“We don’t just delivery bags of food to people,” said the spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP) at this year’s UK Security Exhibition being held at London’s Olympia exhibition centre between 28 November and 29 November. The WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, and is the branch of the United Nations charged with addressing hunger and promoting food security. The organisation’s stand features Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets taking the wearer directly into the environments where the WFP performs its life-saving work.

However, VR and AR headsets are only part of the story. The spokesperson added that the WFP has taken a keen interest in technology, and how this can enhance its mission. In particular, it has embraced the use of blockchain which it says is assisting its provision of humanitarian aid for refugees in Jordan whom have fled the devastating civil war in Syria. For the uninitiated, blockchain can be thought of as a distributed ledger. Each ‘block’ in the chain is a record which is timestamped and encrypted. It is seen as a particularly efficient way of recording the transactions and flows of information between two or more parties. The spokesperson said that, in the case of the refugees in Jordan, this can be used to record a refugee’s identity, the aid that they have been received and other pertinent information. This helps to vastly improve and streamline the provision of aid, helping it  to be delivered in a more cost effective and efficient fashion.

The World Food Programme is embracing new technologies in its provision of humanitarian aid, including the use of blockchain. (Photo: US DOD)

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