Innovations

Innovation Within Blumont, Throughout Our Programs, and Beyond

Urban Refugees – Innovative Responses for an Unprecedented Situation

The protracted refugee crisis in Syria continues to pose a unique challenge for implementing partners (IPs) of humanitarian assistance and development work, and is changing the conversation around the prevalent approach. With the Syrian crisis leading to the highest level of refugee population displacement since World War II, host countries are struggling to provide for refugees’ basic needs, and standard humanitarian approaches used successfully in other situations are not always applicable.
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Electronic Cash Transfers in Humanitarian Assistance

Three case studies on electronic cash transfers were conducted in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and their findings point toward several key areas where humanitarian assistance organizations could focus their efforts to provide the most effective financial services in crisis situations. Cash transfers, in this case administered via mobile money applications, are often an excellent way to provide humanitarian assistance when disaster or crises strike.
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“Why Waste Water?” – World Water Day and Water Technology Hub

A conversation with water expert Andrew Yeghnazar. “Water is a big need, an opportunity, and a challenge for the future. Many people don’t think about clean water, but without it there can be no healthy living” says Andrew Yeghnazar, Founding Executive of the Water Technology Hub.
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Better Geo-spatial Analsysis Support for Agriculture

The USAID-funded Kandahar Food Zone (KFZ) Program uses a unique system of an integrated software tools to build a robust project information system. The combination of advanced geo-spatial analysis tools with information sharing and collaboration tools has received high praise from program staff, the donor, other implementing organizations and Afghan Government Ministries for its ability to support state of the art analysis and share the results across the diverse stakeholder community.
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Netafim Develops Advanced Drip Irrigation Technology

Netafim develops advanced drip irrigation systems to create sustainable work in agriculture and improve the economic position of millions of smallholder farmers around the world. Blumont is heavily invested in agricultural innovation throughout many communities around the world. Through programs such as the Kandahar Food Zone (KFZ) in Afghanistan, the Cashew Value Chain Enhancement 2 (CEP 2) program in Senegal and The Gambia and RIC4REC in Mali, Blumont is using agricultural innovations to improve agricultural productivity, diversify licit rural livelihoods and build resiliency to climate shock.
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Rethinking Food Aid Packaging

USAID is currently working to redesign food aid bags, potentially saving $15 million and 10,000 tons of food from going bad a year. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the world’s largest food aid donor, contributing $1.5 billion in food aid annually.
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Meta Opens Doors for Research

In a move that may set a precedent for open information sharing in the future, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s philanthropy organization, recently acquired Meta – a search engine startup powered by artificial intelligence. The tool will be free to all in the next few months, and provides full-text access to 18,000 journals and other literature sources bringing more than 26 million science research papers to users’ fingertips.
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Closing Gaps Creates New Program Management Platform

At Blumont, we believe efficient project execution is a key building block for excellence in program delivery. The Closing Gaps team in Colombia is putting this theory into practice with their latest innovation – a web-based strategic and operational management system which compiles all their tools to track program activities into a single online platform.
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Fuel Efficient Stoves – An Introduction

Burgeoning energy issues in refugee or internally displaced person (IDP) camps and settlements is a growing concern. Fuel efficient stoves (FES) – a technology that has historically struggled to take hold, offer positive impacts for both human lives and the environment while providing for basic cooking needs.
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Blumont Director of Engineering Brings New Approach to Clean Energy Planning

Paul Meier, Director of Engineering for Blumont Engineering Solutions, is the creator of JuiceBox.org – a software program which uses computer models to simulate the U.S. energy “grid” – projecting long-term supply and demand for electricity generation, transportation systems and fuel production.
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Solar Produce Dryers Save Time, Increase Profits in Afghanistan

In many rural areas of Kandahar province, farmers grow fruits and vegetables, which have to be sold in the market immediately after harvesting. An oversupply during the harvest season equals lower profits for the farmers. Drying fruit and vegetables is one common solution.
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Applied Learning Unit Creates New Databases

Applying program data in effective ways Three interns at Blumont / IRD worked with the Applied Learning Unit to take data collected through the organization’s programs and create comprehensive databases that can be used to advise future program development and implementation.
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Solar Powered Stoves Combat Deforestation

Mariam cannot believe it. In front of her, in the soaring heat of Kolokani village, Mali, an ordinary cardboard box covered with aluminum on the inside serves as a kitchen stove. A beef dish simmers in a black pot contained in a heat-resistant plastic bag.
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Climate Change Resilience Research in Mali

IRD’s Mali-based BRACED program, RIC4REC, is collaborating with the Humanitarian Relief and Development Laboratory (HURDL) based out of Clark University to map out determinants of decision making that affect the resiliency of households to climate change. Implementing their Livelihoods as Intimate Government (LIG) methodology, HURDL aims to gain insight into local structures of decision-making on livelihoods such as whether to adopt a new climate change adaptive practice or not.
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Turning Cashew Shells into a Renewable Energy Source

As part of the ongoing USDA-funded Cashew Enhancement Program (CEP) 2, team members collaborated on an innovative project in several villages in Senegal and The Gambia that demonstrated the viability of turning raw cashew-nut shells into briquettes that can be used as a fuel for cooking and heating.
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Food Security Enhancement through Cashew Apple Processing

Cashew production is an increasingly important source of revenue for small farmers in the Senegambia sub-region. However, there still remain untapped opportunities for increased revenue and household food security that stem from massive amounts of cashew apple left to waste. It is estimated that 55,000 tons of cashew nuts were produced in Senegambia in 2015.
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