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Humanitarian Supplies Challenge

A call for innovative solutions to help save lives in emergencies

DFAT is investing in new and innovative humanitarian emergency relief supplies to help save lives immediately after a crisis.

Through the Humanitarian Supplies Challenge DFAT is seeking new partnerships with businesses, entrepreneurs, NGOs, social enterprises, academics and other leaders in innovative approaches to humanitarian relief. Together we want to identify new products and innovative solutions that will provide more effective relief to communities in need after disaster strikes.

The DFAT Humanitarian Supplies Challenge closed on 30 September 2016.

The challenges

Currently, DFAT maintains a stockpile of humanitarian relief supplies including: temporary shelter solutions; support for accessing clean water; and portable solutions for energy generation that can support up to 65,000 families. Through the Humanitarian Supplies Challenge, DFAT invites innovative products that can perform better than our existing supplies in these three common challenges faced by those affected by humanitarian disasters in the Pacific.

Walter, Energy and Shelter

1. Providing access to clean water

Following a disaster, access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene is an essential foundation for people’s health and quality of life. When normal access to clean water and regular hygiene routines are disrupted in a crisis, inadequate access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation and poor hygiene practices can lead to significant health impacts including the spread of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoeal disease, polio and hepatitis.

When responding to humanitarian crises DFAT prioritises resources that can be deployed to save lives and assist with access to safe, clean drinking water for individuals, families and communities.

Through the Humanitarian Supplies Challenge, DFAT is seeking new products that can provide low cost, technologically simple, environmentally sensitive solutions for the creation, delivery and storage of potable water at the

  • Personal (1 individual)
  • Family (5 people) and
  • Community (20 families) scales.

2. Generating off-grid energy

Generating electricity after a disaster is vital for: keeping communication lines open, particularly access to mobile phones; preserving health (including cold storage of food and essential medicines); keeping individuals and families safe and preventing unnecessary environmental impact and detrimental health impacts from using wood fires for cooking and lighting.

In the Pacific, delivering energy solutions to remote and hard to access communities impacted by disaster is a significant challenge.

Through the Humanitarian Supplies Challenge, DFAT is seeking new technology and regionally appropriate ways to:

  • Provide temporary power to individuals and remote communities when existing energy systems fail
  • Harness energy from renewable sources if existing energy systems fail after a disaster, and
  • Provide temporary energy storage solutions to families and communities impacted by disasters.

3. Safe temporary shelter options

In the Pacific, climate change is making small island states increasingly vulnerable to severe weather events such as cyclones. These large scale natural disasters can cause catastrophic damage to essential infrastructure such as homes, schools and medical centres

In the aftermath of natural disasters, the rapid provision of appropriate temporary shelter helps protect the most vulnerable members of communities, including women, children and people with disabilities or special needs when their homes or care facilities are no longer habitable.

The unique context of the Indo- Pacific region including its community structures, climate and remoteness require innovative solutions to temporary shelter that are both culturally and technologically appropriate.

Through the Humanitarian Supplies Challenge, DFAT is seeking to supplement our existing temporary shelter products with new technology and innovative solutions that are

  • Safer, lighter, more durable, easily transportable and easy to use, and
  • Technologically and culturally appropriate in the Pacific regional context.

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