Friday, March 22, 2013

USAID-Humanity United Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention

The USAID and Humanity United has launched the second round of the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention, a technology competition in support of the White House strategy for preventing mass atrocities - that is, large-scale, deliberate attacks against civilians. The goal of the Challenge is to engage the broader technologist, engineering, scientific and maker communities on the issue of how best to prevent and respond to mass atrocities.

The Tech Challenge offers prizes of up to $10,000 for innovative solutions to some of the most intractable problems in the field of atrocity prevention. Both Humanity United and USAID will also consider piloting and / or scaling the most promising innovations.

A distinguished panel of judges (including Patrick Ball, Patrick Meier, Samantha Power, Alec Ross and Ethan Zuckerman) evaluate the proposals and determine the winners.

The first round, launched in October 2012, focused on two specific challenges: how better to document evidence of atrocities, and how better to identify third party enablers of atrocities (i.e. states, corporations, groups or individuals who provide support to perpetrators). The winners of the first round were announced on February 13th, 2013. These include a mobile phone app that allows physicians in developing countries to better document evidence of atrocities, as well as a proposal for a tool that allows product designers to ensure that a product's electronic components are 'conflict-free'.

The second round, launched on March 6th, focuses on three critical issues: better modeling to help predict at-risk communities, improved communication with and among conflict-affected communities, and better technology to help gather and verify information from hard-to-access areas. We are looking for innovative (albeit feasible) ideas, as opposed to finished prototypes.

In addition to the prizes associated with the Challenge itself, we are interested in providing additional funding to help pilot and scale the most promising innovations, though we will approach this on a case-by-case basis. We are also committed to playing a match-making role, helping to link winners and other interesting innovations to other foundation and bilateral donors. Finally, we are thinking through ways to provide technical, non-financial support to participants 

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