The Geneva Challenge 2017: Semi-Finalists invited to Geneva

ViaEm - an innovative, holistic, and gender-sensitive response to employment challenges faced by femal excombatants


The Team


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Sara Angeleska is a second year master student in International Law at The Graduate Institute, Geneva. She is originally from The Republic of Macedonia where she took her Bachelor Degree in Law. Before moving to Geneva, she worked as a judicial clerk and as a legal assistant in a private law firm in her country. During her work, Sara gained an in-depth knowledge and experience in criminal and civil matters, especially in labour issues in Macedonia. Currently, her academic focus is on international trade (WTO) law and the intersection between trade and other branches of international law, such as human rights, health, food and development.

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Mariana Botero is a Colombian-born Canadian currently pursuing a joint Master of Public Policy and Business Administration at the University of Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University with a focus on Finance and Strategy in the Social Context. Prior to arriving in Chicago she spent 3 years in Thailand, promoting and enabling Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’ social business model. Her professional experience includes capacity development, curriculum design, program management, and youth engagement throughout various organizations that foster enterprise-led development in North America and Southeast Asia. She is passionate about social business and the policies that can be developed to help further this domain. Currently, she is pursuing a research fellowship in Brazil on the conservation of the Amazon biome.

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Sara Botero was born in Colombia and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 9. From a very early age, she has been interested in pursuing a career in social justice and international affairs. Currently, she is interning at the International Labour Office in Geneva working on issues related to labour migration. Sara is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Law at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. Her areas of focus relate to international human rights law, humanitarian international law and international criminal law. Before starting her Master’s Degree, Sara worked for a center in Bangkok, investigating the ways in which social business models are enhancing refugee livelihood in refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. She also has experience working for the Canadian federal government in immigration and refugee related issues.


Amari Richardson is finishing her master’s degree in International Law, at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She is passionate and dedication to human rights law and advocacy for women and marginalized persons. She is also a licensed attorney in New York, NY, and has worked for equal employment opportunity and against discrimination in the workplace in Philadelphia and New York City.


Maura Welch is a second year student in The University of Chicago’s joint Master of Public Policy and Master of Business Administration programs. She is currently interning with REDF, a venture philanthropy fund focused on investing in social enterprises creating job opportunities for people facing employment barriers. Prior to starting her MPP/MBA, Maura worked as a management consultant in Deloitte Consulting’s Federal Practice. In this role, she consulted for federal agencies and non-profits with missions ranging from counterterrorism to ending childhood hunger. During the summer after her first year in the MPP/MBA program, Maura participated in the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office Fellowship where she worked on projects related to public safety and budget analysis. Maura is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she majored in International Culture and Politics.


The project

Historically, the exclusion of women from DDR programmes in post-conflict situations has been widespread. The lack of a gender-sensitive approach can have detrimental effects on society and economy due to the particular and severe difficulties female combatants face with reintegration, including (1) heightened social stigma as compared to their male counterparts, (2) lack of knowledge about how to enter the workforce, (3) lack of certification of transferrable skills, and (4) scarce resources to engage in entrepreneurship.

ViaEm is an online platform with a three-pronged, comprehensive approach, where curated information on available resources will allow female ex-combatants to avail themselves of the optimal combination of services to best facilitate their economic reintegration. The three-pronged approach of Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Community may be used in any post-conflict situation, but is responsive to the particular needs and exigencies of women.

The platform will be incubated in Colombia, during which the extent and the terms of these collaborations will be determined. The platform can also be customised for other post-conflict situations where women are leaving the war and seeking economic reintegration, stability and well-being, as well as reintegration situations outside of war zones, such as women leaving gangs or female inmates coming out of prison. [more]


Find Your North


The Team



Runit Jhanwar is a first year MBA student at the Yale School of Management. He graduated from IIT Kanpur and has worked in consulting and education technology. Runit started his career working with Deloitte serving public sector clients in the US. He transitioned to TechnoServe where he designed and led local economic development strategies for state governments, philanthropies and international development organizations. He spent two years launching Khan Academy's products and operations in India. Runit is also a 2012 StartingBloc Fellow and also a delegate for the Entrepreneurship panel of the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations. At Yale, Runit is a Graduate Advisor at the Office of Career Strategy where he mentors and advises Yale undergraduates. He is also a Career Advisor at the Yale School of Management.


Gorick Ng is an MBA student at Harvard Business School and an entrepreneur who is helping Millennials more successfully transition from school to the workplace. Prior to his MBA, Gorick worked in corporate innovation at BCG Digital Ventures and as a management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. Gorick is a non-profit Board member of Youth Science Canada and the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, and serves as a career advisor at Harvard College, where he also obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Government. At present, he is an Entrepreneur with the MassChallenge incubator in Greater Boston.


