How can telecommunications and green energy improve humanitarian response?

Developments in global mobile connection and renewable energy is changing the way humanitarian organisations operate. Norwegian satellite and renewable energy technology takes part in this change by providing solutions tailored for humanitarian response.

Representatives from Innovation Norway, The Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva, Marlink and Eltek welcomed the humanitarian community to the Tech and Innovation Day in Geneva.

Representatives from Innovation Norway, The Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva, Marlink and Eltek welcomed the humanitarian community to the Tech and Innovation Day in Geneva.

Foto: Marlink AS

Communication needs of humanitarian workers located in hard to reach areas have always been a priority. With recent developments in access and bandwidth, as well as the spread of the communication society, possibilities have increased. New methods can be applied in needs assessments, service provision and protection, using technology and applications that have been developed over the last decade.

Affected populations are also increasingly connected. When they are asked to prioritize needs, internet connection ranks high. Connection allows them to keep in touch with family and friends, aiding family reunification and preventing separation of families. It facilitates information sharing and makes it easier for refugees and migrants to orient themselves in new locations, obtain information about legal rights and locate medical services. Internet connection also allows for transfer of cash and access to education resources when teachers and education material are scarce. The list goes on and – undoubtedly - new developments happen as you are reading this. In response, humanitarian organisations have started establishing hot spots where refugees can access internet, and have also developed apps designed to support refugees and migrants.

Norwegian satellite and renewable energy technology 

To showcase the possibilities of satellite technology and capacities in renewable energy solutions, the Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva, the Norwegian satellite-company Marlink AS and the Norwegian energy company Eltek together with Innovation Norway/NOREPS, invited relevant stakeholders from all the humanitarian organisations in Geneva to a one day seminar on 12 October. Recent developments in satellite technology and renewable energy were presented, and new technology was showcased. Marlink and Eltek demonstrated the joint benefits in their collaboration; Marlink with a need for green energy, and Eltek with a need for satellite communication in remote areas.

"There are many Norwegian companies that can make contributions towards the SDG’s. The more that pulls in the same direction, the better. Of course there are elements of competition as well, but these are manageable and I believe that partnerships will be beneficial", says Morten Schøyen, CMO Eltek

The event provided an opportunity for experts from the private and humanitarian sectors to discuss technical details, possibilities and needs whilst trying out and observing the technology in action.