Come back in early July for more details on the AI4Resilience Challenge.
Bangladesh is at the intersection of three multi-dimensional humanitarian challenges that require a unique blend of innovative solutions tailored to the local context: the Rohingya refugee crisis, climate-related vulnerability, and the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The innovation ecosystem in Bangladesh is young and energetic, yet many innovation efforts focused on humanitarian response and long-term community resilience are top-down. This creates “solutions” that are not appropriate for the needs of local communities.
Through Accelerating Innovation for Resilience (AI4Resilience), we are strengthening the ecosystem for local humanitarian innovation, activating organizations and intermediaries to design 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 starts with collectively mapping the innovation ecosystem and identifying strategic opportunities for transformation, leading to a competitive 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. With support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, AI4Resilience’s work in Bangladesh in 2022-2023 is a pilot with investment in learning activities to inform future deployments and expansion of the program.
Come back soon for our Bangladesh humanitarian innovation systems maps!
Over the last several years, innovation has played an increasing role in how humanitarian actors and communities respond to disasters and build resilience. Yet many humanitarian innovation efforts are top-down, leading to the development of solutions that are not appropriate for the needs of local communities and of approaches that ultimately fail to gain traction within affected communities and humanitarian organizations.
Local innovation ecosystem actors and intermediaries are best positioned to increase the supply and scale of innovations that meet the needs of local communities and unlock the agency of affected communities to create better lives for themselves. Such programs, initiatives and investments are ultimately only successful over the long term, however, if they are coupled with efforts to strengthen collaboration, partnerships and capacity across the local innovation
ecosystem as a whole.
At a time when both the frequency and scale of humanitarian crises is increasing and the humanitarian community’s ability to respond to disasters, both man-made and natural, is stretched thin, it is imperative to develop, support, scale, and mainstream new approaches and solutions to complement traditional humanitarian assistance and disaster response.