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CBM Global’s Humanitarian Hands-on Tool (HHoT) and I-DRR (Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction) tools are positively impacting the most marginalised communities in so-called ‘developing’ countries by providing inclusive humanitarian relief.

A woman in a wheelchair drawing water using an accessible hand pump in Bangladesh
A woman in a wheelchair drawing water using an accessible hand pump in Bangladesh. Photo © Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), Dhaka-1340 Bangladesh

About CBM Global

CBM Global Disability Inclusion (or simply CBM Global) is a federation of seven member associations, which include: CBM Australia, CBM New Zealand, CBM Kenya, CBM Switzerland, CBM South Africa, CBM UK, and CBM Ireland.

Originally part of CBM International Federation, CBM Global works in so-called ‘developing’ countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America predominantly with people with disabilities.

What they do

CBM Global works on different kinds of programmes. They include:

  • Community-based inclusive development
  • Eye health services
  • Community mental health
  • Consultancy, advocacy, and outreach via their Inclusion Advisory Group
  • Humanitarian action

HHoT and I-DRR: How to build inclusive relief and recovery work

CBM’s mission is to fight exclusion and build inclusive communities where everyone can enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

Working alongside CBM in 2017 we launched the Humanitarian Hands-on Tool (or HHoT).

HHoT offers practical advice to ensure people with disabilities can access emergency services with dignity.

It’s made of easy-to-read task cards organised into different topics (tags). Each card presents useful information for designing and implementing inclusive humanitarian efforts.

The whole application can be downloaded so it is also available offline — a useful feature for humanitarian workers intervening in disaster areas.

Task cards are interlinked, shareable, and can be saved as favourites making an easy and quick way for users to ‘bookmark’ them.

Over the years HHoT went through a few iterations. It is now a multilingual progressive web application (or PWA) available in English, Spanish, Bengali (Bangladesh), Bahasa Indonesia, and Ukrainian.

Hompage of the Humanitarian Hands On Tool in Ukranian
Homepage of the Humanitarian Hands On Tool in Ukrainian

We have worked together for several years. During this journey, the tools have evolved and improved thanks to the support Studio 24 staff have provided us – leading the translation of our idea into technical solutions.

Alberto Tonon, CBM Global

Where HHoT is used?

In 2021, we rolled out HHoT (and its sister app I-DRR) in Bengali (the official language of Bangladesh) and Bahasa Indonesia.

CBM Global has been working in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh since late 2017, alongside organisations such as Save the Children and Oxfam.

These organisations employ both international and local officers and have started using HHoT to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in their humanitarian work. Their translation into the local language facilitates the promotion of HHoT as the go-to tool when it comes to inclusive projects.

The war in Ukraine

According to the United Nations, the conflict in Ukraine has caused the world’s fastest-growing displacement crisis since World War II.

The European Disability Forum estimates that over 143,600 persons with disabilities have been affected since the beginning of the war.

CBM Global joined the coordinated relief efforts that include organisations such as Oxfam, Unicef, and World Vision by providing both HHoT & I-DRR apps in Ukrainian, which officially launched in April 2022.

A careful choice of technology

There were three main considerations when deciding which technology to use for the HHot and i-DRR applications.

  1. They need to be highly performant (i.e. have fast load times) whilst being used on disrupted or poor internet connections.
  2. It is imperative that the interfaces meet accessibility guidelines.
  3. The applications also need to be easy to maintain at a reasonable cost.

We, therefore, opted for building them as Progressive Web Applications (PWA). PWAs offer capabilities similar to that of native mobile apps yet they rely on technologies that are familiar to any web developer. They are websites with an added layer of native-like functionalities. This means it is easy to find team members able to perform maintenance on them.

The work done with Studio 24 is a great example of innovation in the humanitarian sector.

Alberto Tonon, CBM Global