Category Archives: AidTech

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NGO in Tanzania Registers First Babies on Blockchain

A Dutch-based NGO working in Africa has teamed up with AID:Tech on a women’s aid project in Tanzania by using blockchain tech to assist pregnant women.

AID:Tech is an award-winning company that focuses on the delivery of digital entitlements, including welfare, aid, remittance and donations using blockchain and digital identity. The company was the first in the world to successfully deliver international aid to Syrian Refugees in Lebanon using blockchain technology, according to Wikipedia. The Dutch NGO, PharmAccess, works on projects in Africa and uses blockchain to make aid delivery more efficient.

The AID:Tech platform describes itself as a company which offers digital identity, represented by a blockchain wallet address. Each identity profile is unique and documents every transaction associated with it. Each digital identity can also be used to receive, send and hold digital entitlements. Each profile is both an identity solution and a built-in tool for managing social and financial entitlements.

The Tanzanian project’s main focus is not simply targeted at pregnant mothers, as it also ensures that beneficiaries receive supplies and services including pharmaceutical necessities. The blockchain program being used by the team ensures that individual women can be tracked for receipt of benefits, vitamins, doctor appointments and medication through AID:Tech’s digital ID system. This ensures that funds arrive at the nominated source correctly and that post-natal treatment is being properly delivered.

Postnatal treatment is clearly not the only thing that the program can deliver, as this month, using the new digital system, the births of three babies were recorded on the blockchain, reportedly the technology’s first of its kind.

Charities are currently receiving poor press because of recent developments, particularly reporting that sexual predators are working for international aid organizations where they can abuse children, young girls and women from vulnerable communities. Little appears to be done despite reassurances from the UN that charities such as Oxfam and Save the Children will take immediate action.

Another problem has been aid actually reaching its designated beneficiaries or donations being carelessly monitored and utilized. CEO of AID:Tech Joseph Thompson was reportedly inspired to launch this latest fundraiser due to a charity in the past losing his donation, which ended up not reaching those it was targeted for. A more successful project in 2015 saw it successfully deliver 500 food vouchers to a Lebanese camp for Syrian Refugees.

Such programs can go a long way to restoring much of the trust that has been lost in charitable organizations over recent years, also reminding the public that new technologies will be the key to making NGOs and private charity activities far more transparent and trustworthy.


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Blockchain Must Make Impact on Digital Identity Crisis of Refugees

World Refugee Day on 20 June cast focus again on how blockchain technology could play a part in presenting a major solution to the problem of displaced people around the world, writes Bitcoin Magazine.

There are currently 25.4 million refugees in the world and some 3.1 million asylum seekers around the world, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Blockchain solutions are in place in many poorer countries working to improve the lives of individuals at community and national levels, but it is noticeable that the worldwide refugee crisis hasn’t as yet been significantly impacted by new technology. The biggest problem in this area is one of identity as Joseph Thompson, co-founder of AID:tech, illustrates:

“Not only do refugees need to reformulate their personal identity to secure a sense of belonging, but also it’s imperative from a legal, social, and political perspective. Needless to say, the issue is more complex than simply assigning each individual an identity card, as global crises happening throughout the world are different and varied with refugees and their situations.”

AID:Tech works with NGOs, governments and cooperates to tackle the most topical and entrenched issues in their particular areas of operation. Thompson suggests that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals with the World Bank program is beginning to take notice of the identity issue, but he claims there is still much further to go in order to tackle this problem. Its suggested that in particular children born without a homeland due to displacement could be legitimized on the blockchain giving them verifiable identities, which would entitle them to essential services such as healthcare and education.

“An effective identity solution needs to be flexible, reliable and sustainable while also accommodating the transitional circumstances often faced by refugees. This is particularly crucial and alarming when we consider that refugee children are being born with the risk of missing out on legal identity —including healthcare and education.”

The Social Alpha Foundation is a nonprofit, grant-making platform that funds blockchain humanitarian-based startups. Co-founder Nydia Zhang believes that this access to services through verifiable identity is an essential role that blockchain can, and should, be playing in order to at least give a sense of identity to the stateless; Zhang’s “invisible population”.

Bruce Silcoff, CEO of the Shyft Network, whose team is working on a blockchain platform to ensure those fleeing from conflict have their basic necessities delivered, suggests that ID is more of a “right” than a “privilege” and thus should be prioritized using the very latest in technology in order to overcome bureaucratic barriers:

“We are witnessing millions of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers crossing borders to escape violence and build better lives for themselves and their families, only to run into institutional barriers, unable to access basic services and participate in the global economy.”

These questions of how technology should be offering solutions, come into stark focus given the importance of a day which is designed to draw the world’s attention to the plight of those displaced by war and conflict. On this important day, homeless children are still being created by careless legislation and bureaucratic obstacles, clearly illustrated by US President Trump’s announcement yesterday that he will separate children from their “illegal” parents at border crossings.


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Ireland Lines Up to Become “Global Blockchain Center of Excellence” with New Initiative

IDA Ireland has announced that it wants to promote the Irish Republic as an ideal location for international businesses focused on blockchain, according to The Irish Times.

The state body is the agency responsible for the attraction and development of foreign direct investment in Ireland. Its new initiative, established by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group, an IDA Ireland-led forum, has been set up to involve companies working with blockchain technology towards promotion of the republic as a space for business for overseas companies.

Ireland currently has a forward-thinking approach to blockchain technology. Recently National University of Ireland (NUI) authors of a study on the adoption of blockchain approached the government to promote a more widespread use of the technology in the country.

One of the findings of that study showed that only 40% of companies in Ireland had embraced blockchain technology, which the researchers felt was relatively low, despite Ireland’s 13th position on Bloomberg’s 2018 Innovation Index, with high productivity scores and advanced IT infrastructure.

The latest initiative started by the Irish Blockchain Expert Group is also backed by the department of finance, Enterprise Ireland and Consensys, a company established by Joe Lubin, one of the co-founders of Ethereum.

Consensys has said that it plans to open a new Dublin-based innovation studio that is to include a development lab where engineers will build and deliver Ethereum-based blockchain platforms and products.

IDA’s chief information officer said of the new project:

“We regard blockchain as an area with huge potential and we are seeing great interest among IDA Ireland’s client base. This initiative will enhance the blockchain industry in Ireland and our position as a global blockchain centre of excellence.”

Irish based startups, AidTech and Arc-Net, have recently developed solutions built on blockchain technology and Deloitte has a dedicated blockchain laboratory in Dublin. Enterprise Ireland has also announced a new EUR 750,000 competitive start fund for companies working in blockchain and related technologies in the republic.


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