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Google.org launches $20 million google impact challenge for disabilities

Deadline: September 30, 2015

Google.org invites nonprofits around the globe to submit ideas for its Google Impact Challenge with the potential to transform the lives of people with disabilities.

Award of $20 million will be provided to nonprofit organizations using emerging technologies to increase the independence of people living with disabilities.

People with technological innovation that will create meaningful and positive change for people with disabilities are welcome to submit proposals.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Non-profits and public charities from any country are eligible.
  • Applicant’s organization must hold valid and current charity status as determined by the legislation of the country of incorporation.
  • The following entities are not eligible to submit ideas: governmental entities and organizations, including, but not limited to, public schools and universities, for-profit organizations and individuals.
  • Universities are not eligible to apply for research
  • All ideas must be submitted in English.

Application procedure:

Ideas must be submitted via online portal and will be evaluated on a rolling basis. Ideas should be

  1. Transformative and address not only the change you seek for your organization, but also the change you want to see in the world.
  2. Apply technology in a way that is innovative and effective. Technology shouldn’t just make your existing work more efficient; it should create or enable entirely new solutions and approaches.
  3. Involve the development of cutting-edge technology.
  4. Be able to articulate a way in which it could ultimately reach a large number of people.

For further details, please visit the website here.

Peace Tech Exchange Mumbai: Tackling gender-based violence through technology

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a persistent problem in India, taking multiple forms in both public and private spaces –sexual harassment on the streets and in offices, emotional and sexual exploitation of wives and daughters at home, mistreatment of sex workers by the authorities and so on.

A study by the United Nations Population Fund and the International Center for Research on Women reported that in India, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual abuse.  60% of the men in the study admitted to committing some kind of emotional, economic, physical or sexual abuse against their partners. Furthermore, sexual harassment in public places is so common that most women accept it as part of their daily existence. To make this worse there are no specific laws in the Indian Penal Code directly related to street sexual harassment; the only provisionsare concerned with public obscenity or offending the modesty of women.An increase in cellphoneusage and the Internethaveprovided new channels that promote such behaviour.

At the same time, technology can be a critical component in the movement against gender-based violence.

To explore and realize the potential of technology in the fight against GBV, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in collaboration with the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai and Samhita Social Ventures organized the PeaceTech Exchange (PTX) Mumbai on the 6th and 7th of December 2014,which focused on Gender-based Violence.

PeaceTech Exchanges are workshops where technologists interact with civil society organizations to identify technological solutions for some of the most pressing development challenges.Participants are introduced to a broad array of tools to enhance their impact. It also fosters long-term partnerships between the organizations and the technologists.

The two-day event in Mumbai saw the participation of over 40 civil society representatives from over 35 organizations working to address gender-based violence across India.

14 technology experts trained participants in the use of the latest tech platforms to enable them to collect, represent and share data, raise awareness, mobilize supporters and raise funds, through tools such as IVR systems, text messages crowd-mapping software and social media.

Those present included:

  • Achintya Rai (Video Volunteers) –Using video to empower communities to tell their own stories
  • Aditi Gupta (Menstrupedia) – Using crowd-funding to raise money for projects
  • ArjunVenkatraman (Mojolab Foundation) –Developing low cost technology forNGO needs
  • ArpitaBhagat (Hollaback Mumbai) –Advocating for your cause through crowdsourcing
  • Deepta Naha – Training programs for NGOs to understand and use technology better
  • Elsa D’Silva (Safe City) and YogeshLondhe (Simple TechLife) –Mapping events online through citizen generated content
  • Keith Porcaro (Simlab) –Using SMS services for monitoring and collaboration with government and NGOs
  • MunafKapadia (Google) –Telling stories through digital channels
  • Ruben Mascarenhas (Zero Tolerance), Ashwin Mishra and Rachel Bali (Say No Accept No) – Using social media for campaigns
  • Sashwati Banerjee (Sesame Workshop India) –Community radio storytelling
  • TB Dinesh (Servelots) –Using open source tools to create contextualized stories for community outreach programs

The first day focused on familiarizing NGOs with the technologists, their work and technology tools and included a deep dive into various aspects of Gender Based Violence–domestic violence, caste bias, sexual harassment at work, assisting survivors of violence, engaging government in policy making etc.

The event started with ‘Speed Geeking’ – quick 5-minute interactions with technologists. Participants then chose to be part of breakout sessions that they found most relevant to their requirements.

At the end of day 1, the participants developed clear problem statements:

  • How can we make information on funding from corporate social responsibility programs easily available?
  • How do you make the police more accountable using crowd-sourced information?
  • How do we use technology to reduce the isolation and stigmatization of sex workers?
  • How can we increase the participation of girls on our football team by 25% in the next 6 months?
  • How can we curate, collect, visualize, and measure qualitative data about sex workers?
  • How do we identify and mobilize men who are not violent and want to support women’s rights?

On the second day of the event, the participants and technologists worked together to develop detailed strategies that would address the various problems.

To ensure that PTX Mumbai facilitated real change on the ground, the USIP announced that it would be offering small grants to organizations or groups that could come up with potentially impactful projects with implementation plans. The grants will be distributed after review by the PTX team and the US Consulate, Mumbai.

Sheldon Himelfarb, Director of USIP’s PeaceTech Initiative, said, “We are fortunate that today, we have unprecedented opportunities to use technology to bring about positive change. However, we believe that wider collaboration across disciplines and organizations is needed to tackle complex problems like gender-based violence.”

Priya Naik,  Founder and Joint Managing Director of Samhita Social Ventures added, “This event has not only initiated new discussions on the critical issue of gender-based violence but it has also encouraged the development of partnerships between local civil society organizations and technology experts.”

