Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia, and AVPN, a Singapore-based funders’ network that is committed to building a high-impact social investment community across Asia Pacific, announced the launch of the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme on Wednesday (20 February).
Asia Pacific is the region that is most prone to and affected by natural disasters worldwide – a person living in Asia Pacific is five times more likely to be affected by natural disasters than a person living outside the region. Since 2005, more than 500,000 lives have been lost and 1.4 billion people affected by natural disasters, resulting in US$900 billion in economic losses.
To help address this, the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme seeks to raise the awareness and profile of innovative and viable technology solutions which aim to protect and save lives before, during and after natural disasters, or “Disaster Tech”.
It will be centred around a competition for both for-profit and non-profit social purpose organisations to crowdsource innovative Disaster Tech solutions that complement and enhance existing disaster risk reduction efforts in Asia Pacific and ultimately help reduce human and economic losses.
Participating organisations stand a chance to win grants from a total pool of US$150,000 to support the implementation and scaling up of their Disaster Tech solutions. In addition, finalists will be invited to showcase their solutions and seek further partnerships at the next annual AVPN Conference in June 2019, the largest gathering of social impact funders and resource providers in Asia.
Kevin Teo, Chief Operating Officer, AVPN, said, “Fostering partnerships and enabling cross-sector collaboration is the way forward in disaster preparedness and risk mitigation. AVPN is pleased to be able to bring together collaborators to support innovation solutions to limit the adverse impact of natural disasters.”
Donald Kanak, Chairman, Prudence Foundation, said, “Natural disasters are terrible incidents, but we see huge opportunities in harnessing technology to protect and save lives. We believe the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme will bring together innovators and like-minded funders and resource providers, to help make our communities safer, more secure and more resilient. This programme, like our initiatives SAFE STEPS and Safe Schools, supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 13 (Climate Action).”
Natural disasters are particularly devastating in this region as risk exposure and vulnerability are heightened due to fast-growing populations and a significant proportion of poor and marginalised communities. This magnifies the importance of building disaster preparedness capacity and highlights the importance of collaboration across all sectors in reducing the threat and impact of natural disasters.
Building on the ongoing efforts of Prudence Foundation to promote disaster preparedness across Asia since 2013, the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme also hopes to encourage more organisations to contribute in this area.
The competition is now open for entries. Details of the application process, timeline and other relevant information can be found here.