Rishabh Parakh is an MBA candidate at the NYU Stern School of Business. He graduated from BITS Pilani where he studied both engineering and economics, and led the recruitment drive on campus. He started his career as a Product Manager with Dell and worked across the Pricing and Product Analytics and Financial Services divisions. Rishabh has worked as a consultant with Intellecap Advisory in financial inclusion and impact investment and as a Senior Program Manager at Yes Bank on their FinTech Accelerator & Partnerships. Rishabh has interned with National Stock Exchange of India and Stock Holding Corporation of India, and passed CFA Level 2. He has also participated in conferences at Harvard, SP Jain and Sankalp Global Summit.


Rohan Parakh is a student at Harvard Kennedy School pursuing an MPA in International Development. He graduated from IIT Kanpur, where he oversaw campus placements and launched citywide operations for Avanti. Previously, he worked as a consultant for TechnoServe and led projects for clients such as the Gates Foundation, World Bank and USAID. He has also spearheaded impact evaluation projects at MIT’s Poverty Action Lab for development economists at MIT and UChicago. At Harvard, he interned with an agri-tech startup founded by Harvard Faculty and with UN in Johannesburg. Rohan is a Joint Japan World Bank Scholar and a Social Enterprise Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership.


The project


Problem: Navigating careers is a lone struggle for millions of youth

Our solution: Foster a community of workers and employers who recognise the collective benefits of sharing knowledge, insights and opportunities in order to democratise knowledge.

Our project: We are building a peer-to-peer marketplace where people will be rewarded micropayments for any “meaningful contribution and value add” to somebody’s career. One can contribute by providing career micro-services such as CV review, cover letters, mock HR interviews, mock case interviews, career conversations and helping with technical doubts.

Salient features for users: Quick, on-demand, reliable, personalised and affordable. Also, a chatbox as personal concierge.

Modes: 1:1 calls, 1:1 messaging, automated responses, and labour market data. [more]


e-Samiti - Empowering workers in under-regulated uberized markets using e-unions


The Team



Hemin Chheda holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Telecommunication from the University of Mumbai and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Management studies at the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies in Mumbai. Following a two-year research in computational modelling in Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT Bombay, he spent another year teaching and developing Python and Scilab modules. Hemin is a co-founder of a social venture that worked towards imparting sustainability education and improving university-industry linkages in India, and has developed several projects for social cause. His interest areas include entrepreneurship, sustainability, politics and world economics.


Janec Kohlschütter is a graduate student at Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, pursuing a Master in Public Policy.  Prior to that he studied Philosophy and Economics in Bayreuth, Paris and Seoul and co-founded a spin-off of a tech-startup, enabling stakeholder integration in public decision making. Currently, he is taking a leave of absence to work as an Operation Specialist in the Public Sector Consulting Department at PwC Germany.


Adil Mirza holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur. Currently, he is pursuing his masters in Industrial Management from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai. He has worked with private and government organizations on sewage and irrigation projects.


Darina Mohamad is currently employed as an Associate in the law firm NautaDutilh in the investment funds department while also studying as a Visiting Student at the Columbia Law School. She holds a LL.M Diploma in General European Law from the Luxembourg University, Master degree in Law from University of Warsaw and the Diploma in English and European Law. Previously she did internships in major law firms and banks in Luxembourg and Poland with the focus on European banking and financial law. In 2015, she published an article on banking capital requirements in the International Law magazine. Darina speaks Polish, English, French, German and a bit of Arabic.


George Shaikouski obtained Master degree from ETH Zurich in 2017 and Bachelor from Warsaw University of Technology in 2014. He is focused on data science and deep learning, and working on their application in the energy and EV industries. In 2015-2016, George worked at Daimler Business Innovation, a think-tank which evaluates future trends and creates new business models for Daimler AG. In ETH Zurich, he was involved in research on Li-ion batteries and predictive control. Despite his engineering background, George is passionate about economics, social science and philosophy.


The project

In 2009, the start-up called Uber launched in San Francisco. The company claims to be just a transportation operator simply providing an interface between customers and drivers. Nevertheless, the treatment of the drivers caused their strikes, lawsuits and providing us with “horror stories” about earning below the minimum wage while working as a driver or a courier. Therefore, we need a totally new way of thinking about the legal status of these workers. This is why we propose to create an international e-union – an NGO which will provide organized help and support to the on-demand workers and make the first step towards recognizing the special place they do, and will, hold in our economies.

At a minimum, the e-union will be a website/app – an information source and a place for discussion among “uber-workers”. A live-updated profile of on-demand companies in the region with information on their real pay, real work conditions and other labour-related topics is the most important feature, linking the information on the account to the membership in the e-union. The website provides people scattered across vast areas “a community place”, just like a classic union does locally. These features are used to attract uber-workers to the platform and sign-up for membership to unlock more information or benefits. The e-union uses the website to attract people which it cannot reach otherwise, enlist them as members, learn about their conditions, and provide them services through this channel.

The e-union has a potential to succeed where governments failed so far because it will employ the same strategies and methods that the on-demand companies use to expand so rapidly around the globe. After maturity, it will provide an interface for governments to interact with the on-demand workforce centrally, design new policies based on actual facts gathered from data, and finally, open this part of the economy to become visible to public and private sectors. [more]