Anyone who has been following Integrity Action over the last few weeks may have gathered that we were quite excited that our online based technology tool DevelopmentCheck.orgwas nominated for the prestigious Tech4Good awards (see our video here).
The Tech4Good awards ‘recognise organisations and individuals who use digital technology to improve the lives of others’. Although primarily focused on UK based charities, Tech4Good has expanded their remit with their newly introduced Tech4Good Africa category which captures international NGOs. This allowed Integrity Action to showcase our work with DevelopmentCheck.org in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). One example of our work shown on DevelopmentCheck.org was the monitoring of water treatment services, implemented by Oxfam in the DRC where they built 29 water treatment points for local residents to clean their drinking water. To ensure that the project was implemented correctly and continues to serve the community, monitors trained by our partner FOCHI use DevelopmentCheck to monitor the water treatment points in 2013 and have continued to monitor them since.
Previous winners of other categories include a start-up which works in assigning postal addresses in the areas in the most need of aid, in order to ensure safe and accurate delivery of vital resources (what3words), as well as an organisation which enables sex workers in an area to alert each other of a particular threat to their safety (SafetyNets). Being recognised amongst such outstanding tech tools that have such a direct impact on people’s lives was an honour, as well as a real acknowledgement of the power that improving social accountability with DevelopmentCheck.org has towards Tech4Good’s mission in ‘making the world a better place.’
After our initial application all the way back in March, we learnt we had been one of five shortlisted from thirty-five applicants in June. The public announcement at the end of the month allowed us to initiate our campaign to get people to vote for us in the Tech4Good People’s Choice Award; a category which every finalist across all awards is entered into. Thank you to all our partners and monitors who contributed their time in speaking about their experiences with DevelopmentCheck for our video. The video was a lot of fun to make and it helped anyone we reached to understand our approach a lot better!
There was a lot of interest in our DevelopmentCheck stand at the award ceremony in July, with myself, Jasmina (CEO), Dimitri (Technology Manager) and Annalisa (Head of Operations) proudly wearing our Integrity Action T-shirts (see the photo!).
A selfie of the team at the Tech4Good awards (credit: Dimitri Katz)
At the event there was an atmosphere of support and appreciation as everyone knew that each organisation’s work was using technology to fulfil the needs of those in need, and that each tech solution deserved recognition. The winners of the categories before ours included Sky Badger in the Connected Society award (and later the winner of the People’s choice award); an amazing organisation, started up by the parent of a disabled child that works to connect families with disabled children together, in order to provide support and answer questions that are difficult to answer by expertise alone. Another stand out was FabFarm who won the Digital Skills award. FabFarm is an incredible initiative that provides employment opportunities for students with special needs by training them with skills in Digital Fabrication & Design, enabling them to set up aquatic farms and sell the produce to local restaurants.
Being surrounded by such inspiring ideas and people made for an electric atmosphere, and of course we were nervous to find out who had won our category. Despite such an amazing response to our work, and such an exciting year for Integrity Action, unfortunately we did not win our category. Praekelt.org was the judge’s choice for their tool ‘MomConnect’. MomConnect’ connects over one million pregnant women and new mothers to vital services and information through the National Department of Health’s programme.
Being a finalist in these awards was a real testament to the amazing work of our partners and monitors who are using DevelopmentCheck on the ground, and are the ones truly making a difference in their communities. We were proud to be at the Tech4Good event showcasing DevelopmentCheck, and we have no doubt in our mind that with its recent upgrades it will have the opportunity to become award-winning in the future.