2016 Highlights


The inaugural Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF) Africa Summit was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 2-3 February 2016 at the United Nations Conference Centre. The two day summit attracted more than 300 participants representing NGOs, UN agencies, donors, governments and the private sector. The topics discussed included mobile innovations, procurement, finance, humanitarian logistics, health and WASH, strategic partnerships, emergency communications, safety of aid workers and improving livelihoods of displaced people.

Sonja Ruetzel, Event Director, AIDF addressed the audience with opening remarks emphasizing the importance of technological innovations in improving aid delivery and development strategy in East Africa.

“The AIDF Africa Summit was inspiring. It was energising to hear about innovations” – Adele Beerling, Country Coordinator, Swiss Red Cross Ethiopia  

“AIDF Africa Summit is useful as it provides a platform for private-public-civil society partnership. I will definitely recommend this conference to my colleagues” – Timket A. Biresaw, Deputy Country Director, International Life Line Fund

The first expert panel of the Summit focused on Mobile Innovations for Humanitarian and Development Work. Moderated by Christopher Hoffman, Regional Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director East Africa, World Vision International, the diverse panel discussed the impact of mobile devices on development work and utilising mobile technology to better reach and engage communities. Nada El Marji, Director, Aid & Development, Enterprise Channel & Portfolio Development, Inmarsat addressed how communications solutions can drive sustainable innovation. Rapid Pro was covered by Dr Sharad Sapra, Director of Global Innovation Centre, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in his presentation “Mobile for results”. Frédéric Massé, Vice-President EMEA Deputy Head of Global Government Relations, SAP commented on capacity building and community resilience through eAgri solutions. Importance of building partnerships and collaborations was discussed by Brice Rambaud, Regional Director for Africa Programs, Internews.

Following on from the panel, the audience was presented with the keynote address - Dr Olabisi Dare, Head of Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Division of Political Affairs, African Union Commission. 

“Very beneficial as it highlights several areas of innovation in health care systems” – Beng Teoh, Consultant, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 

“It is aligned with the climate change agenda and it was really useful for me” – Addisu G/medhin, Senior Expert, Ministry of Environment, Ethiopia

View the AIDF Africa Summit photo gallery here 

After a short refreshment break, sponsored by ATEA, the conference proceeded with an update on UN Procurement Principles and Process by Beng Teoh, Consultant, Procurement Unit, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). His presentation was followed by a case study on mobile banking in Ethiopia: Lorenz Wild, Senior Economic Technical Advisor, PRIME, Mercy Corps and Bethel Tsegaye, Innovation Investment Fund Manager, PRIME, Mercy Corps shared their experience of introducing the PRIME (Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion) project’s Innovation Investment Fund.

“I found it very interesting especially the mobile innovations and the humanitarian log aspects and I was right to recommend it to as friend and would definitely recommend it to others too” - Selamawit Seferih, Procurement Officer, GOAL Ethiopia

“The AIDF Africa Summit was good to share experiences and learn from each other. I will recommend to my colleagues” – Tenagne Mekonnen, Communications Manager, Childfund International

Innovation Pitch by Niek van der Weide, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, Cargolux Airlines International

The following panel focused on Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Challenges and was moderated by Eva Mwai, Regional Director, East Africa, North Star Alliance. In particular the panellists focused on how to ensure agile operations, reduce programme waste and improve supplier relationships. They also shared lessons learned from recent operations like challenges related to transport, storage and distribution. Rishi Ramrakha, Head of Zone Logistics Unit, Africa, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) addressed challenges of last mile logistics and best practice for shipping supplies into areas of reduced infrastructure and difficult borders. Measures necessary to be undertaken to preventing corruption in humanitarian aid were highlighted by Anne Signe Hørstad, Project Coordinator, Transparency International Norway. Pascal Vuillet, Chief UNHAS Ethiopia, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), spoke about introducing their health services in Ethiopia. 

“The AIDF Africa Summit was very useful – it gave me a chance to know how technology innovation is supporting aid operations” – Ketemaw Admassu, Logistics Manager, Concern Worldwide Ethiopia

“Good content, well run and moderated, good time keeping” – Rishi Ramrakha, Head of Regional Logistics, IFRC

Innovation Pitch "Use of satellite imagery to meet the needs in emergency situations" by Mathieu Benoit, Senior Director, Earth Observation, Effigis 

After the networking lunch, sponsored by Ilex, where participants had an opportunity to explore the exhibition, the AIDF Africa Summit continued with the keynote presentation on Technology & Youth by Raphael Obonyo, Africa's Representative to the Global Coordination Board, World Bank Group. His presentation was followed by panel discussion on Innovations, Partnerships, Technologies for Effective Emergency Communications moderated by Brice Rambaud, Regional Director for Africa Programs, Internews.

