How have you done?

Welcome to the winners page!

Judging is now over, and we’re delighted to be able to announce
the winners of the inaugural nGOmobile competition. With over
seventy entries from all corners of the globe, judging was a real
challenge with the standard of entries incredibly high

You can access the official Press Release here and listen to the
winners announcement on the BBC World Service here (MP3, 6Mb)

According to the Judges: “the sheer inventiveness of the
submissions made judging the competition a real pleasure. We
think we’ve chosen winners who combine creativity with the
ability to deliver, and look forward to seeing how they progress”

The four winning projects are profiled below, in the winners’ own words. Enjoy finding out what they propose doing with their prizes, and remember to bookmark this site and await news on a brand new competition in the coming months…

Entry name: Participatory rapid response forest management systemOrganisation: Centre for Training and Integrated Research for ASAL DevelopmentProject Manager:Francis KamauCountry: KenyaProject summary: CETRAD is working with local communities to promote the protection and sustainable use of environmental resources. They plan to implement messaging services to help with reporting, field communications and to provide an early warning system to help combat poaching and illegal logging

Francis Kamau is a 28 year old Kenyan citizen holding a Bachelor of Arts in Geography degree with GIS and Remote Sensing majors. He has undertaken advanced training in GIS analysis at the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) in Redlands, California, USA.

He has 5 years experience in conservation, especially on GIS applications and database management. Currently he is a GIS Officer in Darwin Initiative-funded Laikipia Elephant Project (LEP) that is implemented jointly by the University of Cambridge Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL’s Development (CETRAD) and other partners. Previously he served as GIS expert in the European Commission-funded Transboundary Environmental Project implemented by Terra Nuova East Africa in Kenya and Somalia, where he gained extensive experience in conservation.

He has published a paper titled “Population size, abundance and distribution of the critically endangered Hirola antelope, Beatragus Hunteri, in NE Kenya” which was presented at the 27th ESRI Conference and the 10th Society for Conservation GIS Conference in Sandiego and Monterey, California, in June 2007. He was involved in writing five other papers with a team of researchers on distribution and densities of different wild ungulates in NE Kenya and Southern Somalia, which are currently awaiting publication in the peer reviewed journals.

Francis is also actively involved in environmental activism through membership of the Society of Conservation GIS. In recognition of his conservation work, he received a software grant comprising of GIS software, ArcGIS 9.2, courtesy of ESRI’s Conservation Program in January 2008. The addition of the nGOmobile prize will significantly compliment his conservation initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable use of Kenya’s natural heritage, fostering effective community participation in its management and the implementation of efficient monitoring and reporting mechanisms.

LEP aims to build local capacities to alleviate Human Elephant Conflicts (HEC) in Laikipia District in Northern Kenya (this photograph shows smallholder farmers constructing an improvised elephant deterrent fence from sisal, chillies and used engine oil, aimed at keeping crop-raiding elephants off of their farms). The district forms a unique and complex mosaic of land tenure system comprising of smallholder farms and large wildlife tolerant ranches and holds the second largest elephant population outside protected areas in Kenya (over 5000 individuals). The free ranging elephants and other wild ungulates, together with the wanton human destruction of forests for farming, has caused unprecedented HEC as the elephants seek alternative pastures in farmlands.

Our text messaging project is aimed at improving the mechanisms of protecting and restoring degraded forests that are important refuges for elephants, and critical water catchments. Evidently, winning this prize will significantly contribute to forest conservation, reduced conflicts, assist in the restoration of water catchments and improve rural livelihoods through multiplier effects. The equipment will facilitate a participatory approach to management of resources by the local communities, as their moral owners, while enhancing local capacities and interests. This will improve self-actualization of local people and improve relationships between local institutions and communities through sharing of synergies and available capacities for the common good. It will also establish an early warning system to control forest destruction.

Entry name: Ask NETWAS a water, sanitation and hygiene question and get an answer
Organisation: Network for Water and Sanitation
Project Manager: 
Cate Nimanya
UgandaProject summary: NETWAS plans to launch an SMS-based service for rural communities allowing them to ask a range of water-based questions on topics such as sanitation, hygiene, water harvesting, and water technologies

The Network for Water and Sanitation (NETWAS) Uganda is a local non-profit organization that was registered in Uganda in 1996 to provide services in the water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. NETWAS Uganda contributes its part to enhancing the water supply, sanitation and hygiene sector capacity (numbers, knowledge and skills) through training, and also carries out implementation of water projects, knowledge management, dissemination of information in the field of water supply, research and promotion of sanitation and hygiene. NETWAS works from national level to grassroots level and both in urban and rural areas. NETWAS has been at the forefront of promoting the sharing and use of knowledge and information within the WASH sector by hosting the WASH Resource Centre. The overall objective of the resource centre is to improve and sustain water supply, sanitation and hygiene levels of Uganda’s poorest communities through information exchange and sharing by all stakeholders (this photograph shows sanitation awareness-raising in action). The WASH RC has a website which acts as a tool used for information sharing in the sector, and a place for organized learning journeys and learning events for stakeholders, collected, repackaged and documented information on good practices in WASH.

