Innovations for humanitarian response and resilient communities
The calls for help from those suffering from natural and manmade disasters all around the world are becoming increasingly urgent and desperate. It is now estimated that more than 65 million people worldwide have been displaced from their homes and 130 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid to survive. While the private sector definitely has an important role to play in contributing to humanitarian relief efforts, Ericsson believes it is equally important that we offer our expertise to help build resilient communities that are better equipped to cope with crises when they occur. The concept of “resilient communities” is, of course, a key aspect of the thinking behind the Global Goals.
Our company purpose at Ericsson is to innovate technology for good. With this purpose as our guide, we have chosen to contribute our technology and the expertise of our employees to a number of humanitarian initiatives over the years. Our longest standing partnership with the UN is Ericsson Response, whose most recent deployment is currently ongoing in the Caribbean. Our volunteers in that deployment are helping the UN World Food Programme’s Emergency Telecom Cluster connect relief workers to help them do their jobs more effectively. Another example of how we are supporting humanitarian response is the online platform we developed for Refugees United, an organization that helps refugees reconnect with their loved ones.
To enable a more predictable response during crises, we are working with mobile operators through the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter to scale and standardize preparedness and response activities across the industry. We see this as an important step in the effort to help improve the preparedness and resilience of vulnerable communities and empower individuals in disaster situations.
New innovation fund – share your ideas!
The Disaster Response Innovation Fund that the GSMA announced today on the margins of the UN General Assembly offers an excellent opportunity for more companies to get involved in creating innovative solutions to deal with humanitarian crises. Supported by the UK’s Department for International Development, the Fund is looking for ideas that use mobile technology to assist and empower individuals or communities affected by humanitarian emergencies. This is an excellent opportunity to get seed funding to test new products or services as well as to replicate and scale solutions while driving innovation to humanitarian response. If you have an idea, don’t delay – the application process closes on October 13.