Swiss Solidarity has just created a special fund to finance its partner NGOs’ innovative projects. A platform made up of 15 partners was established for the purpose of fostering the exchange of know-how and promoting innovation.
Innovation has already been put to the test in the humanitarian sector and contributes undeniably to its operational efficiency. The use of drones to map disaster zones following earthquakes, renewable energy in refugee camps, 3D printers to produce prostheses: these are just a few examples of the activities Swiss Solidarity’s partner NGOs have already developed.
To this day, difficulty funding innovative projects, the many risks involved and the skills which need to be acquired make many NGOs hesitant to automatically seek out innovative solutions. Swiss Solidarity wishes to help NGOs overcome some of these obstacles and, in so doing, bolster the effectiveness of humanitarian projects.
Swiss Solidarity chose a participative approach to assembling its exchange platform, which has already met twice to develop a framework. It is hosted, among others, by the Global Humanitarian Lab (GHL), which thereby fulfils its role as a hub for innovation. The GHL and experts from Terre des hommes – Child relief and Handicap International monitor the platform in their role as steering committee members.
The fund, which is open to Swiss NGOs and funded through unallocated donations such as bequests, is endowed with a starting capital of 500,000 CHF. Applications for innovation projects may also be submitted for geography-specific (e.g. Nepal, the Philippines, Haiti) or theme-specific (child relief, marginalised youth, unaccompanied minors) funds for projects both in Switzerland and abroad. The first projects may be submitted, in accordance with specific guidelines, starting 2 February 2018.