Andrina Beuggert is the Mercator Fellow in Humanitarian Innovation. She spent the first six months of her fellowship with swissnex San Francisco, organizing countless events for the Everyone a Humanitarian series. Now she is in Jordan, working with young refugees in the Azraq and Zaatari Refugee Camps. You can follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
What do you do?
Today’s humanitarian challenges are unprecedented. We’ve never seen so many people displaced, so many conflicts lasting so long, so many natural disasters at this scale. Yet, we have unprecedented capacities: technological advances, corporate resources, and a generation willing to make a difference.
Through my fellowship, I’m exploring how we can better prevent and respond to conflict and natural disasters through meaningful collaborations, partnering across sectors and disciplines.
To give you some examples: Airbnb is partnering with international organizations to help refugees find temporary homes with hosts that want to do good. Cisco’s engineering teams are restoring connectivity and network infrastructure after emergencies – in close collaboration with governments and non-profits. The International Committee of the Red Cross teamed up with engineers from CERN, in Geneva, to develop better body bags and air-drop bags.
Why do you do it?
I want people in Syria, Sudan, Somalia to have the same opportunities that I’ve had – to live safely, access education, and have decent work opportunities.
Governments, startups, communities, and multinationals each have unique strengths we can leverage. There are massive opportunities for positive social change if we all work together.
My dream for the future: Affected communities are finally recognized as most valuable contributors to change. They join hands with governments, international organizations and the private sector to develop effective solutions tailored to local needs. Access to finance, connectivity and open source technology means solutions can spread widely but are adapted locally. Businesses go through a cultural shift, driven by a young generation asking for meaningful work. The media covers illuminating stories of social change, offering not fear and sorrow but inspiration and guidance.
In the meantime, I hope people will inform themselves of what’s happening around the world. Take action in your immediate neighborhood or community. Step up for your values and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.