SDG Digital GameChangers Award: Meet the Winners
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations and adopted by countries worldwide in 2015 are far from being achieved. Accelerating progress on the 17 Goals and 169 associated targets will depend on rapid digital uptake combined with continuous technological innovation.
As government and business leaders from around the world gathered for the United Nations General Assembly, a new UN-led partnership honoured digital innovators dedicated to SDG success.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), backed by other partners and supporters, presented the SDG Digital GameChangers Award in five categories: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Pioneer.
The award ceremony took place on 16 September in at UN Headquarters in New York as part of the UN’s dedicated SDG Action Weekend.
The SDG Digital GameChangers Award honours individuals and organizations working on digital solutions to accelerate progress on the global goals.
GameChanger for People: Tech Herfrica
The winner in the People category, Tech Herfrica, is a social impact organization that is enabling wealth creation and breaking the cycle of poverty for women and girls in rural African communities.
“As the use of technology becomes imperative for the achievement of the SDGs, we must remain sensitive to the unique needs of the rural population, especially women and girls,” said Tech Herfrica founder Imade Bibowei-Osuobeni.
GameChanger for Planet: MOSAIKS
The winner in the Planet category, MOSAIKS, provides a generalizable and accessible approach to machine learning based on Earth-orbiting satellite imagery, aiming to support informed policies on climate and sustainability.
“Combining satellite imagery with machine learning has the potential to help solve the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to poverty eradication,” said one of the researchers behind it, Esther Rolf, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard Data Science Initiative and Center for Research on Computation and Society. “We built MOSAIKS to make this powerful technology fast, easy, and accessible to all.”
GameChanger for Prosperity: ekShop
Bangladesh’s first-ever e-commerce aggregator empowers online shoppers and reduces rural urban gaps.
“ekShop’s equitable e-commerce model empowers small and medium-sized businesses, refugees, and those facing digital disparities particularly in the least-developed countries, making a significant impact as a proven digital public good in mitigating the digital divide,” explained Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor for the Aspire to Innovate (a2i) initiative in the Bangladesh Government
GameChanger for Peace: Mobility Mojo
Another winner, Mobility Mojo, empowers organizations globally to create more accessible and inclusive environments for everyone.
“Accessibility is key to unlocking the full potential of every person, said Mobility Mojo CEO Stephen Cluskey. “We are hugely honoured to be recognized as GameChangers in making this happen.”
GameChanger Pioneer: Humans in the Loop
The special Pioneer category honours innovations by young people, 18-24 years of age. One such enterprise, Humans in the Loop, provides training data and human input for the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning operations lifecycle, while maintaining high social and environmental awareness.
“Each one of us has a role to play to ensure that we reach the SDGs by 2030,” said Humans in the Loop founder Iva Gumnishka. “No matter who you are or how old you are, you can contribute.”
Submissions for awards closed on 21 July with over 450 solutions received, representing governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, and young people, as well academia and the technical community.
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