The Start Network, an amalgam of 42 national and international aid agencies, reported on July 11, 2017, that it is researching blockchain-based models for delivering humanitarian aid with fund management and distribution platform Disberse.
Among the project’s goals are to increase the rapidity of aid distribution and to infallibly trace transactions from donor to recipient. Ultimately, the blockchain technology would act as a monitoring system to ensure those in need receive the funds in question while simultaneously mitigating exchange rate-based losses.
In the current banking systems, high fees and transaction longevity present inefficiencies that can be costly to both the organizations providing aid and the individuals who need it. These issues are complicated by volatile exchange rates in countries wherein economic infrastructure is severely lacking, which is often the case in places marred by humanitarian crises.
Disberse combats the loss in exchange rates and intermediary fees. It completed a pilot program with UK-based charity Positive Women by which it reduced losses at delivery points for a Swaziland aid project to a null. Funds were tracked as they traveled from the UK to four Swazi schools by way of a non-governmental organization; the project’s savings were enough to pay the annual fees for an additional three students.