At the Partos Innovation Festival in 2018, we celebrated innovation in the field of development cooperation. By honouring multiple Awards during the Festival, the Spindle promoted innovations that are focused on creating a fairer, more inclusive, sustainable world. This year, we will continue this celebration. But, firstly have a look at two of our winners that received a price in 2018. What happened to them after they took home the prize money? Did it boost their innovation and what is the current status of their projects?
Upinion: “It was a rollercoaster ride”
It was Upinion that took home the second price in the category ‘Best Idea for Development’. Upinion participated in the Spindle’s Summer Labs with their idea U-Matter. Their goal? To enable NGOs to provide more proficient aid by engaging directly with their end beneficiaries. It was an intense, inspirational (and hot!) summer in which Upinion worked very hard on this idea. Eventually for a good reason: together with Oxfam they could test their idea and won €2.500 seed money at the festival, but most of all it proofs that direct and timely engagement with affected populations contributes to more inclusive and effective aid support.
In the last couple of months Upinion has been really busy: “it was a rollercoaster ride” says Pinar Okur (participant of the Summer Labs). They are now a social enterprise on a mission: amplify people’s voice in crisis situations. By engaging with communities in crisis areas the same way they connect with their friends and families using apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Upinion enables NGOs to get a more comprehensive picture of the situation, allowing them to implement better tailored and people-centred interventions.
Thanks to the seed money, Upinion communicates through Facebook Messenger with more than 7.000 Syrian refugees in Turkey (goal is to expand to 80.000 refugees by the end of this year). By listening to them, needs (such as financial means and finding a suitable job) can be assessed. The information gathered is then analysed and shared with the different NGOs involved. Building such a massive community in only 6 weeks time has been a huge milestone for Upinion. Another milestone is the publication of the so-called ‘Live Reports’. Reports are being published online and updated continuously based on ongoing conversations with the communities in crisis situations. NGOs and other stakeholders can use these reports to involve the community better when making decisions. Consequently, interventions become more effective and people will receive better help.
A Water Kiosk at School: “We did open our first water – the direct beneficiaries are 902 students”
In the category ‘Best Innovation for Development’, the Spindle rewards the best innovative concepts in the field of international development. The International Transformation Foundation won the third price (€5.000) with their initiative ‘A Water Kiosk at School’.
Venuste Kubwimana, one of the project leaders, lets us know: “last month we did open our first water kiosk in Rwanda, largely, thanks to the Spindle Award. The direct beneficiaries are 902 students and 14 teachers at Rubugurizo primary school, located in Muhanga district, Southern province. Of course, other beneficiaries are thousands of people residing in communities around the school.”
In Kenya, it is estimated that only a third of the population has access to safe drinking water, close to home and for an affordable price. Therefore, every morning children have to wake up early and walk long distances in order to secure water for their families, before going to school. This causes absenteeism and results in school drop-outs. A Water Kiosk at School is a school-based and student-managed business selling clean tap water for community residents at an affordable price. It consists of financing a community school to set up an on-site water kiosk and providing them with sustainable products for the students to transport tap water from school to their homes.
As usual, during the opening of the kiosk, every student received a reusable water bottle that they can use to fetch (free) drinking water. From now on, they can get water at any time during school time. Also, it’s possible for students and community residents to purchase water for household usage and there are facilities to wash hands after using the toilet!