Accelerating Innovation for Resilience (Ai4Resilience)
Bangladesh faces several intersecting humanitarian challenges such as the Rohingya refugee crisis, climate-related vulnerability, and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yet many humanitarian innovation efforts are top-down, leading to the development of solutions that are not aligned with the needs of local communities. Bangladesh also has great potential to support and foster innovations that respond to these and other emerging humanitarian challenges and ongoing stressors in the country. Programs, initiatives, and investments to foster local innovation will ultimately only be successful over the long-term if they are part of efforts to strengthen collaboration, partnerships, and capacity across the local innovation ecosystem as a whole.
Through Accelerating Innovation for Resilience (AI4Resilience), we are activating a network to strengthen the ecosystem for local humanitarian innovation, incentivizing organizations and intermediaries to design and deploy solutions that can lead to systems-level changes. Our program is designed to allow the insights and natural leadership within the local ecosystem to emerge over time while building new capacities and networks for solution acceleration. This started with collectively mapping Bangladesh’s system for innovation for humanitarian response and community resilience. Through this process we identified strategic opportunities for transformation, leading to a competitive “challenge” process to incentivize, facilitate, and support ecosystem actors’ development and refinement of solutions. With a stronger innovation ecosystem, communities can better catalyze the supply and scale of locally-relevant innovations while enhancing networks, partnerships, and collaboration.
AI4Resilience is implemented in partnership with Spring Activator with support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. AI4Resilience’s work in Bangladesh is a pilot with investment in learning activities to inform future deployments and expansion of the program to other parts of the world.
Call to Action
We invite eligible organizations and individuals to apply to participate in the first AI4Resilience Challenge here. Eligible finalists will receive $5000 and additional support to design and plan their solutions, while winners will receive a share of about $225,000 in implementation funding. We are also seeking judges, mentors, partners, co-sponsors, and other forms of participation; please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. A full overview of the AI4Resilience Challenge and eligibility requirements, application steps, and other frequently asked questions is available here.
The Challenge is supporting the co-creation of solutions that can strengthen the ecosystem for innovations fostering community-led humanitarian response and long-term resilience. Selected participants will design and deploy solutions that address the challenge objectives and a set of Challenge Statements co-created with stakeholders of Bangladesh’s innovation and humanitarian systems. AI4Resilience will support selected participants to refine and develop their solution concepts and to begin deploying their solutions, through training, mentorship, networking, and financial support.
Stakeholders are also invited to respond to our Social Network Survey.