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UNOSSC-ITU Digital Innovation Challenge Now Open For Applications

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) have jointly launched the Digital Innovation Challenge, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Challenge will identify scalable innovative digital solutions that will enable countries, societies, communities, institutions and individuals from the Global South to deal with the cascading effects of the pandemic – across governance, economic and social sectors, and wellbeing – and contribute to the organizations’ respective focus on South-South cooperation and digital technologies.

South-South and triangular cooperation, through facilitating knowledge exchange, interaction and establishment of networks, building capacity and deploying working solutions and innovations on a broader level, will help us tackle challenges brought upon by the current pandemic.

Governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, private sector and start-ups, research institutions, academia and civil society organizations (CSOs) with a digital solution that addresses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are invited to apply for the Challenge.

The Challenge is supported by the Global South-South Development Center Project (GSSDC) which is jointly initiated by UNOSSC and China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE), with funding support from the Government of China to the UN Fund for South-South Cooperation.

The Objective of the Challenge

The Challenge seeks to promote South-South cooperation by replicating or scaling up existing Southern innovations with a potential partner/ country in the South. It seeks to identify, recognize and support digital innovation solutions in the Global South and harness its potential to accelerate digital transformation in the developing world.

The Challenge will provide a mentorship scheme to increase the potential/ capabilities of the selected proposals/ teams to scaling up innovations across developing countries.

Topics covered by the Challenge

Innovation topics covered by this Challenge include:

  • Enabling governments and communities to suppress the transmission of the virus
  • Mitigating the socio-economic impact and safeguarding people and their livelihoods
  • Recover Better: covering areas of preparedness measures, skills development and digital literacy solutions, e-governance solutions and renewable energy for health care solutions

Eligibility Criteria

Only legally registered organizations/institutions from developing countries are eligible to participate in this Challenge. The Challenge is open to governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, private sector and start-ups, research institutions, academia and civil society organizations (CSOs).

Applying organizations/institutions must have an existing project or minimum viable product (MVP) that:

  1. promotes South-South cooperation by replicating or scaling up existing innovations with a potential partner/country in the South,
  2. demonstrates a new innovative project/prototype, outlining its potential for scaling up through South-South cooperation, and
  3. is a digital solution

Next Steps

Learn more about the Challenge, assess your eligibility to participate, understand the selection process, and how you can win up to $25,000 dollars, access mentoring support, participate in a Bootcamp for winners and much more!  DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 15 JULY 2021.

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