29 October 2012

Algeria: Peace Corps Launches Innovation Challenge

Washington — The Peace Corps Office of Innovation has launched the Peace Corps Innovation Challenge, a worldwide collaboration to develop technology-based solutions to local community problems in developing countries.

Members of the Peace Corps community already have started to submit problems that could use a technology fix, the agency said. For example, even if they are in the same region, volunteers may not know what fellow volunteers in nearby communities are carrying out: One request is for a way to learn about nearby Peace Corps projects. Another idea is for a mobile notification system that sends health-clinic patients reminders about appointments, information about nutrition and healthy lifestyle tips. A third idea is for a way to show those in need of help the location of local health care clinics and providers, not just hospitals.

Anyone can submit a relevant problem to the Innovation Challenge website. Problems will be reviewed and voted on by fellow volunteers, returned volunteers, Peace Corps staff, technology experts and entrepreneurs. The deadline to submit a problem is December 1.

Once problems are reviewed and refined, technology experts will team up to develop solutions during a 48-hour volunteer "hack-a-thon," hosted by Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), December 1-2. Anyone can suggest a problem and participate in person or virtually at events in cities across the globe, including Berlin; Nairobi, Kenya; Philadelphia; and Melbourne, Australia. All solutions will be available for public use.

Peace Corps volunteers have the unique experience of working with communities at the grass-roots level to identify and address local needs related to international development. The Innovation Challenge allows volunteers on the ground to connect with experts and entrepreneurs from around the world to create and build innovative technology solutions. To submit an international development problem that can be solved with better technology, or to find out more about the Innovation Challenge, visit http://innovationchallenge.peacecorps.gov/.

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. the corps seeks to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries.

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