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Food Aid Technology: The Experience of a Syrian Refugee Community in Coping with Food Insecurity

Lookup NU author(s): Reem Talhouk, Dr Madeline Balaam, Dr Andy Garbett, Dr Hala Ghattas, Professor Vera Araujo-Soares, Dr Balsam Ahmad, Dr Kyle Montague


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© 2020 ACM.Over half of Syrian refugee households in Lebanon are food insecure with some reliant on an electronic voucher (e-voucher) system for food aid. The interplay between the digitisation of food aid, within the socio-technical context of refugees, and community collaborative practices is yet to be investigated. Through design engagements and interviews with refugees and shop owners we explore the experiences of a Syrian refugee community in Lebanon using the e-voucher system. We provide insights into the socio-technical environment in which the e-voucher system is dispensing aid, the information and power asymmetries experienced, refugee collaborative coping practices and how they interplay with the e-voucher system. We highlight the need for: (1) expanding refugee digital capabilities to encompass understandings of aid technologies and identifying trusted intermediaries and (2) for technologies to support in upholding humanitarian principles and mitigating power and information asymmetries. Lastly, we call for CSCW researchers and humanitarian innovators to consider how humanitarian technologies can enable refugee collaborative practices and adopt everyday security as a lens for designing aid technologies. The paper contributes to CSCW knowledge regarding the interplay between aid technologies and refugees? socio-technical contexts and practices that provides a basis for future technological designs for collaborative technologies for refugee food security.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Talhouk R, Coles-Kemp L, Jensen RB, Balaam M, Garbett A, Ghattas H, Araujo-Soares V, Ahmad B, Montague K

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction

Year of Conference: 2020

Print publication date: 01/10/2020

Online publication date: 01/10/2020

Acceptance date: 01/07/2020

ISSN: 2573-0142

Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery


DOI: 10.1145/3415205

Notes: Article No.: 134


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