UNFPA Global Innovation Awards: UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, has announced the ten winners of the ‘Joint Innovation Challenge’, a competition to present innovative solutions for the empowerment of women and girls around the world. Funding has been provided to these social enterprises in the form of rewards, to help them scale up winning solutions.
The competition was funded by the Equalizer Accelerator Fund, UNFPA, and implemented in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Trade Center.
Entrants are given a cash prize as an incentive, which will help them expand the solution from the testing phase to full production, for the potential welfare of millions of people around the world.
The winners of this challenge have also received additional funding from the governments of Luxembourg, Finland and Denmark. The UNFPA fund, launched in 2021, provides equity-free investment to women-led or co-led social enterprises that can prove their effectiveness.
key to progress
Commenting on the competition, Dr Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA, said that “creative thinking and innovative solutions are critical to accelerating progress for women and girls around the world.”
Under the Challenge of 2022, ten women’s organizations have been awarded globally from five different sectors.
Initially, the panel of experts received 300 submissions from 61 countries. After 20 finalists presented their innovative ideas to the panel, the final 10 winners received an equity-free investment of $60,000, and signed a nine-month contract with UNFPA.
With this funding, the winning organizations will be able to move beyond the pilot phase and start large-scale construction.
UNFPA and its partners will also provide these social enterprises with targeted mentorship, training opportunities, interactive workshops and unparalleled access to a global United Nations network.
The agency reported that all the winning solutions, though different in function, were similar in talent. From ‘portable diagnostic systems’ for pre-eclampsia to ‘board games’ to spread awareness about sexual and reproductive health and rights, all are examples of winning solutions.
The full list of winners globally are as follows:
1.Foundation Paniamore, Costa Rica
Foundation Paniamore has developed a digital toolkit for adolescent girls to help prevent and respond to online violence.
GerHub provides information and sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls in remote areas, through mobile clinics and telemedicine.
3.Global Pre-eclampsia Initiative, Uganda
A ‘Portable Diagnostic System,’ which helps pregnant women in early detection, timely treatment and effective management of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a life-threatening hypertensive disorder that accounts for 10 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in Africa.
4.Hillspring Diagnostics, Nigeria
A revolutionary way to detect ectopic pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which, if not diagnosed and treated in time, can result in the death of mother and child.
5.Impact Innovation Institute, Armenia
The SafeYou App is a unique digital solution that provides women and girls with protection tools from violence and safety tools for survivors of violence.
An ‘immersive augmented reality experience,’ that aims to prevent gender-based violence by offering users simulations based on real-life experiences of women.
7.Based in Colombia, Tirando x Colombia
An artificial intelligence-enhanced chatbot that provides quality sexual and reproductive health information and services to teenage girls, helping to end the cycle of poverty caused by pregnancy in adolescence.
An all-in-one family, health and wellness platform that gives young women and new mothers access to family planning, reproductive health information and services.
8.Urukundo Initiative, Rwanda
Urukundo Life Skills Board Game is the first licensed low-tech educational game ever developed in Rwanda to spread information about sexual and reproductive health and rights.
10.Women in Entrepreneurship and Technology (WETECH), Cameroon
A community hub and women’s innovation center that provides digital messaging tools for those at risk and survivors of gender-based violence to deliver their messages in a secure and confidential way.