Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 28 March 2020 – The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity (the Global Prosperity Initiative), an initiative of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS), announced today that it has received over 3,400 solutions for the second edition (Cohort 2) of the ‘Global Maker Challenge’, an increase of more than 200% from last year.
Cohort 2 of the Global Maker Challenge was launched at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries that was held in Abu Dhabi in November of last year. During the submission period, the Global Prosperity Initiative received submissions from 148 countries, with 18% of total solutions coming from across 33 Least Developed Countries that include Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bangladesh.
Overall interest in the Global Maker Challenge has risen substantially since its inaugural edition in 2018, seen by an increase of over 1,000% in the total number of platform registrations with more than 28,000 profiles created. For Cohort 2, the Global Prosperity Initiative renewed its partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SOLVE initiative (MIT SOLVE) - a pioneer in social impact innovation -to assess the entries, in collaboration with a judging panel comprised of 47 globally renowned innovation experts from UN agencies and organisations, major industry and digital innovation companies, NGOs, and academia.
Badr Al-Olama, Head of the Organising Committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) said: “We are pleasantly overwhelmed to see the number of profile registrations and submitted solutions that were received in response to our call for action under the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity. Very few initiatives have ever made such a transformative impact for our world, and the results of Cohort 2 demonstrate the cohesiveness and shared destiny that we all strive for as human beings when faced with global challenges.
“The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to combine innovation with global good in order to improve lives and drive global prosperity.”
Each of the four Global Maker Challenges for Cohort 2 are aimed at tackling a major global issue such as peace and justice, climate change, sustainable food, and inclusive trade. The challenges were open to innovators from all around the world, including entrepreneurs, start-ups, and SMEs that were able to design scalable and cost-effective solutions that could create a significant socio-economic impact.
With 1,387 entries for the Sustainable and Healthy Food for All challenge, 1,123 entries for the Climate Change challenge, 657 entries for the Innovation for Inclusive Trade challenge, and 311 entries for the Innovation for Peace and Justice challenge, MIT SOLVE will review and shortlist the top 100 solutions. The dedicated panel of high-profile judges will further evaluate and identify the top 12 solutions that have the potential of making the biggest socio-economic impact and contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Members of the judging panel include Marguerite Nyhan, Lecturer of Environmental Engineering at the National University of Ireland - University College Cork; Marcia DeLonge, Research Director and Senior Scientist for the Food and Environment Programme; William Asiko, Managing Director for Africa Region Office at the Rockefeller Foundation; Peter Williams, President of International Institute of Rural Reconstruction; Lina Sergie Attar, Founder and CEO at Karam Foundation; Tenzin Seldon, Co-Founder and CEO at Kinstep; and Sanjay Sridhar, Regional Director - South and West Asia at the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Global Prosperity Initiative will virtually connect judges, partners, finalists, and the wider community of social impact enthusiasts in a series of digital sessions and pitches to assess the most innovative solution for each of the four Global Maker Challenges.
In its inaugural edition in 2018, the Global Prosperity Initiative launched a Global Maker Challenge on Sustainable Cities which aimed to identify technology-driven solutions that could help reduce the spread of infectious diseases and prevent pandemics. A foresight that was shared by very few philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, this Global Maker Challenge attracted over 200 innovative solutions, some of which can be leveraged to tackle the spread of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Al-Olama added: “A pandemic, such as the one we are facing today, reminds us of the importance to deploy innovation to help those that need it the most, and reinforces the mission that we set upon ourselves to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges through the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity. This mission requires us to change course and pivot towards a new era of 'digital restoration' – where innovation driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution can restore many parts of our daily lives and help us overcome unprecedented challenges.“
As governments all around the world ask their citizens to stay home, businesses in every sector are being impacted. This is already creating a seismic crack in the global economy that will require drastic intervention, through technology, to prevent millions from being adversely affected. Already, the Global Maker Challenge has received solutions from Makers that can help tackle, manage and mitigate the effects of the coronavirus shutdown. For example, GARV is an affordable, solar-powered mobile smart sanitation booth that integrates sensors to capture data on the functionality of the toilet and track the spread of potential viruses, whilst Folia Filter is an antimicrobial water filter paper that kills bacteria and viruses, and blocks parasites at a price of only 1 US cent per litre. In addition, Ada is a healthcare app developed for doctors by doctors that uses AI technology to diagnose illnesses and share results with a patient’s healthcare professional, whilst E25Bio is a low cost and real-time diagnostic device to test for multiple mosquito-borne diseases simultaneously.
Matthew Minor, Director of International Programs with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s SOLVE initiative (MIT SOLVE) said; “Last year, Cohort 1 of the Global Maker Challenge included innovations from across the globe that showed creativity, empathy, and ingenuity. The solutions we have received for Cohort 2 seem even more promising. It is exciting to see SOLVE’s partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity ignite the imagination of so many people who are focused on solving the world’s greatest challenges.”
Global Maker Challenge resorts to solutions that could potentially reduce the impact the of COVID-19 crisis
In 2018, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity launched a Global Maker Challenge on Sustainable Cities that sought solutions to reduce the impact from any outbreak and minimise the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. The Global Prosperity Initiative received over 200 entries from innovators across the world that provided advanced detection and surveillance of communicable diseases; created capacity in emergency management, readiness and treatment of those impacted; and offered improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure in urban environments. Entries were received from more than 83 countries including the United States, Spain, Nigeria, Egypt, Jordan, and the UAE, amongst others.
Today, more than half of the world’s inhabitants live in urban areas, and this is expected to grow to an estimated 70% by 2050. Dense urban environments present potential risks and challenges in terms of emerging infectious diseases.
As Al-Olama stated: “The density of inhabitants and the close contact between people in urban areas make cities a hot spot for rapidly spreading infectious diseases such as the coronavirus, allowing it to rapidly develop into a worldwide pandemic. The coronavirus has changed our lives – making it more important than ever before to protect the world’s most vulnerable communities. The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity champions the concept of digital restoration by rebuilding our economies through digital means, and supporting and nurturing innovators that are capable of making a significant socio-economic impact.”
Staying true to its promise of driving innovation to overcome the world’s most pressing challenges, The Global Maker Challenge on Sustainable Cities received solutions that could help tackle, manage, and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the more innovative solutions were:
Note to Editors:
The Global Maker Challenges for Cohort 2 are:
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About the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity:
A gift from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, to the world – The Mohammed bin Rashid (MBR) Initiative for Global Prosperity is an ambitious and impactful worldwide extension of the UAE’s own transformational vision, built on four core values: resilience, community, harmony, and dignity. It combines the MBR Global Maker Challenge – an online open-innovation platform for ‘makers’ and innovators to solve specific real-world challenges, and the MBR Global Prosperity Award – a prestigious global accolade that recognizes and rewards social innovation brought by manufacturing for the betterment of humanity. The initiative brings together companies, startups and entrepreneurs, governments and NGOs to create an ecosystem designed to enable new businesses to be built, new jobs to be created, and new solutions to be unlocked in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
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