Suddenly, no water, no power nor medical care – can anybody be ready for that? For how long could you wait for everything to be back on track? When disaster strikes, it is hard to be ready to cope with the consequences, especially for developing countries in remote and low resource areas. It is necessary to bring quick and efficient solutions to provide relief where it is needed the most, in the core of the disaster-stricken areas. A non-profit, humanitarian organization Field Ready decided to transform the system of humanitarian aid through actually applying innovations in the field, making the process faster, cheaper, better. The main weapons they use to improve logistics and supply chains are technology, innovative design and people willing to learn and be engaged.
How to cut, reduce, save?
Order, pay, put in a shipping container, ship the container, and wait for months or even years for aid to arrive…Expensive and time-consuming. That horribly slow logistical pipeline can literally make the help useless. Organization Field Ready saw the betterment in completely transforming the logistics by making manufacturing local, that is producing products on demand in the onset of disasters. After identifying the problems in the areas such as health, power, sanitation or water, accelerating technologies and design can solve those problems in some cases even in the matter of minutes.
In earthquake struck Haiti, by using 3D printing software, they created umbilical cord clamps that were much needed in order to sustain acceptable level of healthcare. Not only the clamps turned out completely efficient, but they were made in less than 8 minutes. Manufacturing tools like umbilical cord clamps, water fittings, oxygen splitters, prosthetic limbs etc., right where and when needed, provided direct relief with up to 40% less expenses. In some cases, supply chains are practically eliminated. Cut, reduced, saved.
Their approach turned out productive again in Nepal in 2015, after the disastrous earthquake, where the organization helped to staff an Innovation Lab, bringing 3D and CAD experts to Kathmandu. In that way the capacity of digital production of necessary goods was increased. They managed to repair leaking water pipes, ECG machine, baby incubators and fabricate radio antennas directly on-the-ground and by that came to feasible solutions. Not only it helped Nepal people at the time of the crisis, but it provided them with various skills related to design, prototyping and printing techniques, thus building muscle for future challenges.
Sharing is caring
After the phases of assessment, design and production, Field Ready is proud of the last but not least – sharing and leading. Besides openly sharing validated and quality tested designs and goods, passing on the skills and expertise to the locals is one of the key elements in their innovative humanitarian work. It includes training locals, building capacity of the aid sector and technical assistance to partners, thereby enabling greater reach and sustainability of their projects. Over 1,000 people have been trained so far. Through pioneering its methods, Field Ready wants to set the example for their partners and others to follow. End goal is to make this innovative approach become a standard way of providing international aid.
After all, perhaps we can never be completely prepared for the devastating aftermath of nature’s outbursts, but surely, we can work on our recuperation faster, stronger, harder.