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Innovating Resilience: A Review of WeRobotics' Recent Microgrants for Disaster-Related Learning Projects

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June 19th, 2023

EPFL Nairobi 20 Klaudyna Wrochna

By Klaudyna Wrochna

WeRobotics continues to support individual Flying Labs' development and projects through internal programs and dedicated support. One such program, the Turning Data into Action (TDIA) program and its dedicated series of microgrants, just closed another round of microgrant applications. This series focused on using the TDIA methodology for disaster-related learning projects (disaster management, risk-reduction, or preparedness), and we are thrilled to have received a strong response from Flying Labs. All submitted proposals showcased innovative and impactful ideas, demonstrating the dedication of Flying Labs to supporting disaster-affected communities, building resilience, and reducing the impact of future disasters.

After a thorough review, four projects were selected for funding:

Bolivia Flying Labs will address the issue of forest fires in La Chiquitania. The project aims to utilize drones for mapping and monitoring the area, providing necessary information to identify high-risk zones susceptible to fires. The gathered data will be shared with local authorities and stakeholders, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding fire prevention and response strategies. Through this learning project, the team aims to help preserve La Chiquitania's precious ecosystem and protect the communities that rely on it.

Nigeria Flying Labs will focus on strengthening flood vulnerability assessment and response capabilities at the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA). The learning project aims to enhance the institution's ability to effectively utilize drone data in disaster management and response by establishing a robust infrastructure and building internal capacity within NEMA.

Cameroon Flying Labs will map the landslide-prone areas and gather critical information about the affected regions and their surroundings. By extending the mapping beyond the immediate landslide zones, the learning project seeks to extract comprehensive data that can be used to identify vulnerable households and areas at risk. This information will be crucial in saving lives by enabling precise identification and targeted interventions in vulnerable communities.

Nepal Flying Labs will focus on the assessment of the Gyapchhe Landslide. The learning project aims to evaluate the landslide hazard, estimate the run-out volume, and recommend necessary countermeasures by conducting a comprehensive run-out analysis and mapping exercise. This initiative seeks to protect the area's agricultural land, homes, and infrastructure, preventing further damage and ensuring a safer future for the affected communities.

We believe in looking beyond financial support to empower the Flying Labs' teams. Our microgrant program is designed to provide funding and offer dedicated project support from our team of experts. We understand that success goes beyond just writing a check; it requires guidance, teamwork, and collaboration. Through the learning projects of these microgrants, awardees can access mentorship, extended technical assistance, and capacity-strengthening opportunities through our program. This holistic approach enables Flying Labs to grow, build on their expertise, strengthen their relationships with local stakeholders, and create compelling impact stories. This way, the microgrant learning projects become a springboard for further opportunities, opening doors for new local funding and partnerships. We are proud to be a catalyst in helping the Flying Labs amplify their impact and drive positive change in their communities.

The WeRobotics Microgrant program is funded thanks to the generosity of the Hewlett Foundation, Ashoka, and their partnership with Beiersdorf and our technology partners. We are grateful for their continuous support and for making this initiative possible.

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