“Very useful and practical solutions that affect my future project activities. I appreciate the networking opportunities the AIDF Africa Summit has given me and my organisation” – Asayehegn Tekeste. Deputy Chief of Party, Maternal and Child Survival Program, Save the Children International

Andrew Rugege, Regional Director for Africa, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Simon Gray, Field Support Manager, System Integration, Eutelsat and Stuart Worsley, Country Director, Ethiopia, Mercy Corps shared their insight into how to make communication among aid and development agencies effective as well how to empower local communities to take leadership roles and be primary agents of their own response.

“The mix of private sector and NGO presentations were quite helpful and presented some practical examples” – Chege Ngugi, National Director, Child Fund Ethiopia

After these panels the participants had an opportunity to engage in an informal roundtable discussions and also share their experiences with the group or ask more specific questions around livelihood & shelter assistance (NRS International), WASH, partnerships for health programmes (Bio-Rad Laboratories), use of satellite technology (Eutelsat), technology & youth (SAP), regional capacity building, supporting at-risk groups and disaster relief management.

“Very useful, eye opener on how to best use technology for development and emergency works” – Ahmed Abajobir, Country Director, The Fred Hollows Foundation

The next two panels focused on Data & Knowledge Management and Sharing, which covered importance of social networks and data exchange among aid and development stakeholders, data collection/sharing and GIS uses for humanitarian programmes. The panel was moderated by David Barnard, Vice President, Africa, TechSoup and speakers included Dr Chukwudozie Ezigbalike, Chief of the Data Technology Section, Africa Centre for Statistics (ACS), UNECA, Moses Sitati, Head of Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) East Africa Data Lab, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Ambachew Deresse, Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Action Aid Ethiopia.

“Speakers were knowledgeable and provided new information for me on open source programmes and approaches in health sector, which I have not received prior. I would recommend to other ICT professionals” – Brian Kubiak, President, Links Media LLC

“The AIDF Africa Summit is useful for me as it let me know much information about ICT and humanitarian aid. The exhibition helped me to become familiar about new developments for humanitarian sector” – Eyasu Shishigu, Senior Programme Associate M&E, World Food Programme (WFP)

““The AIDF Africa Summit is useful and practical as it enabled me to gain new insight about innovation in humanitarian service provision. Practical experiential sharing was marvellous and I also gained experience of other organisations. I learned from the way the Summit was organised, power of information technology was clearly and practically discussed, demonstrated and shared” – Zekarias Assefa, Head, Quality Assurance & Learning, Ethiopian Red Cross

Day One at the AIDF Africa Summit concluded with a drinks reception, sponsored by Iridium. The audience was exposed to latest technologies and innovations from carefully selected solution providers presented at the exhibition as well as unparalleled networking opportunities amongst key stakeholder groups.

“AIDF Africa Summit is the best opportunity to learn about new innovations and technologies that could enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of aid delivery at all levels. There are a lot of innovations and technologies that could be disseminated across the globe especially in a very remote areas of the communities and hence interesting to establish partnerships with all stakeholders” – Bisrat Alemu Mengesha, Regional Partnership Coordinator for East & Horn Africa, Action Aid International 

“Level of presentations, high calibre contents, new ideas” – Moses Sitati, Lab Manager, HDX , UNOCHA  

The second day kicked off with an update on Child and Maternal Health Initiatives and Innovations, moderated by John Graham, Country Director, Ethiopia, Save the Children. The panellists provided an overview of current health threats in East Africa. Dr Martina Fuchs, CEO, Real Medicine Foundation discussed how to strengthen health programmes through the use of mobile technologies, while Brigitte Dacosta, Director, Public Health Department, bioMérieux shared her thoughts on disease prevention and control - vaccinations, testing and monitoring. “Embrace Health – Unite to screen and treat anemia” was the title of presentation by Lena Wahlhed, Director Alliance Development, HemoCue followed by Dr Azmach Gebregiorgis, National Program Officer, World Health Organization (WHO) update on regional health programmes, including maternal health.

