Google-backed APAC Sustainability Seed Fund grants $3M to Indian firms solving water woes


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Sayan Sen ( )

Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust and Villgro Innovation Foundation will receive $3 million from Google-supported APAC Sustainability Seed Fund to explore new use cases for AI, ML (machine learning) and IoT (Internet of Things) to address threats of high water scarcity and excessive flooding across India.

Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust will use its share of funds to develop AI-enabled models to map the landscape around Amalner, Maharashtra to predict floods. Meanwhile, Villgro Innovation Foundation will support its partnership with CultYvate to develop mobile- and browser-based applications for farmers to better manage efficient irrigation management and water conservation.

“MHT aims to develop an AI-enabled model for flood resilience of smaller cities in India that centres on low-income women’s needs. This will serve as an archetype for over 310 fast urbanising small towns in India” said Bharati Bhonsale, Program Manager, Gujarat MHT in a statement.

“It will support India’s commitment to SDG targets on sustainable cities and communities, reducing the disaster economic loss in relation to global GDP by 2030,” Bhonsale added.

Villgro also plans to aggregate outcomes from its work on water conservation and resulting carbon aversion, so farmers can access carbon markets and find alternative sources of revenue.

The Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN)—the world’s largest social investor network in Asia-Pacific—has selected 13 local sustainability organisations across the region to receive grants from the APAC Sustainability Seed Fund. The fund is supported by the philanthropic arm of Google and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The fund aims to enable local organisations to develop innovative technology-based solutions for sustainable practices and combating the effects of climate change across Asia-Pacific, such as heat waves, rising sea levels or loss of biodiversity.

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