Women in Africa still belong to a vulnerable group, often, being victims of toxic relationships, abusive employers or traditional gender roles. Over the years, ICT solutions have helped women in understanding their rights and breaking out of old patterns. In the Innovate for Women design challenge, digital solutions were developed to empower women in overcoming daily challenges.
In order to attract innovators dedicated to empowering women, GIZ’ s Digital Solutions for Sustainable Development program partnered with the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA) to organize the Innovate for Women design challenge. This national competition aimed at developing digital solutions that are relevant to women. Particularly, these solutions contribute to addressing women’s challenges, improve their living conditions, and respond to their needs. The competition was not only in line with the international women’s day celebration but also with CSW63, and “He for She” which is an initiative by UNWomen and championed by Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame to bridge the gender digital divide.
Bridging the gender digital divide through digital inclusion of women was the main goal by:
Developing and Deploying Digital Solutions
which are relevant to women and contribute to improving their living conditions, increasing their safety and autonomy
Build Digitalization Partnerships
with institutions and organizations in social and gender development
Close-up Ideas and Innovations of the Innovate for Women Design Challenge
The competition received 131 applications. In the end, the three best teams received an award and a contract with GIZ to fully implement their ideas. Not only did this include mentorship, but also a starting budget to kickoff the solution. The winning solutions are explained in detail as follows:
My Way Digital Stick
People with visual impairments meet different challenges when walking. Presently, they have difficulties moving around independently and need support for navigation.
The My Way Digital Stick allows users to scan their surrounding/proximity obstacles. Therefore, it is helpful for other people to identify people with visual impairment and take appropriate care for them. The stick comes with sound, vibration and LDR sensors that differentiate between day and night by different buzzer sounds. Moreover, it has the ability to detect electrical waves and GPS to show the user’s location.
Refugee women in Rwanda often do not have access to business opportunities due to the lack of information about available financial services, financial means and market insights.
The My Money solution creates awareness about the availability of financial services and links refugee women to financial institutions. Therefore, female refugees get access to financial services making it possible to fund their own projects. In detail, female refugees post their business plans, financial institutions review the ideas and contact the potential entrepreneurs. Additionally, a dashboard displays financial opportunities available to refugee women.
NutriRwanda targets the population in urban and rural areas to improve nutritional knowledge of women, young parents and caregivers. Recommendations include breast-feeding and nutrition for children at various development stages.
Nutri consists of two parts: The Nutri-website informs about nutrition through blog articles, whereas the Nutri mobile app provides personalized nutritional recommendations like meal plans utilizing user data. Moreover, users can reach out to professional nutritionists for additional consultations.
All winning teams are currently under contract with GIZ to provide mentorship, business connections, and financials. Ideally, these solutions can be scaled up to other African countries to create an even bigger impact.
If you are interested in getting to know more about the Innovate for Women solutions or other digital solutions we support at the Digital Transformation Center, get in touch with us and follow us on Social Media.