28 april 2007
Dutch TNO starts Flying Innovation Team for poor countries
TNO, an institute with over 4,300 employees and a large network of universities and companies, applies scientific knowledge to strengthen the innovative power of both the private and public sector. As an expression of its social responsibility, TNO has decided to participate in ultimately some twenty projects, aiming to improve water, food, health, labour, housing, energy, ICT and safety in developing countries.
This week TNO has signed a contract with four development organisations. The Flying Innovation Team will work with the Dutch development organisation ICCO, the Netherlands Refugee Foundation, the Zambian ICT-organisation LinkNet, and Schoolfeeding Initiative Ghana Netherlands (SIGN), a public-private partnership working simultaneously on an improved income for farmers and better food for school children.
Meanwhile, several projects have already started. For a project in the South of Lebanon, TNO is developing methods to detect cluster munitions in trees and high grass. Unexploded submunitions, fired in 2006 by Israeli artillery, are a serious threat for refugees returning to their homes and land. Another project is meant to develop a simple and cheap test to establish water contamination in remote areas that lack laboratories. In about two years time TNO plans to market a kind of dipstick for only a dollar a piece. In Zambia, two staff members of the Flying Innovation Team have assisted the NGO LinkNet in setting up networks of personal computers connected to the internet. LinkNet works in rural areas in Zambia. During their visits to Zambia, TNO staff has built networks in two villages, thus connecting medical institutes, schools, cyber café's and private persons to the world wide web. According to LinkNet this results into better health care, better education and new jobs.
Early May, the Flying Innovation Team will get a special training in India, facilitated by ICCO and Share People, an NGO that connects professionals with small enterprises in developing countries.
P+ webtip: TNO