3 years ago

Designing User‐Centered Humanitarian Technologies with Displaced People in Iraq: Lessons from Refunite's Mobile Family Tracing Platform

Sacha Robehmed


As almost all adults in Iraq own a mobile phone, there is great scope to reach and engage with internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq through mobile technologies. This article argues for the importance of a user‐centered design approach when using mobile technologies in humanitarian response. A user‐centered approach considers context and places IDPs’ lived experiences as active technology users at the forefront of project design and implementation. The argument is supported by a case study of Refunite, a family tracing platform that uses mobile technologies to help people find their missing loved ones. This article seeks to address the gap in the literature on user‐centered humanitarian mobile technology projects, particularly in relation to the Middle East. Given the current lack of guidelines on mobile technologies in humanitarian response, the article concludes by recommending that humanitarian practitioners draw on an existing framework, the Principles for Digital Development (2016).

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