Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are increasingly sought as partners to deliver services developed by the humanitarian sector and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the wake of natural disasters or other humanitarian emergencies. A shift towards the digitisation of aid has led to mobile technology becoming a central component of assistance. The ubiquity and scale of mobile networks means they have become attractive delivery channels for many forms of humanitarian assistance. Recent reports have been published in this area, for example the 2014 World Disaster Report which focused on the increasing use of ICTs in preparation and response efforts, and the ‘Principles for Digital Development’ which have aimed to build a body of best practice. This shift has necessitated that MNOs and humanitarian organisations work together to deliver life changing interventions.
This report aims to draw on a number of existing toolkits and guidelines on developing successful partnerships between the humanitarian and private sectors. It addresses the critical success factors specific to partnerships between MNOs and humanitarian organisations with a nuanced view of how these unfold in crisis-affected settings. For the purposes of this paper, “humanitarian sector” refers to NGOs, INGOs and UN agencies. The overview below offers practical actions and considerations for humanitarian and mobile stakeholders to ensure that potential partnerships start on the right foot to bring positive impacts for those for whom these partnerships are intended to benefit.