16 novembre 2016

2016 Geneva Challenge Winner announced

A team of Colombian students has won the 2016 Geneva Challenge, receiving their prize at the Graduate Institute on 15 November.

The Geneva Challenge, created thanks to the vision and generosity of Swiss Ambassador Jenö Staehelin and under the patronage of Kofi Annan, is an annual contest which encourages master students to bridge the gap between their studies and real development policy by developing devise innovative and practical proposals for effecting change.

The challenge for 2016 was to address urbanisation by proposing how lives can be improved in urban settings while underpinning social and economic development. From the 114 project entries submitted, three finalists were selected to present their projects at the Graduate Institute:

  • CityProgress: Web Portal for Active Data Sharing, Dissemination and Analysis for Disaster Risk Reduction: New York University and University of Pennsylvania city planning graduate students came together with MBA students from India’s Institute of Foreign Trade and Xaviers Institute of Management to propose a solution for disaster risk reduction.
  • MINGA – Collective Waste Management: A team from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and London School of Economics and Political Science proposed a solution for urban waste management, using Bogota as a case study.
  • The Micro Farm Network - Applying a Nexus Approach to Food Security in Kibera: Students from London School of Economics and Political Science tackled the issue of urban slums by proposing a nexus approach to alleviate the problems of childhood malnutrition and polluted water sources.

After an afternoon presentation of the projects in front of the jury and a lively debate, the first prize was awarded to the MINGA team. The CityProgress team came second and the Micro Farm network team third.

“We’re setting out to improve solid waste management systems through behavioural change and by enhancing and recognising the role of waste pickers”, said Abraham Hidalgo Mendoza from the MINGA team. “The project consists of an app connecting waste pickers to households and users, and intervention in public spaces to indicate where to place recyclable and non-recyclable waste. We’re hoping to change the world, street by street!”

The prizes were handed out by Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-Habitat, who gave a keynote speech on the challenges of sustainable urbanisation, and Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, president of the jury.

A video of the MINGA team is below, and a recording of the event is here.