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Lessons from Global Innovation Week


“Making All Voices Count is working towards a world in which Open Government is the norm, not the exception” - MAVC Programme Director Marjan Besuijen.

Global Innovation Week concluded April 5 in Nairobi. There 10 finalists in the Making All Voices Count Global Innovation Challenge spent the week at the Ushahidi ihub in the Silicon Savannah, sharing ideas, insight and preparing their final pitches for a GBP 65,000 grand prize.

@Verdade graphic director Nuno Teixeira and I were among those finalists, with our joint project for Citizen Desk. While we didn’t win the grand prize, we did earn a wealth of experience and insight.  

Sourcefabric and @Verdade are working on Citizen Desk, a digitial tool that will help citizen journalists cover and monitor general elections in Mozambique this autumn. Because it’s open source, Citizen Desk 2.0 will be available for anyone anywhere to install.

Global Innovation Week gave us a new perspective on our work. With the help of some outstanding mentors, we finalists discussed and shaped our project ideas for one final three-minute pitch to the Global Innovations Challenge jury.

Thanks to our mentors and feedback from other finalists, development professionals and the jury, we are going to seek more partners in more countries and find ways that Citizen Desk can serve the needs of vulnerable groups.

Technology is only 10% of innovation, our mentor Hapee de Groot told us; the rest is other aspects of life. Citizen Desk must be able to adapt to multiple environments. One simple but important way we can improve Citizen Desk is to make it more accessible to people who are blind or have other disabilities.

See all 10 finalists in the Global Innovation Challenge

We’re thrilled to congratulate the winners of the competition’s top three prizes: The Bahawalpur Service Delivery Unit, government driven mobile communication system with local communities in Pakistan, received the highest award of GBP 65,000. A digital rewards system for positive civic behaviour from South Africa and a maternity medical care information system in Indonesia each won prizes of GBP 35,000. Each of the other finalists received an award of GBP 5000 for their projects.

We want to thank everyone at Making All Voices Count and all our fellow finalists — all of whom gave us the great gift of their insight. We are proud to have spent the week with such generous people and helpful ideas.

@Verdade graphic director Nuno Teixeira and Sourcefabric's Veronika Divišová. Photo MAVC.