PTX Mumbai was an experience that encouraged collaboration and provided learning opportunities not only for the NGOs but also technologists and organizers. The NGOs were able to create meaningful projects and develop new ideas that used technology as a platform for connectivity, communication and impact. The technologists experienced first hand challenges faced by NGOs on the ground and realized the crucial role that they could play in bringing about change.PTX Mumbai was successful in bridging gaps between technology tools and end users in order to create actual impact rather than just theoretical possibilities of change.

Invitation for third International Conference on Creativity and Innovation at Grassroots

Dates: January 19-22, 2014

Increasing concern for sustainability has focused attention of academics, practitioners, corporate, social and public policy leaders towards extremely affordable frugal products and services.

The third ICCIG aims at pooling insights from research, policy and practices in education, technology, institutions, culture, conservation and governance. The conference welcomes the presentation in different formats including performances, exhibitions, posters and research papers.  Community representatives are specially invited to connect with each other and help the formal sector to understand and appreciate their knowledge systems.

The policy makers and corporate leaders will find conference as a unique platform for engaging with open innovation community promoting dialogue and partnership between formal and informal sector of science, technology, services and society.

Please submit your abstracts and proposals for special workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions and performances to [email protected].

Seminar on “Promoting your NGO using Social Media”

September 28, 2014

A problem that faces many NGOs is the promotion of their events, actions or the ability to have a web presence that attracts volunteers, participants or sponsors/donors.

Social-Media is a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologues (one way communication) into dialogues (two way communication) that democratizes information,  transforming people by shifting the way people read, collaborate and publish news and information. Social-Media technologies are reducing barriers and allowing people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal and social use. NGOs depend on their relationships with members, donors and stakeholders for financial support, goodwill and advocacy matters.

The seminar focuses on:

  • Powerful ideas on  how NGOs should be using social media (YouTube, Twitter,  Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs) to advance your missions;
  • How NGOs can attract supporters (participants, new members, volunteers, donors, sponsors) via the social-networks, web and social-media resulting in real-world actions.
  • Keeping stakeholders updated on current developments within the NGO and how it fits into the larger development context.
  • Best practices on social media management.
  • Several examples of how NGOs and international nonprofits are successfully using social media for programs and campaigns.

For registration process, contact [email protected]

TechCamp Bengaluru – Empowering social sector leaders with the technological resources to make impactful change

Over 50 leaders from the social sector and over 30 technology experts, journalists and university students from across the state of Karnataka came together for TechCamp Bengaluru on February 28, 2014. The event, organized by the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai and Samhita Social Ventures, sought to empower them with new and emerging technology resources to help them solve real world challenges and build digital capacity.

The keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Aravind Sitaraman, the President of Inclusive Growth at Cisco, who is a key proponent of using technology to address the many challenges that society faces. He stressed that technology will help developing nations leapfrog developed countries. However, the real challenge of the day was reaching out to remote areas and ensuring lasting impact in those areas. Speaking on the effective use of technology to maximize impact, he said, ‘Building a technological solution isn’t enough. It is necessary to build an ecosystem around it. To reach the masses, technology must be made keeping in mind computer literacy and local languages.’

The session that followed was a panel discussion on ‘Using Technology Effectively’. The panel was moderated by Ms. Archana Sahay of Cisco and consisted of Mr. Shridhar Venkat, Executive Director at the Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mr. Mahantesh GK, Founder and Managing Trustee of the Samarthanam Foundation, Mr. Gunjan Patel, CSR head at SAP Labs India and Mr. Manickavelu M, Program Director at Mindtree Foundation.

The delegates were then broken up into 4 groups and proceeded to separate sessions with trainers who have expertise in both technology and nonprofits. The themes of the breakout sessions were as follows:

  • Effective Branding & Fundraising conducted by Shrinath V, who has worked with companies such as Nokia and Motorola and is now a product consultant
  • Networking & Data Gathering conducted by Nisha Thompson of DataMeet
  • Crowdsourcing platforms conducted by Sajjad Anwar, a hacktivist and programmer
  • Aggregating & Optimizing Data by Praveen Selvasekaran, founder of SimpleTechLife

The breakout sessions sought to enable participants to engage with technology experts in order to collaborate and find solutions to problems they are trying to address.

The highlight of the day was the address by Ms. Jennifer McIntyre, the Consul General of the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, who also emphasized on the effective use of digital tools to address social challenges, especially spearheaded by students and youth leaders.

About the TechCamp movement

TechCamp Bengaluru 2014 is the latest in a series of such technology training camps being conducted across the world as part of former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative. Past camps were conducted in Mumbai as well as in countries like Israel and Kazakhstan. The effort aims to galvanize the technology community across the globe to assist NGOs by providing capabilities, resources and assistance to enable them to harness the latest Information and Communication Technology advances to build their digital capacity.

TechCamps bring together technologists and CSOs in a particular country or region to brainstorm on challenges they currently face in their communities. These groups work together to develop real time solutions to address these challenges. After a TechCamp event is over and problems have been identified, CSOs are connected to global networks of technologists, sponsors and digital volunteers interested in helping implement solutions.

Samhita’s role in TechCamp Bengaluru

Samhita was a key organizer of TechCamp Mumbai 2013 along with the U.S. Consulate General, Mumbai. Furthering their link with TechCamp, Samhita joined in as the implementation partner of TechCamp Bengaluru. Samhita had the responsibility of identifying NGOs, conceptualizing the event, identifying technological solutions for various challenges that social organizations face, as well as overall outreach and managing the event.