U.K. Launches Innovation Fund for International Development and Aid

British international aid

The U.K. has launched an innovations fund for new approaches to aid and development, focusing on operational strategies to better deliver aid, according to the United Nations-affiliated newswire, IRIN. Situations such as the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan floods are two recent examples that exemplify the need for aid to be better managed, especially in the area of sanitation in the aftermaths of natural disaster.

It’s likely that technology-based solutions will be at the forefront of such innovations in aid delivery; tools such as Mercy Corps’ mobile money program in Haiti and their deployment of highly efficient water-treatment systems in the Pakistan flood crisis have earned them quite a “buzz” in the development community already.

The $1.4 million fund will be co-managed by the Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELHRA) group and the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) group, both of which promote cross-sectoral partnerships and training to better bolster the aid industry.

“While the past 20 years has seen humanitarian innovation at the policy level… there have been fewer changes in how assistance is actually delivered… This fund is focusing on operational innovations in disaster contexts that aim to deliver improved humanitarian outcomes,” said ALNAP head of R&D, Ben Ramalingam.

Just last week we reported on the United States Agency for International Development’s new Development Innovation Ventures and Clinton’s remarks on the United States’ commitment to tech entrepreneurs. It just seems to be that time of the month for making big announcements about innovation. Have the U.K. and the U.S. really caught the entrepreneurship bug or are they just plain desperate for new ideas and revenue streams? With the U.K.’s rather dismal support for international aid, what are we to conclude? We shall see.

[Image: Flickr user isafmedia]JN