Editor’s note: This post was written by John Converse Townsend, content producer and digital media strategist at Ashoka, and originally featured on the Ashoka Changemakers blog.
The Changemakers online community voted for the digital technology solutions they thought deserved to be at the fingertips of girls and women worldwide during the past four weeks.
This community, made up of tech users like you, had a chance to pick its favorite innovations from a pool of 11 finalists in the “She Will Innovate: Technology Solutions Enriching the Lives Girls” competition, supported by Intel Corporation. These finalists emerged from a pool of nearly 300 entries from 56 countries, and then were selected by a review panel of industry experts.
“Ashoka knows that when women and girls have a chance to succeed, everybody wins,” said Ashoka President, Diana Wells. “The three winners in the ‘She Will Innovate’ competition are unlocking access to literacy, education, health information, and economic opportunity for girls and women worldwide, while helping to bridge the digital divide.”
Today, we’re proud to announce the three ideas you selected as winners—each will receive a cash prize of $10,000 from Intel to scale-up their solution.
Meet the Winners
Hesperian Health Guides, a nonprofit health information and health education source, created a mobile app called Safe Pregnancy and Birth that provides pregnant women and health workers with lifesaving health information that is medically accurate, easy to understand, and empowering.
To support hiring in the developing world, DUMA created an SMS-based job matching service that connects short-term laborers and potential customers in emerging markets. With the click of a button on a basic cell phone, DUMA’s unique software pairs employers with local job seekers to whom they are socially connected.
Aware that 796 million adults lack basic literacy skills, two-thirds of whom are women, Cell-ED created a mobile phone platform, using audio and SMS, to bring basic literacy to learners anytime, anywhere, and in any language.
Intel employees also selected a fourth winner, the start-up phase entrant iSaveAGirl. It’s an SMS-enabled web application, powered by the Facebook platform, that will encourage anonymous reporting and proactive intervnetion in cases of female foeticide in India—where sex determination persists despite an existing legal framework that stipulates equal rights.
And there’s more! We’re also pleased to announce that Intel is sponsoring four new Ashoka Fellows who are helping girls and women live healthier, smarter, and more meaningful lives through the use of technology.
Alexandra Bernadotte (USA) is creating a powerful feedback loop between K-12 schools and post-secondary institutions with Beyond 12, so that high schools can better match their priorities and teaching practices to the skills that students need to succeed in college and after graduation. Beyond 12 has tracked the post-secondary progress of nearly 12,500 students and worked with more than 90 partner schools and organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
James Whelton (Ireland) is building a citizen movement of young technology experts that have the necessary skills to keep up with the rapidly evolving field of technology. He has crafted a global network of free coding clubs with CoderDojo, which is built on action-based learning, collaboration, and open-source principles.
Daniela Silva (Brazil) is creating an initiative called Transparencia Hacker (Transparency Hacker) to spread government transparency and civic participation by gaining access to government data, and sharing this information in an accessible manner.
Tulin Akin (Turkey) is bringing together Turkish farmers and information technologies with Tarimsal Pazarlama. It gives farmers the up-to-date information, know-how, skills and professional development they need, while also creating opportunities for them to reach alternative markets by bypassing traditional intermediary structures.
These Fellows are not in the completion for the $10,000 investment that will go to the three winners of the She Will Innovate competition, but they will each receive strategic, three-year financial support through this partnership with Intel, and also will have access to the community of 3,000 Ashoka Fellows—the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. This combination of resources will allow these new Fellows to engage full-time in scaling-up their ideas at the most critical launch phase of their life’s work.
“Our goal was to shine a light on the innovative uses of technology that break down barriers to access, accelerate digital literacy, and promote economic resilience for girls and women around the world,” said Shelly Esque, vice president and global director of the Corporate Affairs Group, Intel Corporation. “We congratulate the winners with the hope that becoming a changemaker accelerates solutions to challenges impacting their communities and world.”