USAID Announces Winners of Tech Challenge Competition to Prevent and Document Atrocities

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 14, 2013
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its partner Humanity United announce the first-round winners of the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention – a technology competition enlisting problem solvers from around the world in support of the White House’s effort to design new tools to prevent mass atrocities.

Physicians for Human Rights, a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, MA., won a first place prize of $5,000 for a mobile phone app that allows physicians in developing countries to better document evidence of mass atrocities. Le-Marie Thompson, the founder of a product development company based in Bowie, Md., also won a first place prize for web-based software that allows product designers to ensure that a product’s electronic components are “conflict-free.”

Second place winning ideas include a platform to promote socially-conscious tourism submitted by Fiona Mati, a project manager at a solar energy company in Kenya. 

Applicants from 22 countries submitted 88 innovative technologies addressing two challenges: identify, spotlight and deter third-party enablers of atrocities; or support documentation of atrocities to hold perpetrators accountable. Seven innovations won first, second and third place prizes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. 

USAID and Humanity United are spotlighting the winners on their website http://www.thetechchallenge.org/winners.html.

The Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention is part of a broader effort by USAID to promote open source development, including the use of prizes to access untapped solutions and solvers for specific development problems.

“At the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last April, President Obama spoke about one of these challenges: preventing mass atrocities and genocide. Recognizing the power of NGOs, faith groups, and young people to help prevent mass atrocities, the President emphasized that achieving this goal didn’t start from the top: ‘It starts from the bottom up,’” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

"What's exciting about the Tech Challenge is the opportunity for individuals and groups around the world to provide innovative solutions to some of the world's most intractable problems. The chance to leverage the skills and experience of such a global audience is truly extraordinary," said Randy Newcomb, CEO of Humanity United.

A jury comprised of human rights and technology experts and U.S. government leaders reviewed the proposals and chose the winners. Following the awarding of prizes, Humanity United and USAID will work to pilot and scale the most promising innovations.

The Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention will host in the coming weeks an interactive Google+ Hangout to launch its next three sub-challenges. 

More information can be found at: http://www.thetechchallenge.org/

Press Contact:  Raphael Cook, racook@usaid.gov

Last updated: September 15, 2014

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