USAID Administrator and Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance Henrietta H. Fore named RapidSMS Child Malnutrition Surveillance the winner of the agency's first Development 2.0 Challenge. The project, which will receive a $10,000 grant, is a startup from six graduate students at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. Kirsten Bokenkamp represented the group at an awards ceremony held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., while three of her teammates were in Malawi building the project.
RapidSMS Child Malnutrition Surveillance enables health practitioners in Malawi to share children's nutritional information at the touch of a cell phone button, significantly supporting efforts to enhance children's health and vastly reducing the time necessary to detect famines.
Administrator Fore commended the two runners-up: Click Diagnostics and Ushahidi v.2. for their forward-looking approach. ClickDiagnostics offers a business model for patients in rural parts of developing countries to receive rapid diagnoses from trained professionals. Ushahidi provides up-to-the minute crisis information now available on the ground in Gaza, Kenya, and the Congo. All of these projects competed among a field of 115 projects submitted to an open sourced challenge space at www.netsquared.org/usaid. All the projects could be voted for online, with three finalists receiving enough votes to continue on to the final round of judging.
The Development 2.0 Challenge is the brainchild of USAID's Global Development Commons initiative. The challenge aims to cultivate innovation to achieve international development goals through the application of mobile devices -- the most practical technology for connecting and exchanging information among people in developing countries. The Global Development Commons encourages innovations that enable people to share knowledge and forge partnerships that create development opportunities.
The USAID Development 2.0 Challenge is powered by NetSquared, an initiative of TechSoup Global. It seeks to make positive social change through challenges by harnessing the power of the Web. USAID and NetSquared aim to help the designers of all of the eligible projects entered the competition gain support and move forward with their ideas.