Innovation Pitch by Marc Evans, CEO, The Sure Chill Company

“Good opportunities for networking with delegates but also with speakers. Well organised, very helpful before the conference. In future, balance between providing information and applying it relating presentations to the work of organisations” – Linda Ndethiu, Partner Support Coordinator, Red Een Kind (Help a Child) Kenya

“Practical, high level discussions as well as good networking in side sessions” – Margaret Njenga, Associate Director, Health, World Vision Kenya

Innovation Pitch by Luc Provost, CEO, B Medical Systems

As one of the most pressing health topics of this century, panel on HIV and AIDS Response in the Post-2015 Development Agenda was led by Dr Esther Aceng, Communicable Diseases Team Leader, WHO. Miriam Maluwa, Country Director, Ethiopia, UNAIDS provided an update on rapid testing solutions. Suggestions on how to eliminate false positive through a new rapid test solution, improve access to HIV/AIDS prevention and counselling were offered by Dr Cyrille Schreider, Area Manager Africa, Bio-Rad Laboratories, while Amitrajit Saha, Senior Advisor HIV and Human Rights, HIV, Health and Development Team, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) discussed scaling up HIV treatment and care.

“The AIDF Africa conference focus on innovative solutions is particularly useful to my work. Moreover the mix of private sector, NGOs, donor and UN based participants is very useful” – Elise Nalbandian, Senior Program Manager, Australian Embassy Ethiopia

What followed was a panel on WASH Innovations and Good Practice with participation of Sean Kerrigan, Global Head of WASH, World Vision International, Atnafe Beyene, National CLTS Coordinator, Plan International, Dr Patrick Marcus, Executive Head of Technical Sales, Training & Service, Kärcher Futuretech and Kitka Goyol, WASH Specialist, Kitka Goyol, WASH Specialist, UNICEF. The speakers shared with the audience how to ensure access to safe drinking water and sanitation, quality requirements for drinking water in the field, how to examine solutions for water treatment and what are the best practice for improving hygiene awareness and education.

Innovation Pitch by Paul Grinvalds, Managing Director, AFRIPads

“The AIDF Africa Summit is very beneficial as it brings different experiences of good practices together. Good networking as well” – Fikru Tarekegn, Country Director, Dorcas Aid International Ethiopia

Innovation Pitch by Matthias Farrenschon, Senior Sales Manager Africa, Asia/Pacific, UN, Kärcher Futuretech

Further looking into Improving Livelihoods of Displaced People, Berhanu Ulla, National Director, Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia debated how can life and livelihoods of refugees be protected and improved by looking at key areas such as shelter, energy, education, food and water supply. Clementine Nkweta-Salami, Representative, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) looked at latest innovations and trends in shelter assistance, disaster resilient settlements and shifting focus from temporary shelter to safe livelihoods and protection. Christopher Hoffman, Regional Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director East Africa, World Vision International followed with a discussion on implementing safety and product standards across the board, while Marnix Eykhout, Business Development & Sales Executive, NRS International shared his views on how can we better support at-risk groups providing them with better shelter, lighting and rechargeable solutions & nets.

“The AIDF Africa Summit is simply brilliant and beneficial for me. I benefited from very remarkable knowledge and will recommend it to my friends and colleagues” – Mahamud Abdi, Executive Director, Care for the Vulnerable

The concluding panel at the AIDF Africa Summit focused on Building & Strengthening Strategic Partnerships and Richard Walden, CEO, Operation USA took role of the moderator. Best practice in building effective and sustainable partnerships that meet their goals was presented by Michael Jacobs, Chief of Party, PRIME, Mercy Corps. Troy Conrey, Managing Director, Air Serv discussed common challenges, particularly around multi-sector partnerships. New partnership models, such as shared value approach and crowd funding was at the centre of Barlin Ali, Program Coordinator, Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) presentation, which was followed by Eva Greitemann, Partner Development, Deutsches Medikamenten-Hilfswerk, Action Medeor proposal on how to manage NGO and private sector partnerships.

“The AIDF Africa Summit is very good and informative on current best practices and innovations” – Yoseph Gedamu, Program Manager, Habitat for Humanity

“It is very beneficial especially when it comes to building partnerships to development and technology. I will recommend to my colleagues” – John Maina Njoroge, Program Manager, Childs Life Kenya

“Interesting mix of NGO’s and private sector” – Ms Chai, Manager, KOICA