Tech in Aid Summit

Saturday, Sep 8
10:00 — 16:00
Access with wristband

Tech in Aid Summit

Summits are one-day gatherings where a diverse group of people come together to discuss the bigger picture, share insights, and challenge best practices. They are invitation-only and have limited seats, so you need to apply to join a summit.

Humanitarian and development actors increasingly turn to new technologies like blockchain, biometrics, machine learning or satellite imagery to help the poor. This summit brings together innovators, aid practitioners, academics and concerned citizens to take stock of current technological experiments in the global South. We invite participants to join a critical reflection on the ethics and impacts of new technologies, ideas of innovation as well as experimentation on poor and vulnerable communities, refugees and migrants.

Key Questions:

  • Which new technologies are being piloted and experimented in the global South and what are their impacts, promises and pitfalls?
  • Will new technologies empower the poor, disrupt social systems or strengthen existing inequalities?
  • What are the data security and privacy issues resulting from technologies such as
    biometric registration, digital migration monitoring or blockchain?
  • How do startup business models and Silicon Valley ideas of innovation, experimentation and productive failure shape humanitarian and development principles and practices?
  • Is there a need for standards, regulations or code of conduct to control technological experimentation by humanitarian and development actors, what should they look like, and what can be done here at Techfestival?

Programme for the day:

  • 9.30: Arrival, coffee and early morning networking
  • 10.00: Introduction
  • 10.20: Blockchain and Biometrics
  • 12.00: Lunch
  • 13.00: Interventions and experiences
  • 2.30: Break
  • 14.45: Synthesis session
  • 16.00: Wrap up and Conclusion


Confirmed speakers and facilitators:

  • Aiden Slavin, Innovations Consultant, International Federation of the Red Cross
  • Caitlin Howarth, Researcher, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Giulio Coppi, Digital Specialist, Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Josiah Kaplan, Research Advisor, Migration and Displacement Initiative (MDI), Save the Children International
  • Katja Lindskov Jacobsen, Senior Researcher, University of Copenhagen
  • Kristin Bergtora Sandvik, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Margie Cheesman, Researcher, University of Oxford
  • Rob Baker, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
  • Sean Martin McDonald, CEO, FrontlineSMS


Dilek Genc is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh and the co-founder of CryptoWomen CPH. She conducts research on humanitarian applications of blockchain in Kenya.

Adam Fejerskov is an author and academic based at the Danish Institute for International Studies. His work dissects the human consequences of technological experiments and innovation around the world. His latest book explores the Gates Foundation’s tech-ideology. Don’t let him break your techno-optimism.

Tobias Hagmann teaches and conducts research on the politics of international development at Roskilde University in Denmark. He is also a journalist and co-founder of the Zurich based club collective Democratic Republic of Tamtam. His current work explores the digitalization of global migration and various digital methods to improve politics.

Join our mailing list
Receive updates on progressive tech & the festival program