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Solution to provide safe water to communities in need wins at 2023 SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards

Singapore based Wateroam’s winning pitch showcased portable water filters to provide safe drinking water to communities in rural and disaster-hit regions

Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential plc, together with Humanitarian Partner International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), cloud services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS), and tech media platform e27, have announced the winners of the third edition of the SAFE STEPS Disaster Tech (D-Tech) Awards

SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards Prize Winners Group Photo

Wateroam, from Singapore took home the grand prize of US$50,000 while LivingWaters Systems and Kinetic Analysis Corporation, both from the United States, emerged as the first and second runner-ups respectively winning US$30,000 and US$20,000. They were selected from a record 110 applications from around the world and competed with three more finalists in the final round, which took place at the Echelon Asia Summit in Singapore on June 15. The top six finalists participated in a live pitch during the summit in front of a judging panel and will each receive US$10,000 of AWS Credits.

Over the past decade, 83 per cent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storms, and heatwaves, directly affecting 1.7 billion people[1].

With the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, communities are more vulnerable than before. Technology innovation has an essential role to play in understanding and solving the risks confronting people globally.

SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards Winner Wateroam

Marc Fancy, Executive Director of the Prudence Foundation, said, “The application of disaster technology can save lives before, during and after natural disaster events. Through the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards, our goal is to provide a platform to encourage entrepreneurship and investment to drive scale, sustainability and speed in D-Tech innovation and application.”

The applications showcased a wide range of solutions ranging from early warning systems robotics, communications and connectivity, shelters, water supply and medical aid, to post disaster community support. They were evaluated on a number of criteria including problem-solution fit, business model, potential impact or market size, and organization profile.

Wateroam’s mission is to provide vulnerable communities better access to safe and clean drinking water. In disaster-hit regions, their portable water filters remove harmful pathogens to create safe drinking water in seconds.

Jaron Lim, Sales Director from Wateroam, said, “Being part of the D-Tech Awards and emerging as the winner was a great experience and a rewarding testament to the hard work we have put in over the years. As we move towards smarter technology and increased accountability of our impact, the funding that we have received will really support our research and development efforts in this area and also allow us to scale our impact to more areas affected by disasters.”

Juja Kim, Deputy Regional Director for Asia Pacific, IFRC, said, “IFRC is honoured to be part of this initiative by Prudence Foundation. In this digital age, it is paramount that we utilize the strengths and creativity of individuals and organizations in coming up with solutions to address the challenges brought by disasters, both natural and man-made in nature. We drive the same in the IFRC by innovating our approaches to prepare and respond better, meeting the varying needs of the affected population in every emergency.”

Samuel Harris, Public Sector Startup Lead, Asia Pacific and Japan at AWS, said, “Startups are answering the clarion call for disaster aid with their launch of innovative solutions to help communities respond to natural disaster events. This year’s winners have inspired us with their passion in this field and AWS shares the same vision to make a difference to disaster recovery and mitigation efforts. We are committed to helping this year’s winners through the AWS Activate program which seeks to provide startups with access to our tools, business and technical support and AWS credits, to build and scale their disaster recovery solutions on AWS to reach and serve communities that might need aid, including rural and remote areas.”

Thaddeus Koh, Co-founder of 27, said,”e27 is proud to be a strategic partner of this important initiative. The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards has successfully highlighted the immense potential of utilizing technology for good and sparked numerous meaningful discussions on disaster tech. Leveraging our innovative tech ecosystem platform, we are delighted to witness the tremendous support garnered for the program from various stakeholders in our community. We firmly believe that recognizing the problem at hand is just the beginning, and maintaining momentum is the key; by acknowledging the importance of these issues and generating momentum for potential solutions, we can drive substantial change and make a lasting difference.”

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