Coordination During Humanitarian Crises with Ali Ercan Özgür

Coordination During Humanitarian Crises with Ali Ercan Özgür

In the 2nd episode of the ReFi Turkiye Podcast, we are joined by Ali Ercan Özgür, whom we know from his experiences with IDEMA, İhtiyaç Haritası (Map of Needs), and SOS Chain. We listened to Ercan as he shared the scope and motivations behind his coordination-based work during disasters and humanitarian crises. We heard examples of recent crises that have occurred suddenly and had striking consequences. Additionally, we had a conversation that touched on various topics, ranging from international development to donation management from a web3 perspective and its social impact. Since his university years, Özgür has been interested in development and decentralization. In 2011, he founded IDEMA International Development to generate and manage social development projects. While continuing in his role as a founding partner and manager at IDEMA, in 2014, together with Mert Fırat, he launched İhtiyaç Haritası (Map of Needs), an intermediary-free and transparent platform connecting those in need with individuals and organizations willing to support them. In addition to these projects, he is developing SOS Chain, a blockchain fund for global disasters and humanitarian crises, with the goal of creating a decentralized and fair ecosystem for everyone.

To Get the Episode's NFT:

With the code you will hear in the episode, you can get the NFT that we have prepared specifically for the podcast episode via POAP.

Links to Listen:

→ Notes from the Episode:

You can find Raj Kumar's The Business of Changing the World, recommended by Ali Ercan Özgür, in e-book format on the page.

You can closely examine the work of ReFi Turkiye, which is moving around the concept of regenerative finance via page.

You can have information about the Needs Map co-founded by Ali Ercan Özgür via the page.

You can read Ali Ercan Özgür's interview on local governments, development, sustainability and global integration via the page.

You can watch Özgür's talk "How to Be Included in the Impact Area of Social Media?" at TEDX at the address.

You can read the summary of the "imece Dialogues" webinar session on disasters of the imece platform at address.

Highlights from the Episode:

  • 01:02 "Towards the Establishment of IDEMA with International Development" 05:53 "Meeting of SOS Chain and Web3"
  • 12:07 "Their Operations in Times of Disaster"
  • 20:45 ''The Venture Projects and Web3 World''
  • 24.48 "Areas that are Stimulated by Web3"
  • 31:25 "Risks that Web3 Might Create"
  • 31:31 "Can Inequalities Be Solved With Unlimited Budget Access?"

What We Discussed In This Episode:

Ercan, who conducted his thesis on the administration and governance of humanitarian assistance, elucidates his drive to contemplate how to enhance projects' effectiveness, manage global public resources and individual contributions with resoluteness and illustration: "The administration of assistance worldwide is bureaucratic and ineffective, and it is centralized. In Honduras, only $10 of the allocated $100 for a project, which supports the education of one girl, reaches the actual beneficiary The remaining $90 is consumed by bureaucracy and project management." Ali Ercan condenses his professional journey as generating novel structures in the societal realm, establishing a community, mastering the art of embellishing them with sustainable financial models, fostering resource variety, and adapting to crises.

Underscoring the problems of centralization and coordination in aid during crises such as earthquakes, floods, wildfires, and refugee concerns, Ercan expounds on the proposed solution: "To implement the mechanism that will unite supply and demand and distribute them across different parts of the city by sharing them with the public."

In the words of Ali Ercan, the Needs Map aims to "democratize a centralized cooperative and hierarchical structure, transitioning from person to person, and eventually transforming those in need into supporters." SOS Chain is an initiative we have established to explore the feasibility of implementing a web3-based system that facilitates rapid coordination during disasters, bringing together financial resources and local needs swiftly. Through a collaborative process involving Ali Ercan, various parties, and stakeholders, we designed a role-sharing framework, enabling the residents affected by the Izmir Earthquake to find housing within 1-2 weeks, as opposed to the 3-month waiting period typically required in container cities. One of the difficulties encountered in times of disaster is that the money to meet various needs, from helicopters to rakes, from caravans to shower areas during the intervention to forest fires, cannot be supplied at a speed that can meet the need immediately. "Foundations, associations, companies are not ready because of their bureaucracy, again because of the centralist understanding; maybe they'll be able to have that money ready in 2 months, but we need it at the moment, now, just right now. (...) So we've said, can we create a 'disaster trust fund'? (...) In the development world, there are concepts that we call 'trust funds', that is, there is ready money in hand, it is used only for the need and in a specific area. (...) The fund that is ready is immediately activated, sent to the local partner and they use the money. (...) And the only solution to that is to map the information from the stakeholders to the parties, and we thought of course the thing that could solve this was the technology.’’

"We think good, for the world, for our neighborhood, for future generations, and for this we need resources," Ali Ercan says and adds: "There's also an area where you can be a part of fund-raising. It's exciting to own a finance, to be in a place of decision-making."

Another point that Ali Ercan emphasizes in the podcast is the need to build spaces of trust: "This area is not a field of competition. In order for it to grow exponentially, it's like building up a yard and gathering all the different actors there, including technologists, financiers, and social entrepreneurs."