The GSM Association (GSMA) representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem has launched its disaster response innovation fund.
In the overall, the fund is aimed to spur development of mobile technology solutions to assist and empower people and communities affected by humanitarian emergencies, and to strengthen disaster prevention, preparedness and response.
The Fund is backed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and supported by the GSMA and its members.
“Mobile technology is a vital tool to help those impacted by natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies,” said John Giusti, the GSMA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “In support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the GSMA has launched the Disaster Response Innovation Fund to extend the impact of mobile in helping build resilient infrastructure and making communities inclusive, safe, and sustainable.”
In times of crisis and disaster, mobile networks facilitate critical communication between humanitarian agencies, affected populations and the international community. This has been evidenced in the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the ongoing displacement crisis in the Middle East and Europe, and many other recent events.
The Disaster Response Innovation Fund will stimulate the development of mobile-based solutions that deliver a positive impact on people affected by disasters and crises, helping to reduce risk, save lives, ease suffering and promote recovery.
The Fund is open to applicants delivering impact in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and/or North Africa. Applications must represent a collaboration consisting of two or more mobile network operators, NGOs, humanitarian agencies, emergency/environmental bodies and/or private sector companies. For instance, potential applications could include an Internet of Things solution for triggering early warning system alerts or an open-source mobile-based platform for sharing humanitarian information.
Funding of up to £300,000 per project is available and applicants should be either seed projects to test new products or services, or market validation projects to replicate proven products or services. Applications will be assessed through a two-stage application process: concept notes should be submitted between 7 September and 13 October 2017 and then selected applicants will be asked to submit a full proposal by 1 December 2017. The selection of projects to be funded will be finalised in late March 2018.