ITU Telecom World 2015 Young Innovators Competition announces two winners of its Conflict Challenge
Date: Fri, 07/17/2015 - 12:05
Winners highlight innovative ICTs to keep people safe in conflict zones
ITU has announced the two winners of the second ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Competition challenge, the Conflict Challenge. They will take part in ITU Telecom World 2015, taking place 12-15 October in Budapest, Hungary.
The two winners, selected from 121 applications from 56 countries for their demonstrated innovation, business potential and a clear social value proposition in tackling the Challenge, are:
• Glorypearl Dy from the Philippines. Her entry, Switotwins is a creative collaborative space that aims to provide a venue for young people to showcase their creativity as artists and aspiring artists. It aims to initiate a set of activities for children to learn more about issues of peace and conflict and express their feelings about the issues through digital media, using their own voice through digital storytelling. Many young people still choose to engage in constructive initiatives that promote mediation, intercultural communication, conflict transformation and peace work projects.
• Terrina Govender from South Africa. Her entry, Data = Life is a software platform that allows users in conflict regions to use SMS and IVR to communicate critical information to both international aid organizations as well as the private sector. This information could include location data, food supply shortages, medical supplies etc. The ability to accurately assess the needs and requirements in a conflict zone is invaluable and would assist in reconciling supply and demand of commodities.
“Armed conflict has a devastating impact on society in the short, medium and long term, resulting in immense human suffering from loss of life and property and destruction of infrastructure,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “ICTs can make many positive contributions in conflict situations to help mitigate the damage, such as restoring communications or improving efficacy of healthcare and emergency responses.” He added that he was delighted to see how entrepreneurs, such as these competition winners, are harnessing the potential of ICTs to help make lives safer in these very difficult circumstances.
Asked about the origins of her project, Glorypearl said, “I was led to believe at school and through media that war could be the solution to threats to the nation. But that changed when my family moved to Mindanao in southern Philippines and I listened to the survivors of conflict. Children in these communities are talented individuals who deserve a future without fear and anxiety. Their voices can be heard far and wide through digital storytelling, giving young survivors the confidence to engage in constructive conflict resolution initiatives.”
“I believe in the power of technology to create social change. We are in a time in the world when we have technology proliferating to all parts of the world and social classes,” said Terrina, “This kind of access opens up opportunities to help create more effective and targeted aid programmes. Providing precise and current information to those who are looking to help in times of disaster and conflict will hopefully save many lives.”
The two winners will receive seed funding, as well as networking, showcasing and pitching opportunities with potential investors at ITU Telecom World 2015, the global platform to accelerate ICT innovations for social and economic development. It is where policy makers and regulators meet industry experts, investors, SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators to exhibit solutions, share knowledge and speed change.
The Young Innovators Competition is an integral part of ITU Telecom World events and seeks gifted young entrepreneurs with ideas for innovative social enterprises, in response to a series of development challenges.
Above, image credited to the ITU