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Kenya Red Cross to establish innovation centre

Kenya Red Cross to establish innovation centre

Less than a year after launching their mobile application, the Kenya Red Cross is looking to establish an innovation centre and integrate additional technology, including solutions to map out their beneficiaries.

Priyanka Patel, Program Officer for Innovation at the Kenya Red Cross, said the organisation is in the process of linking up technology with programs.

"Most of the time we have projects implemented in the field but there is no innovative approach and based on the KRC 2020 strategy, we are introducing innovative solutions," said Patel.

One initiative is to map their beneficiaries so that the KRC volunteers can access them easily.

"Most of our projects are based in informal settlements. So how do we reach beneficiaries who are located deeply in the settlements? Sometimes ambulances cannot reach them since the roads are very narrow," Patel added.

The mapping service will create a profile of every beneficiary and where they are located.

Volunteers within the vicinities will have the database of nearby beneficiaries and will get to them quickly in time of need.

"If they make a call in times of emergency, the ambulances will be fitted with tablets that could locate the coordinates," said Patel.

New innovation centre

Patel said the organisation wants to launch an innovation centre to aid developers who are looking to create humanitarian solutions.

"At the Red Cross there is one thing we have realised... that there is a gap between community needs and innovation. We have seen many innovation challenges and hackathons. But these solutions don't reach where they are supposed to."

"With the Kenya Red Cross Innovation Lab we are basically inviting the community members and leaders, sit down with them, partners and stakeholders and they tell us what the problems and the challenges are. Then the innovators can then think if there is something they can do for these challenges," she said.

Patel added that what they are looking for is not necessarily solutions directly targeted towards the community, but one that the Red Cross can use to address the challenges.

Even though the physical lab will be ready by the end of the year, Patel said that they are already operating from the ICT department of the KRC and have several software developers who are working on solutions.

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