Strengthening Global Climate Resilience: Announcing Atlas AI’s Partnership with GiveDirectly

The Present-Day Challenge of Supporting Climate Vulnerable Communities

Climate change is not a distant threat but a present-day crisis, disproportionately affecting the world's most vulnerable communities. From floods that wipe out homes to droughts that devastate crops, hundreds of millions face the impact of extreme weather events, agricultural disruptions, and escalating natural disasters, revealing a stark reality: the impacts of climate change are felt most acutely by those least equipped to adapt. Governments and humanitarian organizations often lack granular, up-to-date data to anticipate and identify which communities are most likely to be affected. Amid this backdrop, locating and supporting these communities becomes an ever-increasing challenge, requiring innovative approaches to identify and reach those in need.

Enter GiveDirectly, the largest organization delivering unconditional cash transfers to people living in poverty. Over the past decade, GiveDirectly has delivered $700M+ to nearly 1.48M people. In recent years, GiveDirectly has expanded its focus on climate resilience by creating a climate survival fund and sending cash to people affected by climate disasters such as floods. Like many other organizations, GiveDirectly faces the challenge of adapting its operations to better target communities vulnerable to climate change, particularly in low-income countries which lack the data and infrastructure to monitor and forecast which communities will be most affected.

A New Frontier in Targeted Humanitarian Assistance

The partnership between Atlas AI and GiveDirectly introduces a groundbreaking approach to enhance climate resilience among the world’s most vulnerable communities, and is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation. The collaboration leverages Atlas AI’s geospatial AI (GeoAI) platform, which serves as a unique early warning system (EWS) to systematically identify, analyze, and prioritize areas in need of support due to climate change. From detecting subtle changes in land use and infrastructure to assessing climate risk and socio-economic vulnerability, the platform’s core innovations offer a granular and multi-dimensional understanding of where and how climate change is likely to impact vulnerable populations.

GiveDirectly’s objectives in validating Atlas AI’s Geospatial AI (GeoAI) platform are ambitious yet critical: to apply the predictive power of AI to optimize the targeting of cash transfers to communities most vulnerable to climate change, and in turn strengthening their resilience.

“The challenges presented by climate change demand innovative solutions. Our work with Atlas AI is a testament to our commitment to finding better ways to support communities most affected - particularly by improving how we target our programs to account for future climate shocks” said Vera Lummis, Senior Manager of Digital Innovation at GiveDirectly.

Laying the Groundwork: First Steps and Future Horizons

Our collaboration is kicking off initially in two countries where the need to strengthen climate resilience is urgent. These initial country deployments are designed to refine the strategy and the operational playbook for configuring and deploying Atlas AI’s platform for targeting climate vulnerable communities. Once the platform is operational in these initial countries, Atlas AI’s platform is capable of scaling quickly to cover GiveDirectly’s global footprint.

"Our collaboration with GiveDirectly offers a practical illustration of how technology can amplify the targeting and impact of humanitarian aid,” said Vivek Sakhrani, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Atlas AI.  “With Atlas AI's geospatial AI platform, we're not just mapping community vulnerabilities; we're enabling experts such as GiveDirectly to build greater operational precision in how they respond to the complex challenges posed by climate change."

Both GiveDirectly and Atlas AI share the principles of openness and capacity building for the broader field.  Over the course of the next year, we plan to share our operational experience and associated learnings with the broader development community. This includes demonstrating the capabilities of our platform and engaging stakeholders to discuss integration into existing NGO processes for improved targeting. Further, our goal is to scale the platform across diverse regions, climate conditions, and types of vulnerability. By offering concrete examples and insights into our approach, we aim to support the development of effective climate resilience strategies that can be widely adopted.

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