Can blockchain make charity more transparent?

Can AID:Tech really make the donations and charities more transparent, and help the aid-workers get more out of the funds allocated to them?
18 July 2018

Team AID:Tech. Source: Twitter/AID:Tech

When you think of blockchains, you think of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins and Ethereum which give users a degree of anonymity that other financial instruments fail to provide.

It’s one of the most important features of blockchains, which propelled the technology to the limelight back in 2008.

However, it’s not its only feature – and going by modern applications, it’s not the most coveted feature either.

In the real-world, blockchains are expected to bring a degree of transparency to record-keeping that no other form of bookkeeping can offer.

Blockchains, often called distributed ledger technology, as a result of this capability, has plenty of modern commercial applications. Take the business of managing charity and relief funds, for example.

Blockchains can provide assurance and build trust with donors when they send funds to support relief work in areas affected by calamity and natural disasters.

In an exclusive interview with TechHQ, blockchain powered AID:Tech’s COO Niall Dennehy discussed what blockchains can do for charities and how it can help build a better ecosystem.

“Trends and studies suggest that up to 30 percent of international aid goes missing every year. However, when we use blockchains to bring transparency to charity money and international aid, we make a real difference,” said Dennehy.

AID:Tech, which has successfully piloted its solution in Lebanon in 2005, is keen on getting governments around the world to buy into the technology.

Dennehy, who explained how his solution works, said that there are four key aspects of his company that make governments and corporate donors sit up and pay attention to what they’re doing:

# 1 | All beneficiaries are registered, on the ground, before they can access relief funds

#2 | Assets that represent entitlements such as milk, bread, and medicines that represent entitements are listed as well

#3 | Beneficiaries are issued vouchers linked to their digital identity(pictured in the Tweet below) which they can redeem for entitlements, even at local (offline) markets

#4 | Every transaction can be tracked, in real-time, to make the system transparent and efficient.

The success of AID:Tech isn’t limited to one trial in Lebanon. The company has been working its way up the ladder and building a reputation for itself in the market.

Just this year, for example, the company has tied up with PharmAccess to provide maternal care in Tanzania.

“In fact, data generated on the platform is going to help clinics determine what medicines they are lacking (like folic acid). They couldn’t access data like that in real-time before,” explained Dennehy.

At the moment, despite its success, the company’s biggest challenge is securing the buy-in of different governments and corporations.

Dennehy and his team are working hard, representing the company at events and forums across the world, to help people understand, accept, and hopefully adopt their solution.

In the future, maybe all relief and charity work will be logged on the blockchain, avoiding corruption, and ensuring every dollar donated truly makes a difference.