Tuesday 9.30-11.00 (Bridewell Hall)

Humanitarian voices from country programmes: Kitty von Bertele, DFID (Moderator); John Thomas Kinyagu, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Francesca Reinhardt, Oxfam DRC Program; Yasmeen Alhusban, Oxfam Za’atari Program  
What are the challenges and opportunities of using ICTs for MERL in humanitarian programming? Oxfam and IFRC country programme staff will share their MERL Tech experiences, offer insight about the capacity and training required, and lay out the organisational support elements required for successful humanitarian MERL Tech initiatives. 

Session Details:

Three humanitarian programme staff from Oxfam and IFRC will be discussing the benefits and challenges of using ICTs for monitoring and evaluation in their country programmes. The chair will ask about their experiences to date, the capacity and training carried out in country and the organisational support they have had and still need to further explore the use of technology within MEAL/MERL.

The goals of this session are for attendees to learn about the practicalities of implementing in the field and the types of challenges staff are faced with. Sometimes what can appear simple to those in HQ can be almost impossible in the environment field staff are working in.

Our panel of experts have experience of mobile data collection, mobile case management for accountability, information management systems and beneficiary registration systems as well as procuring devices, setting up the devices and thinking about data management and data protection. Our panel will explain some of the main blockers and clever workarounds they have found when deploying technology in the field in a humanitarian context.


Kitty von Bertele, Digital Advisor, Emerging Policy, Innovation and Capability, Policy Division, Department for International Development. Department for International Development.


Yasmeen Al Husban, Oxfam. Yasmeen Al Husban has been working for Oxfam in Za’atari refugee camp since the start of 2016 in the MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and learning), department. She is responsible for data collection, data analysis, preparing logframes, designing accountability mechanisms and following up with programme teams to make sure that all teams are applying and understanding MEAL concepts in their work. Yasmeen manages the use of ICTs for MEAL in Za’atari which includes mobile data collection and a mobile case management system for collecting and following up on feedback received from communities. Yasmeen studied computer engineering in Jordan but followed her ambition to pursue work in the humanitarian sector. Yasmeen previously worked with Relief International in the same department, and she is very grateful to all who choose to work in this sector, who also hope to have a safe and shiny world some day. More about Yasmeen here.

John Thomas KinyaguInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. John Thomas is a Head of Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Learning (PMERL) Unit at Tanzania Red Cross Society (TRCS) for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). Kinyagu joined TRCS and IFRC in 2012 from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) where he served as Technical Assistant to Human Resource for Health Development Programme (HRHDP) for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Tanzania, between 2009 and 2012. Kinyagu’s academic background, in Tanzania, South Africa and Norway coupled with carrier experience, provide him with both national and international perspective on research and implementation of humanitarian services and innovation in the information management systems utilizing ICT. Where, in the emergency settings for humanitarian operations such as Refugees Relief Operations, Floods Rescue and Resettlement, Disease Breakouts and Earthquake, data and information gathering and sharing for decision making is crucial. His current work include strengthening of Information Management System in Tanzania for TRCS and IFRC in the provision of Humanitarian Services.

Philip Gunta, Oxfam. Philip is a monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) Officer for the humanitarian department for Oxfam GB in Ethiopia. He has more than five years experience of humanitarian programmes with a specific focus on WASH, food security and protection related thematic areas. Philip has responsibilities for all humanitarian activities in Ethiopia mainly; acute watery diarrhea (AWD) or cholera response project, Ethiopia drought response programme and South Sudanese refugee response programmes. As Oxfam’s focal point for ICT activities in Ethiopia, he has firsthand experience of planning, implementing and evaluating the use of ICTs and its effectiveness and efficiency in Oxfam’s humanitarian responses in the country. Philip has a Masters in Sociology and previously worked as a Gender Officer implementing a programme aimed at improving household & community food security related gender relations in South Gondar, Amhara region with Food for the Hungry International. More about Philip here.