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UK and GSMA Launch Partnership on Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation


The GSMA and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) today announced the launch of ‘Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation’ (M4H), a programme designed to accelerate the delivery and impact of digital humanitarian assistance. Through M4H, the public and private sectors will leverage new technologies to create durable solutions that improve access to and use of mobile-enabled services, enhancing emergency preparedness, response and recovery.

“Technology and innovation have a huge role to play in improving the lives of millions of people in the developing world,” said Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary, DFID. “I want to harness the UK’s renowned entrepreneurial spirit and use new technology to deliver smart solutions around the world on everything from health care to natural disasters. I welcome DFID’s partnership with GSMA and our joint push to use mobile technology to boost our global humanitarian efforts.”

“The GSMA is pleased to further its partnership with DFID to accelerate the delivery and impact of sustainable digital humanitarian assistance,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “The scale and reach of mobile networks make them uniquely place to help meet the challenges faced by humanitarian responders and affected populations. Together with DFID, we will build bridges between the mobile industry, other private sector partners and the humanitarian community to catalyse innovation and demonstrate the impact of digital humanitarian assistance.”

According to the United Nations, in 2018, more than 135 million people across the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection. The scale of response required in these situations is placing increasing pressure on the humanitarian sector to find new approaches and partnerships to meet these challenges. However, there is optimism that digital solutions and the ubiquity and continued growth of mobile technology will enable more efficient, effective and dignified aid. This is underscored by the fact that, by 2025, there will be 9 billion mobile connections globally, with 75 per cent of connections being on a smartphone.

Access to mobile connectivity can have a transformative impact on the way humanitarian assistance is delivered and can help empower crisis-affected populations through access to information, services and connection to families. The new M4H programme will unite mobile operators, the private and public sectors and the humanitarian community to progress the development of a digital humanitarian future.

The programme will help foster innovative solutions and build partnerships in areas such as digital identity, mobile money, mobile-enabled energy, climate resilience and food security. It will also provide innovation funding to partnerships that demonstrate the impact of digital solutions in humanitarian contexts. The programme is managed by DFID’s Research and Evidence Division and implemented by the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation.

Granryd concluded, “We have spent the past few researching and working to highlight and demonstrate the opportunities and impact of mobile solutions in humanitarian contexts, including through our Humanitarian Connectivity Charter. Individuals impacted by humanitarian crises are among the most vulnerable in the world. Mobile connectivity can be a lifeline. Together, DFID and the GSMA will expand on this work and undertake collaborative research, facilitate partnerships and support innovations that address the needs of crisis-affected people. Through M4H, the private and public sectors are giving dignity and empowerment to these people and helping them overcome barriers to accessing technology because of displacement, poverty and humanitarian crisis.”

For more information on M4H please go to:


About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

About The Department for International Development (DFID)

We lead the UK government’s work to end extreme poverty. Find out more at

Contact our Press Office: 020 7023 0600 (Overseas +44 20 7023 0600)

Get our latest press releases, free-to-use photos, embeddable videos and case studies online. For breaking news, follow us on Twitter: @DFID_Press

Contact information

For the GSMA
Beau Bass
+44 79 7662 4962
Pau Guerrero / Gloria Almirall
+34 93 236 09 00
GSMA Press Office

Om Business Wire

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