Aidex Voices

With the adoption of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals just around the corner, public-private partnerships are being touted as a key element to their future success.

The strength of such kinds of collaboration was demonstrated following the earthquake which struck Nepal earlier this year, when organisations from every sector rallied together to respond to the disaster.

The Nepalese army was one of the actors, playing a crucial role in relief efforts with 90,000 troops sent to damaged areas in the days and weeks following the earthquake. We also played an essential role in enabling the success of this deployment by allowing our technologies to be of assistance on the ground.

In January 2015, four months before the earthquake, our American System Integrator, NVIS Communications, had been awarded a contract by the US Army Corps to provide 120 radio systems to the Nepalese army. This equipment was gifted by the US State Department to the country of Nepal, to be used by the Nepalese army during disaster response and recovery.

We had no idea how important this order would be.

The day the radio systems were due to be shipped from our factory in Perth, Australia, the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit, causing widespread damage and injuring thousands of people. We accelerated delivery of the systems in a bid to get the equipment to the Nepalese army as soon as possible. We also brought forward the 10-day training programme which army personnel would need to undergo in order to use the equipment immediately.

Getting the radios and personnel into Nepal in the midst of the disaster required a huge amount of co-ordination and co-operation between U.S, Australian and Nepalese authorities, as well as a whole host of individuals on the ground. But it paid off: fifteen days after the earthquake, Nepalese army personnel were trained, equipped and deployed with their HF and VHF radio systems, to assist in disaster relief efforts.

Collaborating across the private and public sectors opened up important new channels for us. Without it, the radios could not have reached Nepal at such a critical time. Following this experience, it’s clear that these kinds of “global partnerships” really will be crucial to humanitarian and development work in the future.