to fill the gaps between the initial humanitarian response to a disaster or conflict, and the resettlement and recovery that follows.
Rethink Relief summits have enabled humanitarian workers, engineers, and affected populations to build relationships and co-create technologies, programs, and tools, taking place in the Netherlands at TU Delft (2011), at MIT (2013), and in Pader, Uganda (2014). The group has since expanded its vision to develop a three-pronged approach to working with affected populations:
- Training people in camps and displaced situations in the design process to build their capacity to create and develop technologies, products or services that address challenges that they face in their lives, both during and after the crisis.
- Designing products that address immediate needs while simultaneously preparing people for future resettlement and transition, through an inclusive and collaborative process.
- Developing an ecosystem of programs and partners to support refugee-led innovation, co-design between emergency-affected populations and humanitarian organizations, and institutional capacity building in innovation.