Aidex Voices

How do you want to impact the aid and development sector?

Securaxis sets out to improve the security of humanitarian aid workers who are working in hostile or volatile areas. We know that in order to carry out their mission of helping affected people, better security information is imperative. We strongly believe that new technologies including data science in particular, can positively impact the aid and development sector.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the humanitarian aid and development community at the moment?

AidEx spoke to Securaxis partner Gaetan Vannay all about his new company that sets out to help those working in the humanitarian field to take less unnecessary risks.

Tell us about your role and what your company does?

Securaxis has developed a digital ecosystem dedicated to providing people who are travelling and working in hostile or volatile environments with geo-localised, mapped and operational security information in real time. Its bottom up and top down approach facilitates security information sharing, with a set of features designed to improve the security management of people in at-risk contexts.

Sexuraxis is a new start-up with a team of two co-founders with software developers and technical freelancers coming on board to help when needed. I specialise in risk analysis while my business partner brings his expertise form the aid sector to help guide our mission.

How did you get involved in this sector?

As a war reporter, I reported from Libya, Syria, Ukraine, the Ivory Coast and Georgia about the main conflicts currently happening. I got into trouble in many of these places for my work. I was arrested, interrogated, detained by unknown people and beaten up. I believe that if I was better informed about these areas, I could have avoided dangerous situations.

After trying to contact services from a company providing security information to ask for support, when they told me it was my responsibility to provide the information, I realised there was a gap in the market for a tool like Securaxis.

What is Securaxis’ mission?

My experience as a war reporter and manager of field journalists led me to address the lack of appropriate tools specifically designed to share security information, which could simultaneously manage the security of staff. Having worked as an IT specialist for a leading humanitarian organisation, my business partner also came to the same conclusion. After being introduced to each other by a mutual friend, we decided to launch Securaxis in order to provide these operational tools that would fulfil the needs of people doing fieldwork and their security managers.

What NGOs do you work with and how?

Today we work mainly with governmental organisations in the development sector, and with international organisations. We have partnered with Handicap International to develop the next generation risk assessment tools with the help of artificial intelligence. We are currently developing an innovative algorithm that will accelerate the process of pushing operational security information directly to the field workers.

Humanitarian workers – like journalists – are increasingly becoming a target for armed groups.

This year’s AidEx theme is Aid and Development Effectiveness: Results Through Transparency and Accountability. Tell us why you think transparency and accountability is important to the sector?

The aid and development sector is not profitable. Organisations must therefore find funding through donations from various origins (state, private, foundations). These organisations must be transparent and accountable so that donors can see how their money is spent.   

In sectors like this, impact measurement is more difficult than let’s say in the private sector. This means it is harder to demonstrate the outcomes of spending, and in turn all the more important.