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

Reem Talhouk, Lizzie Coles-Kemp, Rikke Bjerg Jensen, Madeline Balaam, Andrew Garbett, Hala Ghattas, Vera Araujo-Soares, Balsam Ahmad, Kyle Montague

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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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 sociotechnical 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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
EventACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing -
Duration: 17 Oct 202021 Oct 2020


ConferenceACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing
Abbreviated titleCSCW
Internet address

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