COVID-19 is a pandemic that has just exposed the weakest points in every country, including Singapore. Beyond its immediate impact on health outcomes and, tragically, human lives – the coronavirus outbreak is also very likely to have long-lasting economic and social impacts stemming from the direct and indirect effects of illness. Reduced trade and economic activity have left some of the most vulnerable social groups without jobs, incomes while faced with rising costs of everyday essentials as well as medical supplies. Schools have been shut and services have been suspended.
While the first few months have been focused on managing the spread of the disease at the cost of the economy and society – it is now time focus be quickly returned to mitigating negative impacts on the most vulnerable in the short and medium-terms. Without immediate intervention to curb this shock, the social costs of this outbreak would be drastic and irreversible.
To support the community in co-creating impactful and lasting solutions in these troubled times, IMDA, The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre, Golden Energy and Resources, GlobalSign.In and ABM Media are coming together to bring you the COVID-19 & Beyond – Innovation For Social Good challenge.
We hope that this effort sets the pace for social-minded groups to come forward with their innovative ideas to address some of the biggest social challenges and issues of the post-COVID-19 pandemic.
How might we leverage digital solutions to create a food rescue orrepurpose ecosystem, made up of the food industry, charities, and supporting industry to minimise food wastage in Singapore?
Food wastage is a wicked problem in Singapore. In 2018, Singapore generated more than 763,000 tonnes of food waste – a 34% increase from 568,000 tonnes in 2008. In the face of a more challenging economic environment in the immediate post-COVID-19 recovery period and urgent food security concerns, it is even more pressing to provide a channel for excess food supply among businesses to be redistributed to people, such as low-income families, who need them.
Noticeable businesses, charities, and ground-up movements that are seizing new opportunities to solve our food waste problems have proliferated in recent years. However, ground-up organizations and charities often operate in silos and rely on the abilities of individuals to self-organize the sourcing, collection, and distribution of food. One such organization is Food Rescue Singapore, which is operated by volunteers who would exchange information such as leftover cooked food from eateries and events with catered food on the Telegram chat app, in the hope that someone in the vicinity could collect the food and put it to good use.
The food resource management ecosystem often operates in a decentralized manner. Individual businesses are left to figure out partnerships with charity organizations to manage the redistribution process. On the side of the charity organizations, they are faced with a multitude of issues, ranging from the inconsistent volume of food they receive to commit to the people they serve; food safety issues, and the 'last-mile' logistics of getting the food to the people.
NVPC would like to seek innovative digital solutions that can become a marketplace platform tofacilitate a robust end-to-end rescue and re-distribution process of the excess edible quality food. Success could also mean the use of technology to repurpose excess food, leftovers, and raw materials.
Possible Use Cases
1. Bakery Y has unsold bread and pastries for the day and wishes to give it away, instead of throwing it away. They could log in to the system and connect with a charity to donate the bread and pastries to individuals/families in need.
2. Charity Z has linked up with Hotel X to collect near-expiring fresh produce to redistribute to individuals/families in need. They could utilize the platform to be matched to a partner logistics company who can fulfil last-mile delivery to pick up the fresh produce and make the deliveries for them.
What's in it for you?
• SG $15,000 of prize money for one winner of this challenge (see Award Model)
• Opportunity to work with the social community on tackling this issue
• Be associated with NVPC as a strategic partner that can help scale the winning solution for wider adoption and establish good relationships within the social enterprise ecosystem
About the Challenge Owner: NVPC
The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)is the steward of the City of Good vision for Singapore, where individuals, organizations, and leaders come together to give their best for others, enlivening the giving ecosystem within Singapore.