Wanted: The big aid innovation of 2013

By Jenny Lei Ravelo 20 December 2012

Photo by: Jeff Kubina / CC BY-SA

Bold. Unique. Scalable. These characterize the many innovations we featured this year — and look forward to discovering in 2013.

The international community has increasingly embraced innovations to solve some of the world’s development challenges, from a toilet that can function without water to a business model that offers two-way education across the globe.

For instance, Teach Twice, a nonprofit that channels part of its revenue to boost education in the developing world, has just published its second book last week, “Tall Enough.” Part of the proceeds will go to provide scholarships in South Africa, its CEO Trevor Burbank told Devex in an email.

Some of the health-focused innovations we featured have already started to gain traction. Kulinda, the thermometer-like device that indicates when breast milk is free of HIV, has been nominated for a global design award. And Sevenly, the social brand that departed from the usual “one for one” campaign, is “working diligently” to grow its funding and awareness community, the company’s Director of Public Awareness and Partnerships Ryan Wood said.

We don’t know yet if the U.N. World Food Program’s biscuit factory in a box has already reached its destination, or whether the SOLARKIOSK, which provides off-grid communities electricity and livelihoods, has been shared with more communities across Africa — or if those talking innovations designed to provide instructions to global aid and health workers have added new languages. But we are certain that mobile phones took the spotlight this year.

The development community is no longer using mobile phones to address health alone. Nongovernmental organizations have started to use the device to raise funds — as in Oxfam’s Shelfliferesearchers have used mobile phones to make sure water continues to flow in remote areas in developing countries.

A whole bunch of innovations landed on our page this year, but there is room for more. And we’d love to hear the innovations straight from you. If you have a grand idea or an awe-inspiring invention that could have an impact on development, share it with us by emailing news@devex.com.

Read our last #innov8aid.

About the author

Jenny lei ravelo 400x400
Jenny Lei Ravelo@JennyLeiRavelo

Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex senior reporter based in Manila. Since 2011, she has covered a wide range of development and humanitarian aid issues, from leadership and policy changes at DfID to the logistical and security impediments faced by international and local aid responders in disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries in Africa and Asia. Her interests include global health and the analysis of aid challenges and trends in sub-Saharan Africa.

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