UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum today launched the Humanitarian Accelerators, a first of its kind initiative in the Arab World which aims to gather skilled professionals in the cause of aiding the humanitarian sector.
The accelerators will be dedicated to improving the financial efficiency of humanitarian organisations and leapfrogging conventional technology approaches in order to enhance the work of the humanitarian sector.
At the launch of the Humanitarian Accelerators at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said, “We are striving to accelerate the process of giving, consolidate efficiency and leapfrog conventional technology approaches in humanitarian work. We wish to increase the efficiency of humanitarian organisations so that, in the name of the UAE, we can help more people around the world.”
His Highness continued, “The goal of the Humanitarian Accelerators is to harness the potential of advanced technology in order to improve the lives of others. We are facing many humanitarian challenges, and must think innovatively in order to accelerate philanthropic work and achieve high results – this cannot wait.”
The Humanitarian Accelerators were launched under the belief that collaborating with the most innovative professionals and utilising the latest technologies is essential to finding solutions for some of the most difficult humanitarian challenges.
The Humanitarian Accelerators are launched in collaboration with Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative (MBRGI) and Dubai Future Accelerators.
They seek to adapt modern technology such as Artificial Intelligence to serve humanity, improve the financial efficiency of all MBRGI humanitarian institutions and achieve tangible results in serving humanity.
The Humanitarian Accelerators will address four key challenges facing the region. The first challenge is providing access to quality education to all children, including refugees by providing e-learning tools and developing innovative mechanisms, such as accessible websites, that enable young students to access interactive educational platforms regardless of where they are located.
There are overwhelming obstacles facing young students, especially those living as refugees, in gaining a formal education. There are no schools or curricula that accommodate refugees, there is a shortage of educational tools and qualified teachers, and there are obstacles to obtaining an education in the face of poverty.
These issues must be addressed, and radical solutions must be found, to empower future generations in the face of this crisis.
The second challenge is providing access to clean water in underprivileged countries. Today, MBRGI has utilized conventional solutions to provide clean drinking water to over 10 million people – harnessing technology to expand this reach is the next step.
Access to clean drinking water is a global challenge, with approximately 780 million people without access to a clean source or water. Furthermore, over 800 million children under the age of five and mostly in developing countries die every year from diarrhoea caused by unclean water.
The Humanitarian Accelerators will look for solutions to create cost-effective technology that can purify water efficiently, quickly and in large quantities that can be delivered to the most affected communities.
The third challenge facing the region is the number of refugees living in poverty – up from 50% in 2015 to 70% in 2017 as per UNHCR reports.
The Humanitarian Accelerators will focus on finding electronic solutions and developing a platform for e-business in order to give refugees around the world a platform to leverage their skills, capabilities and services and market their products online, providing them with tangible economic opportunities.
The fourth challenge to be addressed is the below-average reading material and content in Arabic online. The Humanitarian Accelerators will seek to devise electronic solutions in order to increase the amount, and quality, of Arabic content online.
This will be the humanitarian element of Dubai Future Accelerators, an intensive programme designed to identify emergent technologies and create effective partnerships and strategies for embracing the future.
The programme seeks to provide a dynamic and integrated environment for participants and humanitarian institutions to explore opportunities for innovative solutions, technology and services, in various areas, that are capable of changing the world. This may facilitate partnerships and the signing of memorandums of understanding in order to fund pilot projects after the programme ends.
As of today, 65 international companies have participated in the Dubai Future Accelerators programme, and a memorandum of understanding has been signed with 47 others.