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AIDONIC – enabling effectiveness, efficiency and transparency for global humanitarian aid distribution secured via blockchain technology

Recently, Severiyos Aydin, the founder of AIDONIC (www.aidonic.io) visited Beirut for an emergency response mission, with his Swiss NGO “Aramaic Relief International” (ARI). ARI has been working with local partners in Lebanon on renovation programs of destroyed homes and coordinating humanitarian aid distributions for the victims of the disastrous explosion, which occurred on 4th August 2020. On that day, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing at least 190 deaths, 6,500 injuries, US$10–15 billion in property damage, and leaving an estimated 300,000 people homeless. 

The explosion was felt in Turkey, Syria, Israel, Palestine and parts of Europe, and was heard in Cyprus, more than 250 km away. It was detected by the United States Geological Survey as a seismic event of magnitude 3.3, and is considered one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history.

The Lebanese government declared a state of emergency, in response to the disaster and urgently requested that international aid be sent to Lebanon. A number of countries sent in food, medical supplies, field hospitals, medical workers, and rescue teams. Many countries also collectively pledged approximately US$300 million in aid. However, the Lebanese people do not trust the governments humanitarian response efforts, they have little faith that aid delivered through official channels will reach the right recipients. One of the biggest challenges the Lebanese people face, is the country’s troubled financial system. For NGOs it has been a huge challenge in getting aid into the country due to the paralyzed banking system.

Immediately after the blast of August 4, residents of Beirut had no choice but to take care of themselves. In the first week after the explosion, civilians gathered in droves, volunteering to clean up debris on the streets, inside homes and businesses in Gemmayze, Achrafieh, and Karantina neighbourhoods. Many civil society organizations offered equipment and food, while many residents and businesses opened their homes, shops, offices and hotels free of charge, to those who lost their homes in the blast. During the emergency response, many new initiatives were set up by the local youth and young adults in the communities. Their actions proved that they stand in solidarity with their people; by doing this, they can effectively help and support their deeply-affected communities.

However, the bleak reality reveals deeper issues existing in the global disaster relief system. After the emergency response mission, Severiyos Aydin reported that much can still be learned from the Beirut Explosion. One major problem area in the disaster response, is the heavily centralised logistics and supply chain processes, mainly caused by the management of databases, by centralised response agencies;  In Beirut, due to the lack of coordination and communication between the actors in the field, people were registered for aid twice or thrice by multiple organizations. As a result, food resources were not being allocated effectively and efficiently: in some districts, there were too many food distributions, while in other areas, people were suffering from lack of food and other supplies. The financial flows of the current disaster response system are not transparent and require complex stakeholder synchronization, to ensure that the information is up to date, as well as tracked and recorded accurately.

Severiyos Aydin during the assessment with ARI in Beirut.

With blockchain-powered AIDONIC, however, each linked participant, from donor to beneficiary, is able to see how funds are funded, spent and used, which helps build trust in the donation process. This, in turn, drives repeat donations into further relief and developmental programmes. With AIDONIC, we provide real-time proof, of how much of the donation, get to designated people in need.

AIDONIC is a social fundraising and digital aid distribution technology for humanitarian aid and development programmes. NGOs, Charities, Governments and any relief organization can distribute tokenised aid vouchers, entitlements, or digital cash, straight to the intended end-beneficiaries, in the most transparent and efficient way possible. All registered and certified organizations can access the track records and distribution ledgers of all campaigns and beneficiaries for efficient last-mile coordination and tracking, minimizing fraud risk to the lowest possible.    

Until now, it has been impossible for those donating to charitable causes, to know the true value and impact of their donations, due to the lack of transparency of archaic supply chain systems. AIDONIC however, proves and ensures the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, increasing trust by the application of the enabling blockchain technology. All transactions are publicly stored in an immutable shared ledger system that is updated and validated in real-time for every network participant, for every participant to see on their smart phone. Indeed, the information is encrypted and cannot be altered, ready for audit purposes.

AIDONIC will be launched in early October 2020 and can immediately be used by international organizations, to raise funds and distribute tokenized aid vouchers, common entitlements, and cash to people in need worldwide. Seeing once more, how disaster relief efforts were disorganised in Beirut, we are certain that, AIDONIC improves the financial flows of the disaster response system and upgrades the effectiveness and efficiency in global humanitarian aid processes, by providing much needed transparency, oversight and coordination.

VIDEO: Severiyos Aydin about the emergency response mission in Beirut, Lebanon by ARAMAIC RELIEF INTERNATIONAL

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