Digital Transformation in Development Settings: Remote Volunteering and Digital Humanitarianism

Bianca Fadel*, Thiago Elert Soares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter analyses experiences of digital transformation in humanitarian and development settings in global South contexts affected by disasters and protracted crises, with a specific focus on experiences of remote volunteering and digital humanitarianism. The chapter develops a critical conceptualisation of technology-induced changes in the work of humanitarian and development organisations present in such spaces, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It shows how advancements in digital technologies (e.g. high-resolution aerial imagery, artificial intelligence), together with innovative digital engagement practices (e.g. crowd-mapping, micro-tasking, and distributed fact-checking) have impacted work processes and are transforming the ways in which volunteers can be engaged in supporting social work and crisis responses. The chapter argues that while remote volunteering and digital humanitarianism can provide flexibility and diverse forms of online engagement, they are not a panacea for the sector; instead, they are entangled with intricate inequalities and exclusions that require further attention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Everyday Digital Life
EditorsHopeton S. Dunn, Massimo Ragnedda, Maria Laura Ruiu, Laura Robinson
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783031304385
ISBN (Print)9783031304378, 9783031304408
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Oct 2023

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