Rockefeller commits $3m to boost Africa’s off-grid, technology against COVID-19


Rockefeller Foundation will award three new grants to support organizations that are working with countries, communities, and regions in Africa and Asia to leverage data and technology to bolster their COVID-19 response.

A portion of the grants is earmarked for off-grid technologies that can quickly address the energy needs of healthcare facilities currently operating without electricity.

In a company statement, the Foundation said it is awarding grants totaling $3 million to four organizations: Dalberg, Dimagi, Medic Mobile, and Odyssey Energy Solutions.

These new grants build on the Foundation’s efforts to improve public health and provide reliable electricity to vulnerable communities worldwide and bring its total commitment to the global COVID-19 response to over $50 million.

The Foundation highlighted that these grants will enhance data collection through contact tracing, symptom checking, and testing that can generate data that is crucial for ensuring efficient Covid-19 responses across the community, country, and regional levels.

“When I was leading the US response to the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, using transparent, location-specific, real-time data was a game-changing innovation,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Employing a data-driven response to outbreaks is critical to target prevention and response efforts much more precisely and return to normal more quickly.”

With more than five million cases globally, countries have turned to technology at all levels of their health systems to respond to COVID-19. Yet many lower- and middle-income countries do not have the same resources as wealthier countries to develop innovations that meet their unique needs and could aid their responses. As a result, those countries with the fewest resources to combat a COVID-19 outbreak are often the least well-positioned to leverage data and technology to drive efficient responses.

“We are partnering with countries and local communities to equip them with the technologies and tools that will help to protect their health and save their economies,” said Ashvin Dayal, Senior Vice President, Power Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation. “Reliable electricity is essential for effective testing and treatment, and off-grid technologies can be rapidly deployed to address this crisis.”

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