Below you will find the workshops planned for Day 2: Thursday, March 22nd, 2012. Please note that the workshop will run concurrently from 2:30 - 6 PM that day. Program

Workshop 1: Humanitarian Supply Chains Communities of Practice

Modern information and communication technologies open up exciting opportunities to share information and experience between practitioners, especially at the field level and for the logistics function. While these technologies are being exploited to the max by the private sector, they are unfortunately still largely underutilized in the humanitarian sector. It is therefore not surprising that the Humanitarian Logistics Association strongly suggested this Workshop.

What are the tools available, and especially which tools are cheap and robust enough to be truly useful to practitioners in the field? How can HLA as an association disseminate practically relevant knowledge to the field? How can field experts share their knowledge and experience with peers and how can they find answers to field problems they may be faced with from their peers in the same community of practice?

This session also touches upon the practicality of research and academic work in the field of humanitarian and health supply chains. Oftentimes, valuable academic research output does not trickle down to the level at which it could be put to good use. Part of this is a matter of translation of academic lingo into normal language relevant to practitioners but a large part is also due to insufficient use of available technologies.

The session will show examples of successful applications of technology to support communities of practice as well as discuss needs and potential \ applications in the humanitarian sector.

Workshop 2: Logistics Partnerships

Many private transport and logistics companies have engaged in partnerships with humanitarian organizations. Some are individual collaborations while others are multi-partner ones. An example of the latter being the Logistics Emergency Teams (LETs), a setup between the UN Logistics Cluster (led by the World Food Program) and private companies like TNT, UPS, Agility, and A.P. Möller Maersk, facilitated by the World Economic Forum. It is safe to say that the transport and logistics sector has played a pioneering role and others can learn from their experiences.

While the transport and logistics sector originally focused strongly on disaster response (e.g., providing surge capacity and support during the first weeks after a sudden-onset disaster), these partnerships have typically evolved to broader collaborations including preparedness and hence issues of sustainability of humanitarian aid. Understanding this broader agenda is critical since it begs the question of clear definition of roles, processes, communication, and not in the least trust (i.e. long term sustainable collaboration).

This Workshop will focus on partnerships in the logistics area with the objective to better grasp what is transferable from the logistics sector to other partnerships between private business and humanitarian organizations, as well as to explore the boundaries and next steps in the logistics sector. The latter includes more involvement from governmental bodies, foundations and local communities in the spirit of sustainable capacity building, i.e. the transition to even more complex multi-sectorial partnerships.

Workshop 3: Nutrition in Emergencies – The Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) Supply Chain

It is very likely that a future characterized by population growth, increased disaster frequency, ever higher and volatile food prices will confront the humanitarian sector with the simple question of how to secure sustainability of basic food stuffs to endangered and weak populations, especially children.

It appears that even today we are hardly able to provide stable supply chains of a relatively small number of basic items. One example of a very promising area of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food Products (like Plumpy Nut). Production and distribution of these still struggle with variability and a lot could be gained by being able to establish a stable and reliable supply chain to those groups most in need. There are several examples like this and they all point to the basics of sustainable aid which is highly correlated with reduction in vulnerability levels so as to reduce avoidable or predictable crises.

This Workshop will use examples of RUTF to engage in discussions around enablers and barriers to establishing sustainable supply chains for therapeutic feeding projects. Obviously, these basic sustainability questions also pose themselves for basic medicine, schooling, water, energy and other vulnerability reduction supply chains. One example to be discussed in this Workshop is sustainable school feeding, which combines feeding children with increasing school attendance as well as local sourcing of ingredients and higher community involvement.

Workshop 4: Information and Communication Technology for Logistics Decisions

Following the introduction to the role of technology in humanitarian crises, this workshop discussion will focus more specifically on the role of technology in health and humanitarian logistics decisions. Participants will interact in small groups and we will capture workshop participant ideas in real time using Google docs or similar technology.

The discussion will focus on the following questions:

  1. How can technology enable data gathering and analysis to better describe supply and demand in a humanitarian response?
    • Demand Side: gathering "unstructured" data directly from the affected population through social media, crowdsourcing technologies, etc.; incorporating "structured" data from external assessments of the affected population, baseline data, etc.
    • Supply Side: information systems to manage data within an organization’s supply chain; technology for sharing data across organizations to enable coordination.
  2. How can technology extend the collective intelligence to improve logistics decision-making?
    • Decision making within and among the following: host government, local communities, individual citizens, NGOs, donors, etc.
    • Informal networks: decision makers connecting with a broader volunteer community via social media to provide capacity and creativity for turning data into useful information.
  3. What are the enablers and barriers to rolling out solutions on a larger scale? What needs to be put in place to make their implementation impactful? Will technology lead to easier coordination and collaboration based on better information or lead to isolated and competing initiatives based on data overload?

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