December 19, 2008
Fifteen Finalists Announced in Mobile Applications Challenge
Deploying solar-powered refrigerators to store perishable medicines. Using cell phones to build a sexual harassment database. And—for the millions around the world with mobile phones but no internet access—building a call center to field voice or text-message questions and provide on-demand online research over the phone.
These are three of 15 ideas named yesterday as finalists for a $10,000 first prize in the Development 2.0 Challenge, an open call for ideas using technology and mobile applications to advance the cause of international development.
The Challenge was organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which received more than 6,000 online votes from around the world for 115 proposals.
In addition to the $10,000 first prize, two runner-up prizes of $5,000 will be awarded. Winners, chosen by a jury of eight development and technology specialists, will be announced January 8 at an awards ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
The Development 2.0 Challenge is coordinated by USAID's Global Development Commons team, which includes DAI staff under the Global Development Alliance project.
NetSquared, an initiative of TechSoup Global and a primary partner in the Challenge, seeks to generate positive social change by issuing challenges through the web. USAID and NetSquared aim to help all of the finalists gain support to move their ideas forward.
“When a challenge is public and open source, it helps to surface all of the solutions, not just the winner,” says Marnie Webb, co-CEO of TechSoup Global.
Budding entrepreneurs submitted ideas to address social and economic challenges in areas such as healthcare, agriculture, water, governance, and regional stability. Interest in some of the projects has already been expressed by USAID missions and bureaus. Challenge organizers will help connect interested parties as appropriate.