Getting high quality and useful information and knowledge to the community members has always been a problem. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of access to sources and channels of knowledge and information. But with the availability of mobile phones within the communities, nGOmobile will now allow us to increase the dissemination of knowledge and information on WASH.

The SMS project will aim at providing WASH information using the mobile phone. The name of the initiative will be “Ask NETWAS (U) a WASH question”. The question in the form of SMS will be sent by the beneficiaries who will get an answer on their phones within one or two days on management of water sources, WATSAN technologies, spare parts, pumps, policy issues, water user committees etc. Questions will be answered by WASH professionals in the sector, District or NGOs or CBOs and the answer forwarded by SMS back to the beneficiary.

The impact of the project will be improved service delivery in WASH by providing wider access to information.

Entry name: SMS at the service of healthy forests and families and empowerment of womenOrganisation: The Equilibrium FundProject Manager:Cecilia Sanchez Garduno
Project summary:This project seeks to help rural Central American and Mexican communities solve problems of deforestation, poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and the marginalisation of women using SMS to improve a range of communications and provide market data, training and advice

I am the director of the Mexico Program for The Equilibrium Fund, an NGO whose innovative program uses a delicious, nutritious and native tropical rainforest tree seed, the Maya Nut, to create educational, conservation and income generating opportunities for women in rural communities in Central America and Mexico. We teach a simple one-day workshop about the nutrition, processing, recipes, value-added products and reforestation of Maya Nut.

Winning the nGOmobile award will amplify our impacts in environmental conservation, poverty reduction, education, food security, health and human rights in Mexico and beyond. This award will facilitate communication with the extremely remote communities where we work and expedite Maya Nut training for the women who live there. Communication and efficiency are critical to ensure that they do not miss the once-yearly opportunity to harvest and process Maya Nut for food and income. At least 50% of the communities where we work have no access to phone lines so they spend precious time and money to inform us that fruiting has started and often we receive the information too late to plan workshops for them.

The nGOmobile award will also help by facilitating information sharing among The Equilibrium Fund staff and between Maya Nut producer groups. Such information will include marketing, training, harvest management, financing and other news. This award will empower rural women because they will be able to communicate with customers and other producer groups to co-ordinate pricing and supply so that they can better access markets. We are committed to empowering women with the principles of independence, confidence and self esteem. We encourage women to perform tasks they never envisaged before for themselves, including earning money and participating in forest conservation.

Being able to use SMS will support these new concepts and they will soon feel confident using it and exploring other new technologies which will help them raise their level of competitiveness in the market and improve their ability to educate themselves on other topics of interest and help for the community.

SMS will also allow us to be always available even when we are in the field for the constant inquiries and problem-solving for Maya Nut producer groups. We will be able to track our reforestation efforts and be notified of new places where trees need to be planted and the availability of seedlings in community nurseries. Compiling all this information exchanged on the biology of Maya Nut at various sites (fruiting and planting dates, germination and survivorship rates, etc.) will allow The Equilibrium Fund to create the much needed database to conduct long term research on sustainable harvest guidelines. Once we try SMS in Mexico there will be a beneficial knock-on effect with this technology in the other countries where we work.

Entry name: Count to 5! CampaignOrganisation: Digital Development
Project Manager: Razi Nurullayev
Country: Azerbaijan
Project summary: This campaign will use text messaging to help grassroots and politically excluded people understand their human and legal rights, and to engage them further in the political process

Digital Development is an Azerbaijani non-governmental, non-commercial and non-profit organization officially registered in Azerbaijan in September 2006. Digital Development’s mission is to create a digital knowledge world, where vulnerable and disadvantageous classes of society, especially socially excluded youth and young women participate and get benefits. It works on using ICTs for societal development and ensure participation of youth and especially young women; the use of ICTS for human rights work, better education, communities’ development, helping yourself and others to build their own lives, especially encouraging the youth and young women in these activities; and the promotion of a better environment, better life and better future through the use of ICTs

This year, 2008, sees forthcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan and we wish using SMS to prepare civil society for it through Count to 5! Campaign. We propose using phones to mobilise electors through innovative get-out-the-vote activities and wage campaigning for passive voters to show up for the elections. We shall also use it to gather activists together and send media alerts to journalists. This initiative will help us to get-out-the-vote and contribute to fair and just
elections in the country.

Azerbaijan is an emerging democracy and it takes time to build a real democracy. That’s why the country has irregularities at each election, which are recorded by international organizations. The main problem is that many voters do not turn out at the Election Day, which creates better conditions for their votes to be used at the favour of one or another candidate. We believe that problems start from here and it opens a path for the other irregularities.

The 2008 Presidential election presents a great opportunity to mobilize voters (both men and women) to participate in the elections using SMS messages. By using the Count to 5! Campaign we will be able to turn out the passive voters, who otherwise wouldn’t have participated, which may count to ten thousands of people.  Each person involved will send five text messages to other potential voters from his/her surrounding/relatives/friends etc. asking to come to vote, and to send the message to five more people. The process should obtain a chain process and involve the most of potential voters in the country.