We believe that innovation is a powerful local development force, capable of generating ideas that transform the life of the communities. This is the reason why we decide to launch “ICT for Social Good” – a grant for creative and groundbreaking ideas, using digital technology for positive social change.
by Viviana Brun
Are ICT – Information and Communication Technologies – something only for the Silicon Valley? Not at all. According to the World Bank Organisation, we are currently in the midst of the greatest information and communications revolution in human history. Nowadays, more than 40 percent of the world’s population has access to the Internet, with new users coming online every day. And even if some areas and social groups are still left out, the poorest households are more likely to have access to mobile phones than to toilets or clean water.
From the native mapping activities in the Amazonia to protect the forest, to the obstetricians who monitor patients far away through SMS, to the farmers of Sahel who take care of their animals thanks to a mobile application, till the e-commerce by radio and drones to bring medicines in remote areas. Many are the creative ideas – born or adopted from local communities in low-income countries – that make use of the digital technology to solve social problems.
That’s where the Grant ICT for Social Good, organised by Ong 2.0 with the strategic and financial support of Fondazione Cariplo and Compagnia di San Paolo in collaboration with Fondazione Mission Bambini within the framework of “Innovazione per lo Sviluppo”, comes from. ICT for Social Good wants to know, value and sustain those many projects, realities and innovative ideas created with a bottom-up approach. Often, these ideas are not fully recognised and they face difficulties in being involved in international development projects.
In order to apply for the Grant, developing a new technology is not necessary. Proving the use of an existing technology – in one of the geographical areas as specified in the guidelines (here you can download it) – for social aims is what we are looking for.
Food security, water and sanitation, health, education, human rights and citizen activism are the central themes of the Grant. Any initiative regarding these sectors promoted by any local entities (association, cooperative, NGO, small and medium enterprises) with the support of ICTs will be more than welcome. All the projects, including those that won’t reach the final selection, will be presented on the website of Ong 2.0 and spread on national and international media in order to increase the awareness of the creativity and commitment of local innovators.
The winning project – selected by an international committee – will receive a 12.000€ grant. Fondazione Mission Bambini will offer a special grant named “ICT 4 Children” equals to 10.000€. The grant will be assigned to the project more aligned with the Foundation’s mission and focused on children. Moreover, the winners will be invited to Italy for the final event of the program “Innovazione per lo Sviluppo”, where they will get the chance to get in touch with entrepreneurial entities and Italian research centres that can be interested in sustaining or further developing the winning ideas.
The projects can be presented in Italian, English, French and Spanish. The application deadline is the 30th of April 2017.