Blockchain and NGOs: A Discussion on the Importance of Intermediaries in Humanitarian Aid
Blockchain’s potential to remove intermediaries from humanitarian aid has gained attention. While it offers transparency, it is important as a society to recognize intermediaries’ role in building relationships and delivering effective aid in the field. Technology and human connections are essential in creating sustainable change.
The Push for Disintermediation through Blockchain
In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards disintermediation in humanitarian aid. This concept of disintermediation refers in this case to remove the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that traditionally manage and distribute aid on the field. Find an article here.
Proponents of disintermediation argue that blockchain technology can be used to create a direct, transparent, and efficient process for distributing aid to those who need it most without going through organizations. This approach is often referred to as “direct giving” or “direct aid” through blockchain.
But as donors, who are we to know what to do in dealing with local communities in need ? People often forget or underestimate the complexity of local human problematics, money does not solve it all. Based on my personal experience, I am against this movement of “direct aid” and believe in the NGOs power.
The Importance of NGOs
While the concept of direct giving through blockchain may seem appealing, it is important to consider the crucial role that NGOs play in humanitarian aid. NGOs have the field knowledge and experience in working with local communities. They have been establishing relationships with them for years, understand their needs, the way they are organized, and are equipped to respond quickly to emergencies or to manage the allocated funds wisely. They also have a deep understanding of the cultural and social nuances of the communities they serve, which is essential in delivering effective aid. Removing NGOs from the aid distribution process could potentially not only undermine the quality and effectiveness of aid delivered, but also create damages on processes put into place for years.
Blockchain for Transparency and Trust
However, this is not to say that blockchain technology has no place in humanitarian aid. In fact, blockchain could have a tremendous impact through bringing back transparency and trust to donors, which has been broken in many occasions through fraud or opacity. Blockchain can help increase accountability and efficiency in the aid distribution process. This could empower NGO workers on the field and provide less importance or reduce central management resources which has less impact. If donors could track their donations through blockchain and see exactly where their money is going, they could gain back trust in the organization they are donating to, develop a greater sense of community & generate more interest in it. Blockchain can enable secure and transparent record-keeping, which can help prevent fraud and corruption in aid distribution.
While blockchain technology can offer transparency and accountability in the humanitarian aid distribution process, it is important to recognize the crucial role that NGOs and other intermediaries play in delivering effective aid and providing results and feedbacks from the field. It is important to strike a balance between the use of technology and the importance of human relationships in humanitarian aid. I am a peer to peer believer but this is not the solution for all our issues. People have skills & expertise, as a society we need to build trust between us and use the blockchain as a trust provider.
Thanks for reading & please share your thoughts on the matter.