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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pakistani innovation project wins top prize at global contest

A government driven innovation in Pakistan has won the top prize at Making All Voices Count’s Global Innovation Competition.
The Bahawalpur Service Delivery Unit (BSDU) emerged as the winner of competition, led by Imran Baloch, the District Coordination Officer (DCO) of Punjab’s Bahawalpur district, and Asim Fayaz.
Pakistani Innovation project aims to improve service delivery in under-resourced, conflict areas with lack of data-driven performance management systems.
“Our initiative, by enabling monitors to report through smart phones and by simply ringing parents, saw teacher AND student attendance increase from 78 per cent to 92 per cent,” explained Baloch at the Global Innovation Gala where the ten selected finalists made their final pitch.
The Pakistani innovation project emerged as the winner among a total of 196 entries submitted from across the world. Following an online voting system, 31 semi-finalists were drawn from the top 27 voted ideas along with 4 wildcards.
A £65,000 (pounds) grant was awarded to the winning team.
“Technology was an enabler in this process; not the end result. We want to use this £65,000 grant to extend our initiative into health, livestock, & agriculture,” added Baloch.
Dr. Sheila Ochugboju, the chair of the jury, explained, “this performance management system[BSDU] has three components: its results based, focuses on inclusion and uses tested technology. In addition, this is a model that can be replicated outside of Pakistan.”
The jury comprised of experts in information systems and governance, together with other peers, shortlisted 10 finalists drawn from eight countries: Kenya, Indonesia, South Africa, Pakistan, Ghana, Bangladesh, Tanzania and Mozambique.
The two runner-ups, a team from South Africa and another from Indonesia, each received a £35,000 grant plus expert mentorship over a six-month period.
The Global Innovation Competition recognises and rewards creative and cutting-edge innovations that enhance government transparency and accountability.
It is part of Making All Voices Count, which is backed by the Department for International Development (DFID), US Agency for International Development (USAID), Omidyar Network (ON) and other funders.
Courtesy: DAWN