Singapore: 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, have announced the winners of their inaugural Disaster Tech Innovation Competition . The competition is at the core of the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme, which seeks to reinforce the importance of innovative technologies in protecting and saving lives before, during and after natural disasters (or “Disaster Tech”).
Following a worldwide call for applicants earlier this year, the competition culminated in a Live Pitch Event in Singapore where five finalists  from across the world, comprising both for-profit and non-profit social purpose organisations (SPOs), went head to head in front of a panel of expert judges  . With operations covering markets such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Taiwan, the finalists demonstrated how they would leverage technology solutions for disaster prevention and recovery efforts in the region.
FieldSight took home the First Prize with its mobile platform which supports disaster reconstruction activities, securing a grant of US$100,000 to support the implementation and scaling up of its Disaster Tech solution.
“The frequency and scale of disasters around the world are unfortunately growing, but Disaster Tech solutions are in a unique position to help communities better respond to and recover from these destructive events,” said Mr Justin Henceroth, Director, FieldSight. “We first launched our platform in Nepal following the devastating earthquakes of 2015 but have since implemented it at 60,000 sites in 16 markets to monitor and supervise the quality assurance processes of humanitarian and post-disaster infrastructure activities. 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.”
FieldSight: Competition Winner — US$100,000
SeismicAI: First Runner-up — US$30,000; in recognition of its Artificial-Intelligence-powered early warning system that detects seismic activity within two seconds
PetaBencana.id: Second Runner-up — US$20,000; in recognition of its free web-based platform that produces megacity-scale visualisations of disasters using both crowd-sourced reporting and real-time statistics
The Other Finalists:
OpenAerialMap; in recognition of its drone imagery platform for rapid sharing during disasters
People in Need; in recognition of its early warning system for floods using Internet of Things-based sensors
The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the most at risk from natural disasters. Over one billion people in developing countries across Asia are viewed to be at risk from multiple hazards, including tropical cyclones, floods, earthquakes and more. It is also estimated that 200 million children each year will have their lives severely disrupted by natural disasters in coming decades.
“Technology advancement is not only increasing the connection among communities, it is also serving a higher purpose of protecting and saving lives. We are confident the ground-breaking technologies from our finalists will make a difference in helping communities in Asia be better prepared and recover faster from the devastation of natural disasters. We are grateful to all our partners who supported the competition and look forward to working with more organisations to make our communities safer, more secure and more resilient,” said Mr Donald Kanak, Chairman of Prudence Foundation.
In addition, as part of the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme to support Disaster Tech SPOs, the finalists were invited to showcase their solutions and seek further partnerships at the annual AVPN Conference from 26 to 28 June 2019 in Singapore, the largest gathering of social impact funders and resource providers in Asia.
“AVPN is pleased to partner with Prudence Foundation to bring together collaborators to develop and realise innovative solutions to limit the adverse impact of natural disasters,” said Mr Kevin Teo, Chief Operating Officer of AVPN. “At AVPN, our mission is to move more capital towards impact, so initiatives like these are ideal because they both directly mobilise funding for high impact organisations as well as expose these organisations to the broader AVPN community to inspire even more action.”
Building on the ongoing efforts of Prudence Foundation to promote disaster preparedness and recovery across Asia since 2013, the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme aims to encourage more organisations to contribute in this area. Similar to other Prudence Foundation initiatives focused on disaster risk reduction, SAFE STEPS and Safe Schools, the programme supports UN Sustainable Development Goals; specifically Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 13 (Climate Action).
As technology continues to evolve and offer more ground-breaking solutions that can help prevent and enable communities to recover from the impact of natural disasters, Prudence Foundation plans to continue building the awareness and supporting Disaster Tech organisations with a view to discovering and maximising the collective impact of technologies available. To find out more about the Disaster Tech Innovation Programme, visit https://avpn.asia/disaster-tech/ .