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As we see in a new decade the world seems to be staring down the barrel of ever-more humanitarian challenges. At the start of 2020 The New Humanitarian lists urban displacement, conflict, antibiotic resistance to infectious disease, gang violence, extremism and climate change as just some of crises facing not just the developing world, but the planet as a whole. While some things have improved for some people, life is still a major struggle for the vast majority of people on the planet. In purely economic terms, for example, one in every two people globally lives on less than $5.50 a day. 

Given the scale of these problems, not to mention the number of people affected, it’s not surprising that many humanitarian organisations (and humanitarian-focused startups) are turning to a wide variety of technologies to give them the kind of impact they’re going to need if they’re to put any kind of dent in any of them. 

 

Why we need this Programme

Despite the promise, though, many technology-focused humanitarian startups fail for all sorts of reasons. It doesn’t help that many of the biggest problems are found in the most challenging of places, and that many of the newest, shiny tech innovations might also struggle to work there. On top of that, few humanitarian organisations or socially-focused tech startups  – particularly the smaller ones – have the kind of all-round expertise required to make their projects a success. Humanitarian problems are often as complex, if not more so, than the technologies organisations deploy to solve them.

 

 

At Yoti, we want to help

This month we’re proud to announce our latest initiative. Yoti’s Humanitarian Tech Support Programme makes use of our extensive experience of innovation in the global development sector, our expansive list of networks and contacts, and our digital identity and broader technology expertise. Yoti commits to working closely with Programme partners to fill in any skills gaps by helping them better understand the human, technical and environmental context of the work they’re undertaking, and to help them better design, test and deploy their solutions. Every organisation is different, and their individual needs will very much depend on the team driving the project forward. 

 

Announcing our first Programme Partner

We’re excited to announce that our first Programme Partner is Lanterne, a for-profit social impact business with a mission to use data to save lives and improve economic development. 

Lanterne are exploring multiple avenues to achieve this mission, including: 

  • Applying machine learning techniques to satellite imagery to discover patterns in conflict events. 

  • Applying machine learning techniques to extract information from online news and social media in near real-time, with a view to developing and maintaining a database of conflict events. 
  • Crowd-sourcing data from users on the ground, so that a community of users could help keep each other safe by reporting incidents they observe.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be a Programme Partner with Yoti. Humanitarian and development problems are extremely complex, and we believe it’s always best to tackle them through thoughtful collaboration. We’re immensely excited to have the opportunity to work with Ken and Yoti, and we have no doubt Yoti’s expertise, networks, and experience in innovation will be invaluable to us as we pursue our mission” said Alex Barnes, one of the Co-Founders at Lanterne.

 

What we’re looking for and how to apply

We’re looking for up to three more humanitarian organisations (or tech-focused humanitarian startups) who might benefit from our global development and identity expertise. If you are doing any of the following you are welcome to apply: 

  • Building or managing online communities where trust is a key component.
  • Developing a service – or building a community – which might require (or benefit from) verified identities of its users.
  • Building a humanitarian tool or service which generates, or makes use of, highly sensitive information. 
  • You have other trust, identity, digital identity or related project challenges which we may not have thought about yet. 

Selected Programme Partners will receive the kind of advice and support you’d normally pay for, along with access to our suite of technologies (and the technical support that goes with it). You can be based anywhere in the world, and be for-profit or non-profit, as long as your work is primarily humanitarian in focus. We are working on a rolling application process, so there is no closing date. 

Your main contact person will be Ken Banks, our Head of Social Purpose, who has over two decades of experience in the technology, innovation and global development sectors – experience that you will be free to draw on as and when needed. Ken will in turn be able to draw on other resources within Yoti, as and when appropriate. 

Here at Yoti we’re as committed to social change as you are. Let’s work together to make the world a little better for everyone. If you’re interested in being a Programme Partner, or have any questions, please reach out to social.purpose@yoti.com to kick off the conversation.  

 

This Humanitarian Tech Support Programme is just one of the activities from our wider 2020 Social Purpose Strategy. Download a copy to find out what we’re up to here.