iBoP Asia’s Frontiers: Charting the future of S&T innovation for the poor in Southeast Asia

A bicycle-powered paper shredder that can be used to make
environment-friendly charcoal. A new way of processing waste cooking
oil that turns it into cheap fuel for vehicles. A web-based system that
allows small-scale fishers to access marine data using mobile phones.

These are just some of the promising devices that will be showcased,
along with other “base of the pyramid” (BoP) innovations, in a forum
co-organized by iBoP Asia (www.ibop-asia.net) and the Dewan Riset
Nasional (www.drn.go.id). The forum will be held on March 3, 2010 at
the Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The BoP refers to the 2.9 billion people in Asia (4 billion worldwide)
living on less than 4 US Dollars a day. iBoP Asia, a collaboration
between the School of Government of the Ateneo de Manila University in
the Philippines and Canada’s International Development Research Centre
that was launched in 2008, is a pioneering effort in the region that
promotes and supports S&T-based approaches and solutions to
poverty.

Aptly called
Frontiers, the forum will gather experts and
innovators in the sectors of water & sanitation, energy,
agriculture, climate change, ICT and microfinance to tackle the
pressing needs of the BoP in these areas and how S&T can provide
viable and affordable solutions to these needs. Dr. Allen Hammond,
Ashoka senior entrepreneur and lead co-author of ‘The Next 4 Billion’
is the forum’s keynote speaker.
Putting the BoP at the heart of S&T
development and innovation in the region is the underlying message, and
what is called for is to harness the potential of Southeast Asia to
become a knowledge-base and leader in S&T innovation for the BoP.

The innovation projects of eleven (11) organizations from the
Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam supported by the iBoP
Asia Small Grants Program will be the highlight of the forum. Apart
from the innovations that were previously mentioned, also to be
presented are studies on the spending patterns of the BoP and payment
strategies for those with irregular incomes
; the development of BoP
enterprises; the improvement of farming practices and agricultural
products; and innovative models for water service delivery in
communities.

Last year, another set of grants were awarded by iBoP Asia to fifteen
(15) organizations, including orgs based in Thailand and Cambodia. The
results and outputs of these projects will be presented to the public
in October 2010.

iBoP Asia is building partnerships not only with researchers and
innovators but also with key agencies in government, the private sector
and civil society. The Project has been recently cited as a “positive
and inspiring” example of a pro-poor S&T research program by the
Dewan Riset Nasional. DRN, under its Secretary, Dr. Ir. Tusy A.
Adibroto, has taken on a key role in furthering iBoP Asia’s efforts in
Southeast Asia by becoming the home of

iBoP Indonesia,
the official network of iBoP Asia in Indonesia. Ms. TikTik Dewi
Sartika, DRN’s junior communication staff, serves as iBoP Asia’s
Network Fellow and overall coordinator for iBoP Indonesia.

Visit www.ibop-asia.net to know more about iBoP Asia and its partners in the region.

(Dean Tony La Vina on the iBoP Asia Facebook page)

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