I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Innovation Helping Strengthen Responses to Humanitarian Disasters Globally
Social innovation and new technologies are helping strengthen responses to humanitarian disasters globally. One company creating this shift is Hydration Technology Innovations who saw that refugees need reliable, safe and immediate water when in large camps, or else they can suffer from life threatening diseases such as cholera and dysentery. So, Hydration Technology Innovations invented the HydroPack, which can turn just about any water source - a mud puddle, rainwater, flood waters - into 12 ounces of clean, filtered water in about 10 hours. They have already been used in disaster situations across four continents.
When empty, the 4" by 6" pouch looks like a paper-thin bit of plastic, but drop it into a water source and then it will turn that source into safe drinking water. This social innovation technology works by forward osmosis, the same process by which plant roots extract water from the ground. The HydroPacks are fortified with sugar and salt to help absorption, as well as flavouring to increase the appeal. These packs have made a big difference to the relief work of aid agencies and charities, which until now have relied on chemical tablets or even flown-in bottled water to provide safe drinking water in emergency situations.
About 15,000 of these social innovation HydroPacks, which can be airdropped, have been distributed in flood-ravaged western Kenya this year. Plus, they were used in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in 2010, as well as after the tsunami in Japan last year. Nathan Jones, who works for Hydration Technology Innovations says, "It's a real paradigm shift in how you approach that initial phase of disaster relief. Bottled water is frequently used, but it comes with a really heavy cost, both financial in terms of the transport of it, but environmentally as well."
The HydroPack is just one of a number of new social innovation technologies that are helping the international community hone its response to humanitarian emergencies around the world and its company, Hydration Technology Innovations along with other innovators had the opportunity to sell their products to procurement experts during "pitch tank" sessions at the Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF) this June, 2012 held in Washington, America.
The AIDF is the world leading forum for the humanitarian aid, relief and development sectors which facilitates partnerships, addresses global humanitarian and development issues and encourages the sharing of expertise. It aims to find and support breakthrough solutions to the world's most important development challenges and looks for social innovations with the power to change millions of lives at a fraction of the usual cost. Its an organisation that brings together decision makers from UN, government, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the corporate sector who are involved in the delivery of humanitarian aid relief and development.
Photo Credit: Hydration Technology Innovation's Website