Welcome to AidEx

AidEx is the leading international event for professionals in aid and development. We have three annual events:
Our flagship conference and exhibition in Brussels (15-16 November) and 2 day conferences in both Nairobi (13-14 September) and Dhaka (19-20 July).

AidEx encompasses a conference, exhibition, meeting areas, awards and workshops. Its fundamental aim is to engage the sector at every level and provide an annual forum for the visitors to meet, source, supply and learn. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to get all the latest updates from the sector.

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Photography courtesy
European Commission DG ECHO

AidEx Brussels

AidEx is the leading international event dedicated to the unique needs of development and aid professionals across the world; held over two days annually at Brussels Expo, in Belgium.

AidEx is recognised as a major platform for networking, making new contacts and doing business. By taking part, you will forge new relationships in the community, raise awareness of your organisation and be involved in the sourcing of new solutions to improve the efficiency of aid delivery.

AidEx Africa

Now in it's fourth year, AidEx Africa is a two-day high-profile conference which takes place annually in Nairobi, Kenya. AidEx Africa was developed as a satellite event to the already well-established AidEx conference and exhibition for humanitarian and development aid, held each year in Brussels.

AidEx Africa attracts over 300 delegates from the Government of Kenya, UN agencies, Kenyan Red Cross and leading NGOs from Africa and beyond.

AidEx Bangladesh

For many of the world’s largest NGOs, Bangladesh is one of their most important development programmes worldwide and for the first time, AidEx is launching its Dhaka Conference in May this year.

AidEx Dhaka will be a two-day high-profile event attracting 200+ high-level representatives from the sector who will come from a wide range of NGO's, the UN, Red Cross as well as government officials from across the region.

1. Can you tell us a little about your company and product/service? What problems do you aim to tackle?
Greenco Water was founded in 2012 as an ethical investor in providing water and other fluid storage solutions to the world using Australian ingenuity.

We saw a need for a single-family size tank that would be easily transportable in a disassembled format, to assist in the humanitarian need for storing water. We wanted to solve the problem of moving empty containers around, costing NGO’s enormous amounts of money, for little value.

That problem had not been solved using existing technologies, so we spent over two years developing the Pak Flat Tank, taking advantage of developments from the last 10 years in plastics, metals and computer modelling.

After 43 design iterations, we arrived at the design that was released in August 2014, and available in June 2015 in commercial quantities.

The Pak Flat Tank now allows hard-hit communities to easily install water storage within days of a disaster or other humanitarian crisis, with tanks already in storage in warehouses around the world, by organisations as diverse as Save The Children, Oxfam, and Rotary.

2. In one sentence, tell us why your product/service should win the Aid Innovation Award?

Our product provides an enormous return on investment, as it provides water to families when and where they need it most, is environmentally sound; able to be set up or removed in minutes, a nd can be taken by the people back to their homes when it becomes possible, leaving no trace, and giving them a reliable source of water for years.

3. What does it mean to you to have been nominated for the award?

We are extremely proud to have been nominated for the award. An enormous effort has gone on behind the scenes with this product, and there are many people who deserve credit in helping us reach our current position, and in continuing to assist us as we try to provide solutions to helping those in the direst need.

4. Have you already used your product/service in the field? Please share any local case studies you may have.

Our product has already been used in response to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, Cyclone Winston in Fiji, and in the Itokama region of Papua New Guinea to give women and children immediate access to community water resources instead of trekking half a kilometre to a community well (see the video sent in support of our application).

5. This year’s AidEx conference theme is “Localisation” – what does localisation mean to you?

Localisation means providing recovering communities with the means to support themselves and support new or re-generated activity – economic, educational, health and happiness with the least long-term reliance on external NGO’s and other support institutions. To make sure the community is self -sustaining and generates enough activity to provide meaningful work, education and other activities for its residents.

Energy Farm Co., Ltd is a South Korean enterprise that produces renewable energy based solutions and products to tackle energy poverty in developing countries. At AidEx 2016, the company introduces their new innovative solar home system NESFARM, the fruit of sharing solar technologies with the youth in Cambodia. They will be exhibiting at AidEx 2016 on stand B40.

