UNICC Director Joins European Humanitarian Forum Panel on Digitalization in Humanitarian Settings

24 April, 2023


Growing UNICC – UNRWA partnership illustrates successfully employing refugee youth

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC participated in the event ‘Advancing digitalization in humanitarian settings’ at the European Humanitarian Forum in Brussels on 21 March. In this event, a panel of experts from different organizations discussed the impact of digitalization as a transformative factor for both people in need and those providing humanitarian relief, with a specific focus on health care and employability of refugee youth.

All panelists brought to the forum success stories of their own organizations. Chauhan and fellow panelist Kaan Centinturk, CIO and Director of Information Management and Technology, UNRWA, talked about the growing partnership between the two organizations, through which UNICC is employing refugee youth at UNRWA’s IT Service Centre in Gaza.

Sameer Chauhan shared lessons learnt from UNICC’s experience in using technology tools for accelerated humanitarian action and explained how digitalization can be used as a medium to promote employability of refugee youth, in particular to respond to the needs of refugees in Jordan, Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon and Syria, where more than 5.5 million refugees are registered with UNRWA.

Our board has approved a plan to scale up using more talented resources from Gaza. We are committed to not only giving these colleagues jobs and paychecks, but will work on developing careers for them. Given the quality and dedication of the talented youth we have employed, we believe all the efforts and investments made have been paid back 100 times over.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

UNICC is welcoming a growing number of talented and motivated young people from Gaza and the region with a great appreciation for their skills, dedication and hard work. These new UNICC colleagues manage roles across the organization, with responsibilities that include handling worldwide payments for other UN agencies, helping run hybrid and online conferences for various UN agencies, responding to cybersecurity incidents affecting our partners and designing and supporting innovative websites and application development.

Due to the success of this partnership, UNRWA’s IT Service Centre is now the largest employer in the IT sector in Gaza.

Digitalisation is transforming how humanitarian assistance is designed and delivered. It is shifting the focus from response and recovery to better prevention and preparedness in humanitarian operations. UNRWA is excited to work with partners like UNICC to explore how digital can create livelihood and help us better serve the needs of refugees.

Kaan Cetinturk, CIO and Director of Information Management and Technology, UNRWA

Chairs Sam Rose, Director of Planning, UNRWA and Henriette Sachse, Deputy Head of Division, Department of Transitional Development Assistance, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) were joined by speakers Dilara Anna Fuchs, Portfolio Manager, Middle East Department, KfW Development Bank; Joanna Darmanin, Head of Humanitarian Aid Thematic Policies, ECHO and Elisa Gastaldi, Global Affairs Manager, Siemens Healthineers.

Panelists reflected on opportunities and challenges of digitalization in humanitarian settings, looked at the feasibility and future needs, with a shift of focus from response and recovery to better prevention and preparedness in humanitarian operations. In addition, the panel looked at shared technology standards, privacy and cybersecurity issues and how the private sector might contribute to support digitalisation in humanitarian contexts.