Drone testing during a mine clearance operation with partner Mobility Robotics | © J. Fardoulis / HI
On 24 September, the European Union Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid honoured HI with two awards. On that occasion, HI recounts its 38 years of innovation from 1982 to 2020.
HI is founded on the Thai-Cambodian border by a group of young French doctors to orthopaedically fit several thousand amputee victims of anti-personnel mines. It is the first humanitarian aid organisation to meet emergency orthopaedic needs.
Innovative approach to developing appropriate technology
As Western methods are not adapted to the local context, HI develops appropriate, simple, and low-cost technologies, including emergency bamboo prostheses, leather, wood and tyre prostheses, and wooden wheelchairs, and trains local and international human resources.
HI mounts a political campaign and calls for a total ban on anti-personnel mines - a first in the humanitarian sector
Born out of a sense of outrage at the lack of solutions to “repair” human lives destroyed by anti-personnel mines, HI decides to go a step further by mounting a political campaign with five other NGOs: the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL).
Another milestone in HI's commitment to innovation in the field of humanitarian assistance
The organisation launches its first mine clearance actions in Cambodia, driven by an innovative concept: humanitarian demining, the clearance of land for human use.
HI takes an innovative approach to mine action
The organisation jointly implements orthopaedic fitting, mine action, risk awareness, and victim assistance activities, building on its solid experience in the world’s most heavily contaminated countries. These activities can be implemented in emergency and development contexts by teams with complementary technical skills.
Earthquake in Pakistan: first large-scale testing of emergency temporary prostheses
During emergencies, amputations are often carried out under difficult conditions and require stump revision surgery. Under these circumstances, it is preferable to temporarily orthopaedically fit victims, who can immediately resume the physical activity essential to their recovery.
3D: rehabilitation at the forefront of innovation
A pilot study is implemented with several partners to produce prostheses and orthoses designed using 3D technology as a solution for physically and financially vulnerable people. The first prostheses are successfully produced in Togo and Madagascar. HI subsequently extends the practice.
Testing 3D technology with displaced and refugee populations in Uganda
Within the framework of the AT2030 programme, HI launches a new 3D project to test the feasibility of expanding its digital production and supplying custom-made orthoses in three refugee camps. The long-term goal is to create digital production centres across the region to better supply custom-made prostheses and orthoses to displaced people and refugees in East Africa.
A bold telerehabilitation project to promote accessible at-home care
HI explores new avenues through telerehabilitation. The therapist and patient communicate using mobile phones and the internet. The patient is sent instructions and videos to do rehabilitation exercises at home. Care assessment, instructions, and follow-up are provided remotely.
Drones to locate mines: a major step forward for humanitarian demining
HI and its partner Mobility Robotics unveil a solution to locate buried anti-personnel mines in certain environments using drones equipped with infrared cameras.
The European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid, launched by the European Union, honours HI with two awards.
The organisation is recognised for its telerehabilitation project (TeReFA - Tele Rehabilitation For All) (Health and medical care category) and its drone mine clearance project, Odyssey2025 (Other humanitarian assistance category).
The prizes highlight HI's ability to innovate and provide practical and effective solutions in real-field conditions, conflicts, and disasters, and in developing countries.