Facilitating Local Innovation to Community Problems through 3D Printing Technology

Two years ago Colin Keogh and Dr Shane Keaveney began a charitable project with the goal of enabling the access of innovators from the third world to new technologies. According to Keogh the resulting creation, the Rapid Foundation, takes an unconventional approach to aid delivery by diverging from the typical method which “will send technology and expertise to a location for a short period of time, implement ideas then leave, thus removing most of the technology and expertise until the next trip.”  Instead, the project directly engages the local contacts who take ownership of projects by becoming the primary administrator after receiving training and then sharing their knowledge with neighbours and colleagues. 

“The innovation in our work is supplying the means to realise ideas directly to the users, in any location globally, thus allowing them (with basic training) to be fully involved in the process of design, innovation and producing their ideas” – Colin Keogh, Co-Founder, Rapid Foundation

The two faculty engineers from UCD Ireland make 3D printers, online modelling software, and databases available to those involved in their project.  The Foundation and its partners have also opened a channel of communication via Skype and similar technologies so that, if necessary, the innovators can seek advice from industry experts while implementing their ideas.  However, Keogh says that the central purpose of the project is to “enable people to develop their own ideas” and solutions.  The projects facilitated by the charity initiative are thereby community driven, designed, and developed. As such, further progress and innovation in the resultant technology can also come from local sources.

Together, Keogh and Keaveny won the IMechE Fritz- Schumacher Award 2016, recognizing their efforts in overseas work using technology to help those who are in poverty.  This year, Keogh was also included in the Forbes European 30 Under 30 in the Science and Healthcare category.

Read the full article here.

In order to discuss innovations in humanitarian aid, the Aid and International Development Forum will hold the Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit on September 6-7 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre in Washington D.C. The Summit strives to enable quicker and better response during crises and catastrophes by improving effectiveness, cost-efficiency and sustainability of aid operations.

An update on the latest innovations and technologies to support Sustainable Development Goals and their practical implications for improving community livelihoods will be provided by Joseph Burton, Counsellor for Technology and Security Policy at the US Department of State during the Emergency Communication, Connectivity, and Social Networks panel on Day Two of the Summit. He joins the panel of expert speakers including:

  • Kristen Finne, Programme Manager, emPOWER Initiative, Senior Policy Analyst, Division of Healthcare System Policy, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Hani Shannak, Chief, Operations, and Services, Division of ICT, United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Kareem Elbayar, Technology Partnerships Adviser, Office of the Director, Corporate Programmes Division, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • Stephen Hellen, Director, ICT4D & GIS, Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
  • Jacqueline Bass, Director Livelihoods, Social and Economic Development (SED), FHI360


See the full list of confirmed speaker at http://disaster-relief.aidforum.org/speakers

For more information about Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit 2017 or how to get involved, please visit http://disaster-relief.aidforum.org

Image source: RobotLab

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