On 19 August 2017, World Humanitarian Day, CBM launches the smartphone app 'Humanitarian Hands-on Tool' (HHoT), which provides step-by-step guidance on how to implement an inclusive emergency response. Easy to use and fully accessible, this is the first application of its kind.
With disability-inclusive humanitarian action broken down into individual task cards, which explain the basic 'how-to' details in simple language and images, this web-based tool and downloadable mobile app aims to become the ‘go-to’ field resource for all agencies planning humanitarian work that leaves no-one behind. Check it here.
In any emergency or disaster, people with disabilities are always among those who are worst affected.
Reasons for this include: often pre-existing poverty among persons with disabilities; inaccessibility of early warning messages, search and rescue plans, evacuation plans and emergency shelters; loss and damage of assistive devices; disruption of support networks; and increased difficulty in accessing basic humanitarian operations (food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care services).
At the same time, emergencies can increase the number of people who experience disability, both short and long-term, due to injuries sustained and lack of effective medical services.
Crucially, people with disabilities and their representative organisations are rarely consulted at any stage of the emergency cycle, from Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) through preparedness to emergency response, recovery and building back better. Without their input, full inclusion will not be possible.
In recent years international policies, frameworks and standards have recognised these facts. The Sendai Framework, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New Urban Agenda and – with most relevance here – the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, have provided a clear understanding of the need and what must be done to address it. But, for agencies carrying out the work on the ground, what is very often missing is the ‘nuts and bolts’ info on HOW to implement these policies. The Humanitarian Hands-on Tool (HHoT) aims to help fill this gap.
HHoT is a web application with simple one-page guidelines on all issues relevant to the design and implementation of inclusive humanitarian action. These ‘task cards’ are fully searchable and logically interlinked for ease of use, and can be shared, printed or saved as favourites. The whole app (which is fully accessible) can be downloaded to any mobile device and is then available without internet or mobile connection. It updates automatically on reconnection and input and feedback is invited from users to ensure the tool grows while staying focused, relevant and up-to-date.
Although disability inclusion is the driver behind the concept, inclusive practice excludes nobody and will make the resulting interventions more accessible to many other often-marginalised people (including older people, children and pregnant women). We hope that HHoT will become the ‘go-to’ resource for all agencies planning and implementing relief and recovery work that is inclusive of everyone.