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The Humanitarian Technology Challenge (HTC), a joint project of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the United Nations Foundation (UNF), was initiated in 2007 to provide a structured forum for marshalling IEEE members' extensive talent for identifying implementable, deployable, and sustainable solutions to humanitarian challenges. The goals of this effort are twofold: to provide concrete artifacts that address pressing humanitarian technological needs, and to develop a repeatable methodology for collaboration on a large scale that can be used in future HTC projects. The current lack of such a collaborative framework has created a moat between the humanitarians who daily see technological problems, and the technical experts who daily create new technical solutions and sometimes wonder why those solutions are not more widely deployed. Rather than operating by happenstance, the Humanitarian Technology Challenge is creating a systematic approach to linking technologists with humanitarians on a grand scale.
Date of Publication: Winter 2009