How HumanSurge can contribute to improving the Humanitarian sector
HumanSurge is an open roster, meaning that all humanitarian professionals can freely register. It is online, enabling each professional to update their profiles and availability status. Our vision is a world in which HumanSurge significantly enhances surge capacity at national and international level, increasing timeliness and quality of humanitarian response.
HumanSurge is still in start-up phase and as traffic and demand increases, we will be expending the team accordingly. The IT component is an important factor in ensuring that the platform functions properly and is of use to both humanitarian professionals and INGO recruiters, that’s why we engaged key experts from outside of the humanitarian sector, such as: graphic designers, web designers, front-end PHP programmers, back-end database, communication experts, etc.
What makes HumanSurge different from other rosters is that it is always updated. Current rosters tend to be outdated. Moreover, it places the professional at the center (and not the INGO), such as by enabling professionals to indicate their preferences for deployment (#months, no-go-countries, type of contract, etc). The more accurate and complete their profiles, the more likely it is that they will be short-listed by organizations. HumanSurge shares the roster across actors in the sector, one roster-for-all, contrary to the current approach, which is more in silos with each ORG having many rosters. Other key rosters (Canadem, RedR Australia, Norcap) primarily feed into the UN or major INGOs. Yet there is a large group of medium-large size NGOs that require similar services.
In this initial phase our main focus is on international profiles. As we develop the platform, and seek feedback from users and roll-out improvements, it is important to have a clearly defined target group. The international humanitarian professional is by definition more mobile, which will allow us to test the system sooner. For this reason we are working primarily with HQs of INGOs and they typically require the international profile.
That said, we are very eager to engage at national level. The majority of responders are national (450k), they are the first to respond. The focus of the humanitarian sector is increasingly directed at national-level response (and rightfully so), and there is no reason why the platform would not function similarly at national level, give and take some adjustments.
From organizations side, there is a lot of interest to try new innovations. They face a significant challenge and are open to try something new. Not all are innovators. Some may come onboard later, once it is more established, but we have had overwhelming positive feedback. We are proud to count among our users Oxfam, Care International, Doctors Withouth Borders, Plan International and Action Against Hunger among other key INGOs
In order to keep the database updated, we see value in validating profiles. It has been among the first questions of nearly all key informants, senior recruiters and humanitarian professionals, when explaining HumanSurge. And it makes perfect sense. However, for us it should be crowd-sourced, peer-to-peer validation or otherwise automated (such as linking to initiatives like Humanitarian Passport and OpenBadges, as well as individual Master programs – NOHA – etc). This way we can keep costs low and accessible.
HumanSurge is a social enterprise, meaning that we value social impact over profit. We look for widespread usage, so costs can be shared among many.
HumanSurge only just launched and already gained significant traction in a short period. We have been pleasantly surprised that over 1.800+ humanitarian professionals (across all clusters/sectors) have already registered in a matter of weeks and 13 major INGOs already signed-up with others having the innovation under review. In start-up terms, that is already a success.
However, we would like to measure real success in new contacts established between INGOs and humanitarians, to increase the number of matches in less time, to the ultimate benefit of the beneficiary. That is the real success and we hope and expect to deliver as the platform grows.
We encourage humanitarians to register on HumanSurge and tell their peers. Feedback and suggestions will be much appreciated, so we can improve and ensure the platform is of use to everyone!