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Saving lives with technology
THE inaugural Disaster Tech Innovation Competition attracted 60 participants globally, and five finalists were selected to present at a Live Pitch Event in Singapore.
The finalists demonstrated how they would leverage technology solutions for disaster prevention and recovery efforts in the region, in front of a panel of expert judges.
Part of the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme, the competition was organised by Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia, and AVPN, a Singapore-based funders' network committed to building a high-impact social investment community across Asia-Pacific.
The Disaster Tech Innovation Programme seeks to reinforce the importance of innovative technologies in protecting and saving lives before, during and after natural disasters.
Donald Kanak, chairman of the Prudence Foundation, said he believes that it would be a good thing if technology could be leveraged to improve preparation and rebuilding efforts before and after a disaster.
The foundation then came up with the idea for a competition that focused on this aspect.
Humanitarian digital platform FieldSight took home the first prize with its mobile platform that supports disaster reconstruction activities, securing a grant of US$100,000.
FieldSight was founded following the Nepal Earthquake in 2015. Developed in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), FieldSight aimed to develop a digitised monitoring process that would aid the infrastructure and construction process.
Said Justin Henceroth, director, FieldSight: "The Disaster Tech Innovation Competition has further connected us to a wider network of contacts, technical expertise and financial support that we did not previously have, which will be critical to FieldSight's efforts to minimise the impact of natural disasters in Asia-Pacific and globally."
Mr Henceroth said he hopes to invest the grant won by his team in reviewing and analysing the data collected from their work, as well as develop a wider community of people using the app.
Genevieve Lefebvre, project manager, UNOPS Nepal, said that FieldSight has been very helpful in assessing the reconstruction progress and quality in their India-funded project in Nuwakot. "Out in the field, far from cities and commodities, away from any form of technology, FieldSight allows my engineers and community messengers to record information on their tablets and upload it days later for analysis and project management," she said.
Kevin Teo, chief operating officer of AVPN, said: "AVPN is pleased to partner Prudence Foundation to bring together collaborators to develop and realise innovative solutions to limit the adverse impact of natural disasters."
Chairman of Prudence Foundation Mr Kanak said: "Technology advancement is not only increasing the connection among communities, it is also serving a higher purpose of protecting and saving lives."