AidEx2012: Innovating for humanitarian aid and development

Mićo Tatalović

Mićo Tatalović
News editor, SciDev.Net

This week sees AidEx2012: The Global Humanitarian & Development Aid Event billed as the “only event of its kind” in Europe for buyers and suppliers, taking place in Brussels, Belgium (24–25 October).

The event has sponsored the attendance of local innovators and aid suppliers from Sub-Saharan African and South-East Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nepal, the Philippines, and Togo.

AidEx is giving an Aid Innovation Challenge award to one of four shortlisted new ideas for products and services for the humanitarian aid and development sector. Shortlisted ideas include a portable solar lantern and a water bag with built-in purifier.

It will also give a Humanitarian Hero Award. Two of the four shortlisted candidates are from Kenya: Evans Wadongo, executive director of an NGO called Sustainable Development For All who has “developed a simple solar lamp mostly from recycled materials, that is changing lives in Africa”; and Abbas Gullet, secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross, whose “timely interventions and leadership” have made his organisation a national and international success.

I will try to catch up with some of these innovators and report on goings-on here, building on our recent coverage of the concerns that some of the exhibitors had, when they cited a need for better links between the aid and science communities, and to promote innovation in conflict relief.

And it will be interesting to see if any of the themes from last week’s European Development Days remerge.

But it will be busy: apart from the exhibition featuring more than 200 suppliers, there are concurrent practical workshops on issues such as the “use of modern technology to support effective humanitarian delivery” and “recent innovations in aid”, as well as a conference discussing issues such as “new models of aid delivery” and “social media and aid”.

This blog post is part of our blog on AidEx2012, which takes place on 24-25 October 2012 in Brussels.

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