HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 6 July
2021 - Prudence Foundation, the community investment
arm of Prudential in Asia and Africa, together with
Humanitarian Partner International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) and Technology Partner Lenovo, have announced the winners
of the 2021 SAFE STEPS Disaster
Tech (D-Tech) Awards. The
the essential role that technology plays in protecting and saving lives before,
during and after natural disaster events.
Singapore-based EcoWorth Tech and the
from the United States are the winners of this year's Awards. They were
selected from among close to 60 entries around the world, and form part of
eight finalists that took part in a virtual live pitch to a judging panel.
Mr Donald Kanak, Chairman
of Prudence Foundation, said Prudence Foundation has been focusing on disaster
preparedness and relief since 2011.
Asia is the world's most
disaster-affected region. More than 50 per cent of global natural disasters took
place in Asia, including China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
"The SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards is a
natural extension of our work to help communities recover from natural disasters
through scalable, preventative technology solutions that can protect and save
"We believe D-Tech should
be front of mind for innovators, venture capitalists and businesses. The Awards
serve as a platform to bring their knowledge, capabilities and investments to
support D-Tech innovation and make the world a safer place," said Mr Kanak.
EcoWorth Tech is awarded
the first prize in the for-profit category. The company's Carbon Fibre Aerogel
(CFA) sponge, made of low-cost natural materials such as waste biomass,
renewable cotton or wastepaper, is capable of cleaning waters following an oil
spill. EcoWorth Tech's reusable, environmentally-friendly CFA sponge can absorb
oil of up to 190 times its own weight, mitigating the environmental impact of
"The SAFE STEPS D-Tech
Awards provided a launchpad for us to meet like-minded innovators and
environmentalists around the world. We will use the grant to further develop
and deploy our solution, conduct more real-environment testing and encourage upcycling,"
said Mr Andre Stolz, Co-Founder and CEO of EcoWorth Tech.
The Stimson Center is the
winner of the non-profit category. Its Mekong Dam Monitor is a satellite
imagery solution that leverages remote sensing data to monitor water levels in
dams to help communities prepare in advance of flooding events or water supply
disruption caused by upstream dam operations.
"Participating in the SAFE
STEPS D-Tech Awards has been a very rewarding experience for our team. We had
ample opportunities to meet with expert coaches who helped us sharpen our
strategies and brainstorm new ways to scale and evolve our solution. We plan to
use the grant to localise our services and language interfaces for use across
Southeast Asia," said Mr Brian Eyler, Director of Southeast Asia Programme at
the Stimson Center and co-lead for the Mekong Dam Monitor.
Building resilience against
disasters in the region has never been more critical, as COVID-19 has
highlighted the growing vulnerability of people and communities to disasters.
The pandemic has infected over 37 million people in Asia
and is expected to cause US$2.7 trillion in economic losses.
Alexander Matheou, Asia Pacific Director, International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies, said, "We commend all the finalists and winners who
have come up with such important innovative solutions at a time where we face
unprecedented environmental challenges and threats due to climate change. We
are delighted to work with the SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards to foster a safer world
as we face ever more dangerous disasters in Asia, the most disaster-prone
region in the world."
solutions have become critically important to strengthening disaster response,"
said Mr Sumir Bhatia, President of Infrastructure Solutions Group at Lenovo
Asia Pacific. "As such, it is of great urgency that technology companies, such
as Lenovo, leverage their world-class technologies to collaborate with local
entrepreneurs and NGOs to develop tailored solutions that can achieve better
natural disaster preparedness, recovery, and resilience. The focus needs to be
on collaboration, how we can effectively utilise the power of technology for
the betterment of all."
more information about the 2021 SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards, visit http://www.safesteps.com/d-tech.
SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards were judged by an esteemed panel of experts from both
the profit and non-profit sectors, who donated their time and expertise to the
programme. The final panel was composed of the following experts:
- Alexander Matheou, Regional Director,
Asia Pacific, the IFRC
- Bjorn Lindfors, Technology Partner,
- Birger Stamperdahl, CEO,
- Jess Letch, Manager, Emergency
Operations Coordination from the Disaster, Climate and Crisis Unit, the IFRC
- John Sharp, Managing Partner,
- Michael Woolley, Director, Head of Sustainability and Client Portfolio Manager,
- Sumir Bhatia, President, Asia
Pacific, Infrastructure Solutions Group, Lenovo
For the full list of competition judges and partners,
assets available here:
the 2021 SAFE
STEPS D-Tech Awards: Link
Videos about the Finalists: For-Profit category and Non-Profit category
High-resolution images of the finalists'
Winners of the 2021 SAFE
STEPS D-Tech Awards
EcoWorth Tech (Winner)
The Stimson Center (Winner)
Fields Data (Runner-up)
EcoWorth Tech Pte. Ltd (Singapore)
startup EcoWorth transforms local cellulosic waste (e.g. wood, fibres/husks,
used paper) into a super-absorbent material for oil spill clean-up and used in water
treatment filters to efficiently remove oil from the water. The material allows
for the absorbed oil to be recuperated and recycled.
FloodMapp is specialises in
rapid real-time flood forecasting and flood inundation mapping to provide
greater warning time that can potentially save lives and reduce damage and
associated financial losses. The
technology supports all three stages of the disaster management process,
before, during and after a flood.
The Stimson Center (United States of America)
Stimson Center operates the Mekong Dam Monitor, which provides near real-time
monitoring of water levels in dams in the Mekong through satellite data and
modelling, helping communities prepare in advance of upstream dam operations
that may result in flooding or water supply disruption. The Monitor is a
partnership between the Stimson Center and Eyes on Earth, and is currently
deployed in Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Thailand, and China.
Link to the Mekong Dam Monitor
Fields Data (Norway)
collects and share ground-level information about humanitarian and
international development organisations in the form of 4W maps - who does what,
where and when. Through these operational presence maps, Fields Data
facilitates partnerships, give visibility accessibility to
organisations working hard in the field and help organisations improve
efficiencies. The solution is active in Burundi and Ghana with plans to expand
*Lenovo's support to the SAFE STEPS
D-Tech Awards includes a total of US$50,000 cash prizes for the for-profit and
non-profit runners up, as well as in-kind support for the winners and
runners-up in both categories.
Finalists of the 2021 SAFE STEPS D-Tech Awards
Kacific Broadband Satellite Ltd (Singapore)
broadband satellite operator that provides high-speed, low-cost, ultra-reliable
broadband to rural and suburban areas of the Pacific and South East Asia.
Project OWL (United States of America)
hardware and software solution that provides rapidly deployable sensor and
communications networks on ground, water, or in the air from dense urban
locations to rural environments hit by disaster.
Bike Scouts (Philippines)
A web and mobile
app that gives users the tools for documenting disaster impact in real time and
for activating and coordinating a community-driven, highly-scalable, and
localised network of support to gather and deliver aid through social teamwork.
Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Indonesia)
International Indonesia has developed a simple flood early warning tool made
from local materials, such as small plastic pipes, small-sized loudspeakers,
cables, and tennis balls.
 Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters
and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. (2020). Human cost of
disasters: An overview of the last 20 years 2000-2019. Page 9. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/human-cost-disasters-overview-last-20-years-2000-2019.
 World Health
Organization. (15 June 2021). "Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 15 June
 S&P Global Ratings. (26 June 2020). "Economic
research: Asia-Pacific losses bear $3 trillion as balance sheet recession