Arduino Srl which is known for their open source hardware products such as the Arduino Uno is a micro-controller board based and Arduino Yun for DIY (Do it Yourself) projects will be supporting/ partnering with a Ugandan startup called EWERDIMA which is currently incubating at Outbox Hub.
EWERDIMA which stands for Early Warning Early Response Disaster Management is a startup by ILICIT Africa that is working on a project to redefine methods in which individuals, friends, families members communicate and respond in critical and emergency times like disasters.
Arduino will providing hardware for the mesh network project that Ewerdima will use to avoid single points of failure when disaster happen such as telecom/cable outages which have been a previous hindrance to communication during emergencies.
This mesh network will run on the EWERDIMA Unit which is an Arduino powered wireless electronic device that uses solar power and automatically creates a disaster mesh network enhancing communication between various users during natural disasters, when communications systems don’t work anymore, as it often happens during and after earthquakes, flooding, avalanches, tsunamis and the like.
I managed to talk to Daniel Nanghaka the project leader about the support from Arduino and his happiness about how the hardware would help the Ewerdima team build prototypes that will have buttons that are connected to robust GSM and GPRS networks along with their own mesh network that reports back to the Ewerdima dashboard. Daniel was not hesitant to share that the startup had already started building the prototype but still need additional funding.
The EWERDIMA dashboard will be used to monitor different units and notifications sent during emergencies which improves communication during emergencies. Currently, Ewerdima released and android app which is in public beta testing that enables users send emergency alerts to their contacts which you can download from the Google Play Store.
It is nice to a Ugandan startup get support to solve a real global problem such as communication during disasters and emergencies which has been a big problem to the entire planet.