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Brief A fundraising proposal to win backing from a Financial Times charity campaign. The theme was innovation – how the British Red Cross is using technology to reach more people in need.
Thoughts The Red Cross is one of the most well-established charities in the world. So, people don’t always associate the organisation with innovation. But you’d be surprised. This proposal was about identifying and communicating how the Red Cross is leading the way with new types of humanitarian aid provision.
INNOVATING TO SAVE LIVES AROUND THE WORLD
Every year unpredictable disasters wreck lives and property around the world. Last year there were 296 natural disasters, affecting many millions, causing 21,250 fatalities and economic losses of USD192 billion.
Although earthquakes and hurricanes cannot be prevented, and climate change and rapid urbanisation are exacerbating vulnerability to disasters, together we can encourage Financial Times readers to invest in projects that are making a difference right now in endangered communities from Pakistan to the Philippines.
HOW WE ARE RESPONDING
Finding new ways to tackle humanitarian challenges is essential as demand for Red Cross services grows. Our aim is to reduce risks and improve community and individual resilience so people can better withstand and recover from natural disasters or personal emergencies. This approach makes economic sense:
For every £1 invested in reducing the risk of disasters, £4 is saved in emergency response and reconstruction.
The Red Cross is constantly exploring the potential of innovation and technology in its operations. We are using cash transfer systems to rebuild lives and economies in the wake of cataclysmic events;; controlling disease outbreaks using online mapping systems updated by digital volunteers; disseminating life-saving advice across large populations via SMS during emergencies; and putting first aid skills in millions of pockets with our award- winning mobile phone apps.
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE TOGETHER
Communication and information technologies can save lives and are as necessary as food and water in the aftermath of an emergency. But this technology is only helping a fraction of those most in need. The figures tell the story: a mere 31 per cent of people in low-income countries have access to the internet, compared to a massive 77 per cent in high-income countries. Welcome to the digital divide.
Bridging this divide is critical for the future of humanitarian action. But we can’t do it alone. By choosing the Red Cross as its next charity partner, the FT can give its readers the chance to invest in work that will close the gap and save lives around the world.