HI, as part of the IMPACTE 3D project, is using 3D technology as part of a clinical trial to build dedicated orthosis for one hundred patients in Togo, Niger and Mali. | © Xaume Olleros / HI
Three questions for Pierre Gallien, Director of 3I (Information, Impact, Innovation) / Innovation and Knowledge Management Division
One of HI’s central objectives is to provide appropriate and effective humanitarian assistance to people unable to live without it. To achieve this goal, we regularly review our actions and methods, and innovation is one of the ways we continuously improve our humanitarian action.
We monitor and select technological developments and social practices (internet, social media, developments in digitalisation, new uses of digital technology, etc.) and integrate them into our operating practices in order to respond to increasingly volatile and unstable humanitarian contexts impacted by the increase in natural disasters, climate change, worsening security conditions for humanitarian workers, etc.
The digitalisation of rehabilitation, of which our telerehabilitation project is an example, will enhance our access to people with humanitarian needs in areas of response where humanitarian workers may face logistical or security challenges.
Functional rehabilitation and weapons clearance are HI’s priority areas and core competencies. Online physiotherapy sessions, the supply of 3D prostheses, and the use of drones in weapons clearance operations build on HI's long-standing actions.
We have also innovated in the field of inclusive education. We took a highly innovative approach to ensuring the continuous supply of quality assistance during the COVID-19 lockdown, such as organising pandemic awareness sessions on YouTube.
HI restricts its action to a limited number of pilot projects in order to focus on specific sectors and projects with operational applications.
Innovation at HI needs to be simple and frugal (i.e. inexpensive and resource-sustainable). We work in poor and unstable countries with limited access to technology and energy. Innovations must be easy to access and replicable locally.
Our mine clearance drone project in partnership with Mobility Robotics uses basic, inexpensive commercial drones that everyone can access. Our 3D prosthesis printers are not the most powerful, but they are affordable and available commercially.