Building resilience through the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards


Climate change is leading to more natural disasters around the world, with Asia considered the “disaster epicenter”. 45% of natural disasters globally occur in the region and it is home to 3 of the 5 most disaster-prone countries in the world, namely the Philippines, India and Indonesia (followed by Colombia and Mexico).

With the increasing intensity and frequency of natural disasters due to climate change, the importance of disaster preparedness has become more crucial than ever. As such, the Prudence Foundation proudly brings you: the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards. This year’s edition of the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards furthers the organization’s mission to build more resilient communities through the use of technology, empowering innovators to come up with solutions that predict, mitigate and respond to disasters.

The Prudence Foundation is a not-for-profit entity that runs Prudential plc’s regional community investment programmes.

This project aims to recognize and promote technology solutions that can help communities become more resilient to disasters by recognizing the innovators working on technology solutions for disaster resilience. The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards hope to highlight these important innovations that can save lives and aid recovery in the hope of inspiring more innovators to step up and disseminate their expertise in life-saving solutions.

The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards are committed to finding and supporting technologies that have the potential to make a real difference. The Prudence Foundation believes that by recognizing the innovators in the field, we can make a real impact in reducing the negative effects of natural disasters and helping communities recover more quickly.

Why disasters?

In Asia alone, these natural disasters have resulted in a significant human toll, with over 800,000 lives lost and more than 3.2 billion people affected since the year 2000. In addition, Asia has faced more than $1.1 trillion in economic losses.

Disaster preparedness has never been more important as natural disasters and floods continue to affect countries in Southeast Asia and Pakistan. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Main Area sixth assessment report on the Physical Science of Climate Change, published in August 2021, highlighted that many changes resulting from past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia. This means that apart from mitigation and adaptation strategies, we also need to double down on resilience in our communities.

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In disaster situations, the most vulnerable population groups are also disproportionately affected. Climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, typhoons, heat waves and droughts, among many others – and affecting vulnerable communities everywhere. Technology can play a critical role in reducing the effects of these disasters and helping recovery efforts. Innovations such as early warning systems, emergency communication platforms and disaster management systems can help save lives, protect property and support recovery.

Innovators are invited to pitch their technological solutions aligned to five UN Sustainable Development Goals, namely: No Poverty, Good Health and Well-Being, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action and Partnerships for the Goals.

What are the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards?

The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards were created and launched in 2019 with the aim of finding, funding and supporting innovative technological solutions that can save lives before, during and after disasters. The organization believes that technology has the potential to be a disruptive game-changer forever and can have as much of an impact on disaster resilience as it has in other areas such as Edtech, Fintech and Medtech.

With climate change and COVID-19 wreaking havoc on communities, raising awareness and building disaster resilience has never been more critical. The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards aim to recognize and promote technological solutions that can help communities become more resilient to these disasters. It also hopes to foster high-impact partnerships between the private sector, government and non-government organizations and bring their knowledge, capacity and investment to support D-Tech innovations.

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In 2022, the Prudence Foundation is pleased to partner with e27, leveraging their premier technology summit, Echelon 2023, to host the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards. In addition, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) continued as a humanitarian partner, while Amazon Web Services (AWS) joined as a technology partner. The skills, experience and reach of e27, IFRC, AWS and other key partners can make our society safer, more secure and resilient.

For its submission, the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards includes several categories: early warning systems, emergency communication platforms and disaster management systems. There are specific criteria for each category and examples of different technical verticals that can be implemented. In addition, the organization is joined by notable judges and sponsors who support the awards.

One of the most notable innovations with the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards is previous winner Ecoworth, an innovative waste solutions partner that specializes in turning waste materials into recyclable products while delivering social and environmental benefits.

Ecoworth is commercializing an innovative, sustainable wastewater treatment technology called ‘Carbon Fiber Aerogel’, developed at Nanyang Technological University. Carbon Fiber Airgel is a highly absorbent material that is non-toxic, natural and recyclable. Ecoworth focuses on value-creating applications within food waste, Oil & Gas and other CleanTech & Ecologically responsible programs. Using innovative filters, waste water is transformed from waste to water that can be reused or released into the environment safely.

How and why you should get involved

Officially launched on February 2, 2023, the Prudence Foundation as well as its partners, IFRC, AWS and e27 proudly open applications for the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards from January 12 to March 26, 2023. Interested applicants can participate and gain insight into, how they can scale and expand their innovative solutions to reach a wider application that can impact more lives. Individuals, companies and organizations working on technology solutions for disaster resilience from around the globe are encouraged to apply. The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards also welcomes non-profit and for-profit companies to apply and participate in the awards.

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This landmark event underscores the importance of Disaster-Tech and how it can change the game in providing resilience to communities by leveraging the skills, experience and reach of partners such as AWS, e27 and IFRC. The organization is proud to have supported and recognized previous winners such as Ecoworth for their innovative solutions in D-Tech.

For questions or inquiries about prices, please contact us at [email protected]. The organizers are happy to answer questions and guide you through the application process. We look forward to reviewing your innovative technology solutions and recognizing the individuals, companies and organizations working to build a more resilient future.

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This article was produced by e27 team, sponsored by the Prudence Foundation

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