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The Rockefeller Foundation Announces 8 Winners of the 2012 Innovation Challenges from Innovation Forum 2011

NEW YORK—The Rockefeller Foundation, celebrating 100 years of global innovation, today unveiled the names of the individuals that have been chosen as the winners of the Foundation’s 2012 Innovation Challenges. The winning ideas were developed based on the results of the Foundation’s Innovation Forum in 2011, which gathered a number of leading global thinkers and innovators in New York to generate innovative ideas for how to address water insecurity, food insecurity, as well as key challenges posed by urbanization.

The challenge winners, who hail from Africa, Asia, North America and South America, were selected from a group of almost 2,000 entrants from around the world. The winners will be applying for grants of $100,000 each to develop their ideas further.

The Rockefeller Foundation asked innovative people and organizations around the world to submit ideas on three specific topics – how to use data to create change that improves the quality of life of poor or vulnerable communities, how to improve or scale agricultural water use efficiency, and how to encourage and support young people to enter and stay in farming.

“The selection of our Innovation Challenge winners is the culmination of a yearlong process of gathering global leaders, identifying key pressing issues and challenging the world to develop innovative solutions to these issues,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “I am thrilled with the overwhelming response we received to the challenges and am excited to see our eight winners put their ideas into action.”

The Innovation Challenge winners are:

How to encourage and support young people to enter and stay in farming:

Mobido Coulibaly: FarmQuest (Mali)

A reality radio program series featuring an exciting, competitive quest by 68 young people to create the “best new farm.” An engaging cast of diverse contestants each take a small plot of land and seeks to create a vibrant farming business over a 9-12 month period.

Joseph Macharia: Empowering youth with agricultural information through Radio and other ICTs. (Kenya)

Radio and ICTbased youth empowerment strategy to promote informed decisionmaking on agricultural development. The program will deliver knowledge on farming as a business and on value chains and impact programs that are relevant to youth.

Fatima Oyiza Ademoh: Youth Agro Entrepreneurs (Nigeria)

An initiative to lure and keep youths in agricultural entrepreneurship. Youth Agro Entrepreneurs operates as a school where youths over 18 years old can come and learn sustainable farming practices.

How to improve or scale agricultural water use efficiency:

John Duxbury: Layering Raised Bed And Furrowing Technology (United States)

Layering of technologies around the use of raised bed and furrow irrigation to replace flood irrigation of flat fields to improve water and fertilizer use efficiencies, address labor shortages and provide agribusiness opportunities.

Amos Winter:  Resonating, Viscoelastic Drip Emitters For Low-Pressure, Low-Cost Drip Irrigation (United States)

Product innovation for a novel drip emitter that will reduce the cost of 1acre drip irrigation systems by 90%, putting them within reach of small-scale, subsistence farmers who live off the electrical grid.

How to use data to create change that improves the quality of life of poor or vulnerable communities in cities:

Rita Bhattacharjee: Kolkata Medical Emergency System (India)

Centralized medical emergency system for Kolkata to manage availability of Emergency Healthcare Facilities and products.

Chelina Odbert: WATSAN Portal: a platform for improving water and sanitation in slums (Kenya)

An online and phonebased platform that helps communities identify and link to municipal water infrastructure sites to formalize and upgrade water and sanitation projects.

Pedro Markun/Transparencia Hacker: Open Legislative Data (Brazil)

A data platform that will help Sao Paulo residents get official/soontobe official information regarding their neighborhoods and topics of interest in a timely fashion.

Additional information on all of the award winners is available on The Rockefeller Foundation’s Centennial website.

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913. Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization. Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization’s benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered. To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work. First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses. Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact. These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urban economic security, and social and economic security.

Media Inquiries

Laura Gordon, The Rockefeller Foundation, 212-852-8216,