Urban Innovation Challenge: Five teams awarded

Five teams won awards in four categories for innovating effective solutions for a number of urban problems such as healthcare, housing and renewable energy at the grand finale of Urban Innovation Challenge.

Winners are Nirvana and City Bird in renewable energy category, Jotno Healthcare in healthcare category, Onushongo in low-cost housing and Drinkwell in water sanitation and hygiene categories. Responsive Urbanist received honourable mention from WASH category.

BRAC launched the Urban Innovation Challenge consecutively for the second time this year, which was themed on ‘Our cities. Our solutions.’ The grand finale of the competition was organised at the BRAC Centre today on Tuesday (27 November 2018). Additional secretary of the environment and climate ministry Dr Atiqur Rahman was present as the chief guest at the event.

Also present at the event were eminent environment scientist Dr Ainun Nishat, BRAC’s senior director for strategy communications and empowerment and jury board member of the competition Asif Saleh, advisor to the Startup Project of the information and communication technology ministry Tina Zabeen, coordinator for the youth programme of Prothom Alo Munir Hasan, director of EMK Center in Dhaka Naveed Akbar, chief executive of Green Delta Life Insurance Farzana Chowdhury, programme head of BRAC Urban Development Programme Hasina Mushrofa and representatives from a number of non-governmental organisations.

With the objective of engaging the young people to find innovative, low-cost and effective solutions for urban problems BRAC organises this competition. This year the competition began on 24 July to receive 300 ideas at the first stage. A total of 13 ideas were selected to compete at the final stage. Although ideas were invited in five categories namely, housing, healthcare, WASH, renewable energy and climate change, no submission was made for climate change.

The winning teams will receive grants of up to Tk 5 lakh each. In addition, BRAC will assist them to work on their innovations and make it ready for practical implementation.

Dr Atiqur Rahman appreciated BRAC for its initiative to engage young people in innovative work, saying that such competitions, while bring youths opportunities to sharpen their ideas and develop their merit, help find practical solutions to many social issues.

Dr Ainun Nishat observed that there is no alternative to find innovations to ensure social progress. He also urged to find ways to effectively market rural products in the urban consumers.

Asif Saleh said BRAC puts high importance on building fruitful partnership for successful implementation of SDG. He also said, understanding a problem inside out is the most important part of any innovation exercise. For that it requires a team to be adequately dynamic and develop an efficient business plan as well, he added.

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