PhD Researcher and Part-time Teaching Associate
Ashraf has a Master of Development Policy from the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, (2017-2018), South Korea. He has a master's in accounting and finance from the Islamic University of Gaza, (2008), Palestine. He is a former policy leader fellow at the European University Institute - School of Transnational Governance, (2019), Italy. He has worked for different organizations in Palestine for 17 years and prepared two research reports on transparency and anti-corruption for Transparency International - Palestine office.
The Accountability Patterns of Humanitarian Organizations in the Digital Age: A Critical Lens on Technocolonialism Discourse in Palestine.
Over decades, the number of natural disasters and human-made disasters has worldwide grown, leading to a significant world increase in the number of people affected. The increase in the worldwide humanitarian crises has also been accompanied by a rise in international humanitarian intervention from governments and humanitarian organizations (HOs). Humanitarianism has always been a complex phenomenon; it is not just a humanitarian mission to provide aid and shelter to diminish suffering, but also it is an industry and socio-political discourse with historical roots. With the increasing number of people who need humanitarian assistance, particularly in societies that are typically former colonial, the humanitarian sector faces considerable challenges. These challenges are not only associated with the practices of humanitarianism, but also with humanitarianism’s socio-political discourse. One of these challenges is the HO's accountability and its interactive nature with the colonial legacies reproduced in contemporary digital transformation.
Digitalization is proposed as a solution to several challenges in the humanitarian sector. Nowadays, the use of digital technologies such as social media, big data, algorithms, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mobile applications has become noticeable in the operations of HOs. This has led to strengthening humanitarian agencies' capacity to anticipate and cope better with crises. Additionally, the interactive nature of digital technologies is rendered as a potential to facilitate the accountability of HOs to diverse stakeholders. However, despite the enthusiasm for the use of digitalization in the work of HOs, humanitarian work has been criticized for deficiencies and the failure to mitigate specific crises. More importantly, digital humanitarianism has been considered a form of neo-colonialism that perpetuates the dependencies and the disenfranchisement of the communities that HOs serve. It, therefore, reproduces the asymmetrical power relationships, disrupts local solidarities, and creates new dependencies. Also, it generates serious concerns regarding bias, data leakage, and information-sharing practices with governments and commercial firms.
This qualitative research project aims to explore and understand how and under what conditions the new forms of accountability materialize and are shaped differently in the digital era, and with what outcomes? How are the processes and relations of HOs’ accountability changing in the Technocolonialism era?
Ashraf is working on his PhD research under supervision of Prof. Yasmin Ibrahim, Prof. Stephen Fox, and Dr. Manuela Perrotta.
Organisational Processes and Practices Research Group (OPPRG).