Start Network has launched “Innovation Lab” in Bangladesh. Besides Bangladesh, there are also similar labs in Jordan, Kenya and the Philippines. The aim is to find innovative ways to help local communities better preparedness for disasters.

The move is the first of its kind as the labs will facilitate innovations by people on the ground that are driven by community, making the labs more locally driven as compared to other innovative approaches. The programme, jointly managed by Start Network and CDAC Network and funded by UK Aid, will last until March 2019.

The four countries were selected because they are particularly prone to natural and man-made disasters ranging from floods, typhoons, drought, earthquakes and armed conflict. Each country will provide different perspectives and approaches in disaster preparedness that may be adapted in different regions across the continents.

Innovations produced by the labs could range from developing better building materials and that are more resistant to flooding or earthquakes or easier to transport when reconstruction is needed, to new communications systems for communities to use in a crisis. New technology might be used to improve planning and crisis response systems within an affected country. New preventive ideals f or disease outbreak may be discovered that will be beneficial across the regions.

The launching event of the Bangladesh Lab aims to examine and improve the direct impact of the built environment and emergency health. The lab seeks to find and support ideas that build safer communities which will be piloted in  Korail, Bangladesh’s largest slum, it will ensure ideas are led by the local community. The lab is hosted by Dhaka Community Hospital Trust, a Bangladeshi community hospital and medical college and a consortium of partners (SEEDS Technical Services; University of New South Wales; Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED); and the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network).

In this Launching Ceremony, we are honored to have Mr. Rashed Khan Menon, MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism Bangladesh as the Chief Guest. All delegates from the consortium of partners including Dhaka Community Hospital Trust, a Bangladeshi community hospital and medical college, was present in the ceremony.