Mobile for Development Contests Gaining Traction

M4D Contest WinnersIn a follow-up to the 2012 Students with Solutions mobile application contest aimed to involve Thai university students in the development sector, USAID recently highlighted contestants from the Mobile Solutions for Development contest at USAID regional headquarters in Bangkok. As opposed to the previous contest that emphasized Thai university engagement, this years contest was broadened to include regional and non-academic submissions. Entries from throughout SE Asia presented mobile solutions for issues related to climate change, food security, health, governance or biodiversity. Of the six finalists Open Institute of Cambodia was selected as the Mobile Solutions contest winner for their innovative use of interaction voice response (IVR). In cooperation with all mobile operators in Cambodia the IVR platform ultimately enhances mobile communication accessibility throughout the country and provides information on health, governance and human rights. Open Institute program director Javier Sola announced that award funds will be used to develop an IVR system that helps minority populations in Cambodia access and understand legal rights of land ownership according to Cambodian Land Law.

In an effort to increase the use of mobile technologies with the intention of improving development outcomes USAID is sponsoring several contests to engage the mobile technology community. The next competition, Development Innovation Ventures will highlight solutions to development challenges that are both efficient and cost-effective. The first phase of the upcoming competition will involve submitting a letter of interest by April 15, 2014. Additional information can be found at

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