For the past 20 years, Palladium has committed 1.5% of our profit before tax to our global giving platform, Let’s Make it Possible. Through this platform and in partnership with the Kyeema Foundation, Palladium funds humanitarian relief efforts, supports community projects nominated by employees, and runs an annual Challenge Fund to tackle a major global problem.
Every year, Palladium brings in ideas from across its global network to source innovative responses to global challenges through the Palladium Challenge Fund. This year, there is up to $100,000 available to support projects with groundbreaking and sustainable ideas to increase the impact of humanitarian crisis response.
The theme for this year’s Challenge is “Technology for Humanitarian Action” and the judges will be looking for proposals that use technology—whether a new innovation or a way to scale something already tried—to improve how humanitarian response to crisis is delivered. Special attention will be paid to proposals that empower local communities and offer long-term solutions.
“Recent disasters have made it clear that the humanitarian community needs to adapt to the myriad pressures exacerbated by climate change and global instability,” explains Palladium co-CEO Sinéad Magill. “There are answers in the use of technology, and particularly in collaboration with local communities.”
Globally, experts are working hard to stretch the available funding and explore how technology can enable faster and more impactful humanitarian action. This has included shifting thinking from response to preparation, early warning analysis, and anticipatory response activity.
This Challenge will find and support technology that offers real potential to deliver faster, more sustainable, and localised humanitarian responses in a sector where time and efficiency can mean the difference between life and death.
And the potential of technology in this arena is huge. From artificial intelligence that can improve projections and decision making, and social media facilitating immediate on the ground updates and feedback mechanisms, identifying the most critical needs to unmanned ariel vehicles that can speed up mapping and monitoring, technology can offer ways for communities to take control of their lives in the wake of disasters.
“Extreme weather events will increase over the coming years and the resources available to respond in the aftermath are not growing at the same pace as the number of people in need of assistance,” says Magill, who believes that the world will see more humanitarian crises caused by climate change, but that the global operating environment is changing as well.
The UN’s humanitarian ask for 2022 broke new records. In it, they requested US$41 billion to help 183 million people in need across 63 countries – nearly double the amount requested for 2019, to assist more than three times the people targeted in 2015. Recent reports have found that one in every 23 people now needs humanitarian assistance across the globe – that’s 339 million people, nearly 25% more than last year.
But while humanitarian funding commitments have grown, they’re failing to keep pace with demand or with the rising costs of aid driven by the war in Ukraine, economic shocks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the climate emergency.
“The international system is under strain, with the crisis in Ukraine rocking the norms that underpin the international order. We need to do as much as possible with what we have,” Magill adds.
Successful projects will pilot new technologies and innovative approaches, convene groups around innovation for humanitarian responses, de-risk start up ventures targeting humanitarian responses, and address constraints in the humanitarian system. The judges will be looking for innovations that include, but aren’t limited to, early warning and predictive analytics, drone technology to aid distribution, digital cash transfers, and blockchain for humanitarian monitoring.
The Palladium Challenge Fund, which is open to applicants until 27th October 2023, is managed in partnership with the Kyeema Foundation, an organisation that works with partners to improve the health and prosperity of marginalised communities and their environments.
“Palladium is the type of purpose-driven organisation Kyeema loves to work with, and this Challenge is particularly inspiring,” says Kyeema CEO Anthony Carrigan. “Whatever the challenge and the solution, it’s the constant focus on local communities, local engagement, and local ownership that we’re really interested in. That’s the key to impact and sustainability.”
Palladium’s humanitarian experts will shortlist and select the winning applications, and selected organisations will benefit from funding and additional technical assistance from Palladium, including connections to Palladium’s teams of advisers worldwide.
Visit letsmakeitpossible.com/palladium-challenge-fund/ to apply.