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Global tech awards awaiting ICT entries for basic needs solutions

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The Empowering People Award – a global innovation award for basic needs solutions – has opened for entries and includes an information and communication category.

The Empowering People Award – a global innovation award for basic needs solutions – has opened for entries and includes an information and communication category.

The competition is looking for innovative technical solutions to tackle global challenges in basic needs, and inventors and developer teams can submit their low-tech innovations in one of eight categories.

Previous entries into the ICT category include:

SMSGYAN, from India, is an offline research platform that bridges the digital divides to give users access to dictionaries, encyclopedias, job searches, health information and stock markets via SMS.

Mobile Voice Banking, used in the Philippines, is a low-cost, voice-based mobile solution that lets banks offer services to customers on the most basic of mobile phones.

MiEMs: MED, used in Zanzibar, is an internet database of hospital equipment inventory used to monitor functionality and manage hospital supply chains.

The BioLite Home Stove, a now well-known biomass cooker used in India, Ghana and Uganda,

FlashCast – a digital transit communication platform from Kenya that displays information on large public transit vehicles that firstly informs passengers, but also lets them interact with the information via SMS.

The first prize winner will be awarded R680 000; the second prize is valued at R400,000; and third prize at R275,000. In addition, 20 runners-up will be awarded a sum of R65,000 each.

The closing date for the award is November 30, 2015 at 12:00 am SAST.

Other categories are:
– Water & Waste Water
– Energy
– Food & Agriculture
– Waste Management
– Healthcare
– Sheltering
– Education

A Community Prize will also be awarded and judged by the highly engaged global online empowering people community. The winning entry here will receive hardware to the value of R40 000.

Project entries will be assessed by an interdisciplinary and international jury with the winners receiving cash prizes and an expert evaluation of their entries.

Alongside the awarding of prize money, the solutions will be showcased and promoted in a Solutions Database and the inventors and entrepreneurs behind the innovations will become part of a broader endeavour: the “empowering people. Network”.

This community, created and facilitated by Siemens Stiftung, consists of developers and social entrepreneurs from around the globe. Members of the Network benefit from training sessions on relevant topics for their businesses as well as expert support for their organisational or technical developments. Regular online and offline meetings enable the creation of synergy and cooperation between inventors and players of the ecosystem who span the globe.

Rolf Huber, Managing Director, Siemens Stiftung said: “The goal of the contest is ultimately to empower people in developing regions to have access to basic services for their daily needs. We want to locate creative solutions and we are eager to work with innovative teams to bring their solutions to the lives of those who need them most.”

For more information, go to

Staff Writer

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