Rahat: Tokenized aid distribution platform to support vulnerable communities

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‘Rahat’ means relief in Nepali language and is developed by eSatya(Rumsan), a blockchain company focused on social impact. Our team is focused on building financial resilience and inclusion in supporting the ‘last mile’ of relief distribution. Rahat platform is an open source, blockchain-based, digital aid distribution management system. Our  main goal is to support vulnerable communities by making the humanitarian aid distribution process simple, efficient and transparent. 

IMPACT

Nepal is highly susceptible to natural hazards such as floods, landslides, and earthquakes. This situation is intensified with a significant unbanked population living in extreme poverty. When disaster strikes, delivering aid quickly to the affected is vital. But we learned that distributing aid at times could take up to three months in Nepal. Moreover, high overhead costs as well as reports on corruption and fraud in aid distribution are prevalent. 

 

Rahat is inspired by the idea of bringing in quick relief with minimum overhead costs to counter the plight of countries like Nepal. Rahat hopes to address funding leakages in aid distribution, involve local communities to build financial resilience and make sure that people wouldn’t have to wait in lines or wait for weeks for a bag of rice.

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY 

Rahat uses mobile-based blockchain tokens to manage and monitor the flow of transactions. Blockchain network provides unparalleled security for fund distribution and also helps maintain end to end transparency and real-time visibility into the flow of funds. Rahat platform includes an online dashboard, a digital wallet, a vendor app and a QR code/SMS based token redemption process for beneficiaries. 

Rahat’s online dashboard supports aid agencies to onboard local partners/vendors and to assign relief fund tokens to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries receive their tokens and a secure code through SMS. They can then redeem their tokens for cash or goods from participating local vendors. Vendors transfer the digital tokens back to the aid agencies or participating financial institutions through their Rahat vendor app and redeem their tokens for local currency. Digital tokens are burned to avoid double-spending. The blockchain explorer provides an auditable data trail that allows real-time tracking of transactions and eases administrative burden of reconciliation. Thus, Rahat enables decentralized distribution through the blockchain technology making the entire process of aid distribution more secure, transparent and efficient. This in turn will reduce administrative, transaction and audit costs for aid agencies

 

ON BEING OPEN SOURCE

As an open source solution, we believe Rahat will unlock doors to collaborate digital development and ultimately increase impact in distributing aid globally. We aim to enable innovation by co-creating Rahat with the community. This in turn will exponentially increase the potential of a system that is focused on delivering social impact. 



 

 

Rahat makes it possible to effectively include unbanked populations for aid distribution. With digital tokens, beneficiaries can determine how much money they want to spend to the vendor without needing to reveal payment account information. Direct transfer between parties helps reduce time to deliver aid, auditability risk and privacy risks.

 

TEAM & DIVERSITY 

Led by women, we are a team of enthusiastic and dynamic professionals with diverse academic and professional backgrounds working across several sectors such as AI, Blockchain R&D, banking and commerce, engineering, education, communication, health care, and humanitarian aid. Our founders come with extensive experience of working in frontier technology, health care, communication and community management. One of our co-founders, Ms. Rumee Singh was recently listed as one of 10 women who are changing the face of technology in Nepal. With our diverse personal and professional backgrounds, our team strives to create a common ground to implement technology for social impact. 

 

WAY AHEAD

Our Rahat pilot projects have been very promising. We ran a few pilot projects last year and have been able to impact the lives of 150+ families affected by Covid-19. With UNICEF’s investment, we look at scaling and refining our prototype into a much more robust platform; launching a managed solution to onboard local partners and aid agencies; and building Rahat as an open-source solution. 

 

We are extremely thrilled and excited to be part of the Unicef Innovation Fund’s larger cohort of startups working on bridging learning and digital connectivity gaps for young people. We look forward to collaborating with like-minded innovators who believe in the power of blockchain technology for social impact. We can collectively work to make open financial tools and ecosystems which are accessible widely through open-source blockchain solutions.

You can find this version of the blog on the UNICEF Innovation Fund website.