It started with a single trainee; eight years later there is a whole “Eco Solar” team comprised of seven Cambodian solar engineers.

In a bid to boost local community development, Energy Farm Co. Ltd started sharing solar technology with young Cambodian men through a series of technology transfer projects that began in 2009. The trainees learn how to design and make solar based products such as a solar cooker or off-grid solar power systems. As they grow in experience, these young men become skillful and equipped with knowledge and passion to better their community’s access to electricity. Today, Eco Solar members are working as solar engineers in Takeo Province, and they are the most important local partner for Energy Farm Co., Ltd in Cambodia.

One of their recent big achievements was installing the solar home system NESFARM, in fifty homes in a farming village. In 2016, Energy Farm Co., Ltd launched NESFARM (Natural Energy Supply Farm) in cooperation with KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) through the Creative Technology Solution programme. NESFARM boasts its effective and long-lasting battery management system respond to the changes in weather. Thanks to its specially designed circuit, the solar powered device is protected from heat over 40 Co, to prevent an overload and short circuit. This has enhanced the residents’ energy awareness promoting the economic and social benefit of solar. These engineers have also played a big role in building trust with the villages through their diligence and commitment.

Eco Solar members hope that they can continue to improve the quality of life of local communities through solar energy. This December, they will continue with their initiative and build an 8kW-solar generator for an organic meat processing factory that the community will run for better income. It just goes to show that even a small changes can go a long way in helping communities become self-sufficient.

NSSLGlobal is an independent service provider of satellite communications and IT support, committed to delivering high quality data and voice services to customers anywhere in the world – regardless of location. They will be exhibiting at AIDEX 2016 on stand D80/B.

Communities which are unconnected from the internet or even traditional telephony suffer more than we often realise. Not only are they often shut off from the wider world, the world is cut off from them. This means our understanding of such communities, and the challenges they may be facing, remains unknown.

As a satellite technology provider, NSSLGlobal makes the biggest impact in areas where traditional forms of communication are not available: disaster zones and in remote communities. To help tackle the isolation of such areas, NSSLGlobal has established a partnership with Survival International, an organisation at the forefront of the global movement for the rights of tribal people.

The goal of the partnership was to give the Amazonian Yanomami tribe a voice and bring to light the struggles they face from deforestation, mining and land theft. NSSLGlobal provided Survival International with the necessary satellite communication and IT equipment, as well as the necessary training for NGO members and tribespeople on how to use it, and ongoing technical support. The result? Helping an oft-misrepresented group of people a way to stand up for their rights and giving them a means to tell the world about the detrimental impact of illegal deforestation, construction and industrial activity.

This is just one of countless examples of the benefit of utilising satellite technology to keep remote communities connected. NSSLGlobal has also worked with a remote medical facility in Haiti, to connect doctors and staff with fellow healthcare professionals elsewhere in the world, allowing them to benefit from wider support, as well as staying in touch with their families. With renewed infrastructure and equipment, it becomes clear that being far away doesn’t have to mean being cut off from either work or home.

The Antenna Foundation is an organization committed to researching technological, health and economic solutions to meet the basic needs of marginalized populations in developing countries. In the water sector, a simple tool was developed to provide access to safe water and hygiene to local communities. They will be exhibiting at AidEx 2016 on stand C10.

The focus of Antenna Foundation develop and transfer is affordable, efficient, durable and simple technologies, designed and adapted with input from their ELD partners. As founder Denis von der Weid explains, “Half of the world’s population does not have access to basic necessities, yet scientific research is not interested in this.” He set out to tackle this issue.

Twenty-five years later, the foundation now sends its solutions to all four corners of the planet. For instance, WATA devices are used to purify large quantities of water via an an electrolysis process that transforms salt water into chlorine. This is urgently necessary. According to figures released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 663 million people in the world did not have access to clean, safe water last year, with the majority of these people residing in sub-Saharan Africa (319 million) and south Asia (134 million).

