ndian Startup Equinoct Emerges as UNICEF's Climate Tech Venture Fund Winner

Indian Startup Equinoct Emerges as UNICEF’s Climate Tech Venture Fund Winner

Remarkable feat of Equinoct

Kochi-based startup Equinoct has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the sole Indian startup to secure the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Climate Tech Cohort Venture Fund Project. This distinction highlights the startup’s commitment to leveraging frontier technology to address climate change and, more importantly, to prioritize the well-being of children in a world that is increasingly impacted by climate change. Equinoct’s outstanding work in climate resilience within the Periyar and Chalakudy River basins has earned them this prestigious recognition.

UNICEF’s Climate Tech Cohort Venture Fund aims to invest in seven startups across seven different countries. The primary goal is to harness advanced technology to combat the challenges posed by climate change. UNICEF’s vision is to prepare, protect, and prioritize children’s interests in a rapidly changing world due to climate-related factors. This initiative acknowledges the long-term consequences climate change may have on future generations.

Equinoct’s Recognized Initiative

Equinoct’s “Community-sourced Impact-based Flood Forecast and Early Warning System” is at the heart of their UNICEF recognition. This innovative system is a product of three years of dedicated work in local bodies in the Periyar and Chalakudy river basins. The system caught the eye of UNICEF due to its potential to make a real difference in disaster risk reduction through climate resilience.

Equinoct’s project revolves around developing an impact-based flood forecast and early warning system in collaboration with the local community. The initial implementation will focus on the two river basins, serving as a pilot project for disaster risk reduction and climate resilience. UNICEF’s funding support for the first year will facilitate this venture. However, continued assistance beyond the initial phase will depend on the project’s performance and the innovative solutions it produces. The partnership will also offer mentorship from global experts.

According to C.G. Madhusoodhanan, CEO of Equinoct, climate resilience extends far beyond traditional flood forecasting and early warning systems. Their project takes the concept to the next level by incorporating community-sourced information to combat climate change-induced disasters. A key aspect of their approach is to empower children, who are often the most vulnerable victims of disasters. By nurturing a scientific temper among children, Equinoct aims to turn them into active participants in the fight against climate change.

Equinoct has worked closely with like-minded organizations, including the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Community Resource Centre Puthenvelikkara, ASAR, and Resilient Destinations Foundation. Together, they have been addressing the challenges brought about by climate change, particularly in combating tidal flooding. Their approach is built on community participation in the coastal panchayats of Ezhikkara, Kumbalangi, and Puthenvelikkara.

With UNICEF’s support, Equinoct aims to automate various existing initiatives such as rain gauges, river gauges, and groundwater monitoring stations. This automation will incorporate cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Importantly, UNICEF emphasizes that while Equinoct can adopt a revenue-generating model, its solutions must remain open source, ensuring accessibility and affordability for all stakeholders. Retaining manual operation for specific solutions will safeguard against technology disruptions during disasters and help maintain vital community participation.

Equinoct’s active involvement in community-driven tidal flood-mitigation programs, such as distributing tidal flood mapping calendars to households in multiple local bodies, exemplifies their dedication to creating a more resilient and sustainable future.

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