A race to save children’s lives

NextDayBetter Co-founder Ryan Letada. Screen shot from Makilala TV

NextDayBetter Co-founder Ryan Letada. Screen shot from Makilala TV

The social platform NextDayBetter is calling on Filipinos to participate in a contest seeking innovative life-saving solutions in the 72 crucial hours after a disaster. In such circumstances, children are the most vulnerable.

The project known as “Global Innovation Challenge: First 72 Hours” is jointly organized by UNICEF and Socialab. NextDayBetter is helping to promote it within the global Filipino diaspora. The contest comes with a $15K seed funding and a two-week trip to Latin America.

“There is an opportunity to rethink and innovate on rapid relief response post natural disasters,” said Ryan Letada, co-founder of NextDayBetter.

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, NDB’s community of designers and changemakers came together to design and create solutions that support efforts to rebuild the Philippines and other disaster-prone areas, said Letada. “Through (this contest) changemakers will be able to submit their solutions focused on energy, healthcare, information communication, food and water.”

Letada said the solutions need not be strictly technology-based.

“It can be a new product, new technology or process, or an improvement to an existing technology or process,” he explained to The FilAm. “It’s important that solutions address needs within the first 72 hours of a natural disaster.”

According to Julio Dantas, UNICEF’s Innovation Focal Point for Latin America and the Caribbean, ensuring that children are safe with their families is what matters most.

“Early warning signals, real time data gathering and analysis, and family reunification are a few of the areas where innovative processes, products and technologies can have real impact,” he said in a statement.

Julian Ugarte, executive director of Socialab explained the contest further.

“We formulated a challenge that aims to bring together all the solutions that exist in the world. In this way, and through this repository of collective intelligence, we make a positive impact and overcome disasters faster, and more efficiently so that people suffer less and their quality and way of life returns to normal,” he said.

The three-way collaboration of NextDayBetter, UNICEF and Socialab came about as a result of a hackathon NDB recently hosted in New York City and Toronto. That gathering brought together strategists, designers and developers to create solutions to help build a more resilient Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.

“Considering the bevy of creative solutions produced and inspired by the Philippines, it made absolute sense for NDB to connect with Socialab and UNICEF to drive participation and entries from the global Filipino diaspora,” said Letada.

He met Dantas who became this “great bridge, who understood the power and agency of Filipinos to create solutions for their own societal challenges,” he said further.

Letada voiced confidence Filipino social entrepreneurs are up to the challenge. “They are seizing this opportunity and launching creative solutions to help communities better withstand future earthquake and mega storms.”

For more information, contact Julio Dantas at jdantas@unicef.org. Deadline for submission is March 13, 2014.

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