The Antenna Foundation works with partner companies to adapt its technology, and make products more affordable and user friendly. Antenna also collaborates with international organizations, local NGOs and governments to maximize networks, resources and results.

Partnering with businesses creates jobs, ensures greater access to products, and increases local community revenues. Such efforts become self-perpetuating in the end.

Bangladesh-based BRAC is the world’s largest non-governmental organization, dedicated to empowering people living in poverty. They will be exhibiting on stand A58 at AidEx 2016.

We spoke to BRAC’s executive director, Dr. Muhammad Musa, to find out how localization shapes the organisation’s approach to aid.

How does BRAC’s roots in Bangladesh shape its approach to development and humanitarian aid?

I have been working with international NGOs for quite some time and knew about BRAC for a long time before I started working here. As I see it, one of BRAC’s main advantages is that, as a Bangladeshi organization, local communities feel a real sense of ownership. They see the organization as their own, rather than as something that’s come from the outside, meaning that people collaborate and interact together to design programs.

Another advantage is that when we present opportunities to donors, we can use this to reshape their thinking – a lot of donors are interested in funding programs that focus on the engagement and participation of local communities, but might not have thought about it or have a lot of information. And with the aid itself, we see local communities engaging a lot more wholeheartedly with their development. This makes it a lot easier to build relationships, which in turn means that we already know the people we are working with and their particular vulnerabilities. Because the knowledge is already there, we can assess and respond more quickly in humanitarian aid situations.

BRAC is the world’s largest NGO. How does such a large organization ensure that its vision is fully translated into positive change at a local level?

We reach more than 120 million people, and have over 100,000 employees, both direct employees and volunteers. Most of them come from the villages we are helping, so they know the communities in which they are working and they’ve built relationships there over a long time. Over the last 45 years we have built very concrete relationships with individual villages. Sometimes there are local government leaders who received some kind of humanitarian aid from BRAC when they were a child, some people went to a BRAC school, many people we develop projects with were BRAC aid beneficiaries in the past. So we’ve really formed a community.

What does localization mean to an organization like BRAC? How do you incorporate local knowledge and insight into your decision making?

We base all our projects on the local knowledge that we already have about the community. In our program and strategy development, we build with the community. We work with a number of local organisations, like farmers’ groups and women’s associations, so from them we get crucial information that helps inform our program design and our strategy development.

Can you give us an example of a project in which the local community played an important role?

One example of this is our Targeting the Ultra-Poor program, which aims to help families move out of extreme poverty. For this program, we go to communities and do social mapping, looking at the income and assets of each individual household to understand their situation. We aim to target the ultra-poor – those living in the most abject poverty, who are not only poor but are also neglected by other social programs and suffer from social isolation.

We then build a 2-year ‘graduation’ program. This offers families a package of services, including free healthcare and education, and we teach them how to manage their assets – when I say ‘assets’ here, this could be something as simple as a goat, a chicken or the land on which their house is built. We invite local leaders and members of the community to form a support group, so both during and after the process, these vulnerable people have a network around them and have people to turn to if they have problems. But these support groups also play another role, in that they can alert us if they see signs of a family slipping back into ultra-poverty.

In the ten years since the program started, 1.7 million families have ‘graduated’ out of ultra-poverty. The success of the program has been evaluated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and London School of Economics and they found that after completing the program, over 95% of families are no longer ultra-poor. They still have problems of course, and their lives are still difficult, but they are obtaining goals and improving their lives. We’re very proud of this project, and local communities have really driven it with us.

Looking forward, what trends do you think will shape the future of development?

I think we will see countries moving away from addressing outcomes of poverty and social inequality to addressing the structures and underlying causes of poverty – like gender inequality, or weak governments and institutions. To do this, organisations must become more local and stop thinking about poverty just in terms of the effects on things like income, health or education. Of course these are important, but we need to identify structural issues. This is dependent on knowledge, relationships and influence on the ground; we need partnerships and evidence from communities themselves. Aid organisations need local legitimacy. I also think we will see a lot of young people taking more ownership of local programs in their own countries and building different kinds of solutions and opportunities.

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