Dubai launches Humanitarian Accelerators with an ambitious agenda

I learned a long time ago that when Dubai takes action, especially where smart technologies are concerned, it's going to be interesting. Consider the robotic police officer it introduced earlier this year – or its data-driven effort to become the happiest city on earth. So I will certainly be watching as Dubai gets the Humanitarian Accelerators described below up and running and focused on some of the world's most urgent challenges. – Philip Bane


The Humanitarian Accelerators, described in a press release as a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Arab World, will gather skilled professionals in the cause of aiding the humanitarian sector.

The accelerators will work at improving the financial efficiency of humanitarian organizations and leapfrogging conventional technology approaches to enhance the work of the humanitarian sector. They expect to adapt modern technology, such as artificial intelligence, to improve lives.

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the goal is to increase the efficiency of humanitarian organizations to be able to help more people.

"We are facing many humanitarian challenges," he added, "and must think innovatively in order to accelerate philanthropic work and achieve high results – this cannot wait.”

Four key challenges
The project will address four key challenges facing the region:

  • Overwhelming obstacles face young students, especially those living as refugees, in gaining a formal education. The first challenge is ensuring access to quality education to all children refugees by providing e-learning tools and developing innovative mechanisms, such as accessible websites, that enable young students to access interactive educational platforms regardless of where they are located.
  • Access to clean drinking water is a global challenge and accelerating access to it in underprivileged countries is another focus of the Dubai initiative. The Humanitarian Accelerators will look for solutions to create cost-effective technology that can purify water efficiently, quickly and in large quantities that can be delivered to the most affected communities.
  • The number of refugees living in poverty in the region is up from 50% in 2015 to 70% in 2017, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The accelerators will focus on finding electronic solutions and developing a platform for e-business to give refugees around the world a platform to leverage their skills, capabilities and services and market their products online, providing them with tangible economic opportunities.
  • The below-average reading material and content in Arabic online will also be addressed via electronic solutions that will increase the amount, and quality, of Arabic content available online.

Changing the world
Launched in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative and Dubai Future Accelerators, the press release says the program "seeks to provide a dynamic and integrated environment for participants and humanitarian institutions to explore opportunities for innovative solutions, technology and services, in various areas, that are capable of changing the world."

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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