On Saturday, April 10th, over 40 participants from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, working on six projects for 48 hours, finished up their presentations to prepare for the Show and Tell pitching competition where the teams demonstrated what they’ve built.
The web projects Save the Trees (SaveTheTrees.am) and GiveMeInfo (GiveMeInfo.ge) were named as winners. Judges consisting of European experts of the social media chose the Save The Trees idea as a winner and public attending the session, favored GiveMeInfo. The author of the Save the Trees idea is Mariam Sukhudian, environmental activist from Armenia, where as the idea of the Give Me Info belongs to Georgian journalist David Chaganava. The Save the Trees addresses environmental issue and focuses on illegal tree cutting in Armenia. As for the Give Me Info it aims at unveiling government structures which fail to cooperate with the citizens in terms of providing public information.
Main organizer and supporter of the Social Innovation Camp Caucasus, Open Society – Georgia Foundation decided to treat winner projects with equal amount of cash prize – each $3000 to implement their projects.
Over two days the Social Innovation Camp gathered web designers, experienced journalists, marketing specialists and NGO representatives from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Participants were divided into six groups to find digital solutions to 6 social issues selected by the judges. During 48 hours spent in the Camp the participants worked on transforming these ideas into web-based innovations. At the Show and Tell gathering participants were given 7 minutes to convince judges and the audience in advantages of their web models.
The project HealthHush aimed at addressing a taboo in Azerbaijan and talking of reproductive health related topics withteens in local language, informing and consulting, spreading a word via facebook, twitter, SMS, and website.
sCool created a platform for parents of school-kids interested in others’ experiences of different schools and enabling them to make an informed choice before taking their children to school. The project was meant to work in all three countries of Caucasus.
Authors of the Nature Speaks developed the web model which would boost advocacy for protecting environment through sharing information, joining campaigns, signing petitions and mobilizing communities.
No Problem would report on problems in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia that are hidden and ignored by the government, not reflected in official statistics, and nor discussed in the society. The site would generate pre-moderated alerts submitted via website, twitter, face book, SMS and would map the trends based on Open Maps.
The winner Save the Trees is the web project built on Ushahidi-based platform and makes possible to map the spots of illegal tree cutting on Google maps. It enables all citizens of Yerevan to report via Twitter, SMS, e-mail, phone or online form. As deemed by the author of the idea at the initial stage the project would be piloted in Yerevan and later expanded on the whole territory of the country.
Give me Info team created a platform to generate cases of violation of citizens’ rights to access to information, also ranking public agencies based on how good or badthey are in giving out the public information. Website will generate statistics of the information flow from public service agencies in Georgia. The web site will make possible to collect the information from citizens, to group and calculate the data and thus detect problematic spheres and government agencies.
Despite all of the projects were innovative, realistic and socially oriented the Save The Trees and Give Me Info were seen as most oriented on the particular problem.
“These projects serve development of social cooperation and can bring about significant positive changes in any country. All of the projects presented here were innovative and realistic. They do not need our approval for being implemented. What is most important is that we have gathered here representatives of different spheres and they are discussing what difficulties there are in the social media spheres in Georgia and how these difficulties might be reduced and overcome. The main thing is that young individuals start to understand that social media is the tool that can bring about significant positive changes in any country”- says Dan Mc Quillan, the author of the camp concept.
For the first time the Social Innovation Camp was held in London in 2007 and later on, in Bratislava in September, 2009.
To learn more and get the feeling of the Social Innovations Camp visit www.sic-caucasus.net.